January 11, 2006 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Non-motorized Transportation Committee Meeting

I Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by Bruce Wright, President

Present were Wade Smith, Dranesville; Bruce Wright, Hunter Mill; Robert Michie, Lee; Roger Diedrich, Providence; Roy Brooks, Mason; Gregory Galligan, At-Large; Dennis Frew, Washington Area Bicycle Association; Dan Iglhaut, NVRPA; Jenny Pate, Fairfax County Park Authority; Chris Wells; Fairfax County Dept. of Transportation; Sheng-Jieh Leu, Fairfax County Dept. of Planning and Zoning; Michael Guarino, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

II Approval of Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the 12 October 2005 and 9 November 2005 meetings were approved.

III Status of Trail and Sidewalk Construction Projects – Michael Guarino, Dept. of Public Works and Environmental Services

Mr. Guarino reviewed the latest version of the project report with the committee and answered questions. He pointed out that the report does not include all trail and sidewalk projects because some projects are carried out by the Transportation Design Branch. The committee requested that the next report include the Transportation Design Branch projects as well. Guarino agreed to include these projects.

IV Staff Reports

Department of Planning and Zoning - Sheng Leu:

The material on the revisions to the committee bylaws and charter are in preparation. The revisions are expected to be reported to the Board of Supervisors in February.

Leu reported that all of the county Trails Maps have been given out. He is preparing a new version. There was a discussion of what should be included on the map. It was decided that this should be an item on the February committee meeting agenda.

Department of Transportation – Chris Wells:

Wells mentioned that the Pedestrian Task Force and the Bus Stop Safety reports have been completed. The Pedestrian Task Force report will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on 23 January 2006.

The Department is currently short of staff. There is an advertisement out to hire a bus stop coordinator.

Wells stated that there has been discussion of adding a bicycle coordinator position to the county staff. The Department has provided information on this to the Board of Supervisors for review and discussion.

Wells reported on the issue of vehicles stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. A bill has been introduced into the state legislature concerning this. Wells stated that he had some concerns about the bill and would be providing comments.

V Chair Report

Wright reported that Bike to Work Day will be on 19 May 2006.

Wright reported that the grand opening ceremony for the Cross County Trail was very well attended.

Wright asked committee members what topics they would be interested in pursuing in 2006. Some suggestions were sidewalk and trail waivers granted to schools, school funding for sidewalks, awareness of federal and other grants for trails and sidewalks, and enforcement of existing laws regarding crosswalks and other traffic issues affecting pedestrians and bicyclists.

VI Election of Officers

Wright stated that, if nominated, he and Wade Smith would be willing to serve another term as committee chair and committee vice chair, respectively. These nominations were moved and seconded. There were no additional nominations from the floor. Wright was elected committee chair and Smith vice chair unanimously by voice vote.

The committee decided not to elect a secretary, but instead to continue sharing the responsibility for preparing committee meeting minutes among the committee members, as was done during 2005.

VII New Business

Smith raised the issue that many parkland access points in neighborhoods have been effectively closed off to the public because adjacent landowners often incorporate the access points into their yards. These access points are often not recognizable as open to public access Pate stated that the Park Authority considers this issue a form of encroachment on Park Authority lands. It was decided to ask the Park Authority to talk about this at a future meeting.

Smith asked if county staff identify sources of federal and other grants for trails and sidewalks. Wells stated that the staff does pay attention to this. After discussion, it was noted that this could possibly be an item for reporting at a future committee meeting.

Iglhaut reported that Dominion Power is still proposing to put new power lines on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail west of Leesburg. After discussion, it was decided that the Bruce Wright would prepare a letter on this issue to be submitted to the State Corporation Commission, which must decide the issue. He will circulate the draft letter to the committee members for comment before he sends it.

The question was asked if trails had ever been decommissioned. It was determined that decommissioning had happened in the past under very specific circumstances, but is a very rare occurrence.

It was announced that the Cross County Trail Caucus will be held on 23 January 2006.

VII Old Business

Smith reported to the committee on a meeting on 13 December 2005 with the Great Falls Park Superintendent and planning staff about the draft Great Falls Park Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement attended by Smith representing the Non-Motorized Transportation Committee (NMTC) and by representatives from the Great Falls Trail Blazers (GFTB) and Dranesville District Supervisors office. This meeting discussed the comments submitted by the NMTC and the GFTB regarding trails along Georgetown Pike and River Bend Road. It was decided that the concerns raised in the comments received could be addressed when Great Falls Park prepared a Trails Management Plan in the future.

VIII Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned by Bruce Wright, President.


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