October 13, 2004 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Non-motorized Transportation Committee Meeting

October 13, 2004 (Minutes recorded by Rebecca Cate)

Members Present: Mike Shannon, Springfield District, Mary Flowers, Clifton Horse Society, Kevin Brugman, Mt Vernon District, Wade, Smith, Dranesville District, Bruce Wright, Hunter Mill District, Don Emerson, Providence District, Bob Mitchey, Lee District, Rebecca Cate, FxCo Federation of Citizens Associations, Paul B Johnson, NVBIA, Dan Iglhaut, NVRPA

Fairfax County Staff Present: Ahmed Rayyan, DPWES, Jenny Pate, FCPA, Chris Wells, FCDOT, Sheng Leu, DPZ

Guest Present: Fatemeh Allahdoust, VDOT-NOVA.

I. Call to order


Chairman Bruce Wright called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.


II. Approval of Minutes for July 14, 2004 and September 15, 2005:

The July Minutes were corrected by Walter Brodtman by email:

“VI. New Business…

C. On Road Bike Routes. Wade Smith spoke to this issue regarding getting VDOT to restripe or pave wider shoulders as part of a their routine road repaving maintenance and re-marking efforts.  Bruce Wright suggested that we could invite someone from VDOT to a future meeting to speak on how the process works and how we can work in advance of the maintenance schedule to take advantage of these opportunities. This also came up in an email from a citizen in Providence District who was suggesting more shoulder space in a road maintenance project (along Prosperity Rd.  In the discussion it was noted that Prosperity Road was not on the plan as a On-Road Bike Route, so would it be appropriate for such consideration. 

Walter Brodtman pointed out the new VDOT policy issued by the VA Secretary of Transportation that all road projects would consider and would include pedestrian and bicyclist facilities through out the Commonwealth unless the local government objected to such facilities being included.  Walter also pointed out that when the On-Road plan was first proposed by the On-Road subcommittee of the NMTC it went through several versions as a more robust plan that covered more routes.  It was provided by the NMTC to the County DOT and by them to VDOT as a draft.  Their (VDOT & County DOT) suggestions back to the committee was to scale the proposed plan back to a more bare-bones plan to cover basic, but not full, connectivity. 

So the subcommittee revised the plan down to basic bare-bones version that was put into the final county-wide plan.  Based on that background, and the additional safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians that is provided by wider shoulders, it was Walter's view that it would inappropriate to not provide shoulder space on roads in the County where the opportunities were available during road maintenance.  During the discussion it was also suggested that at the BOS level, the efforts of the BOS’s Transportation Committee be enlisted and at the County DOT level, Chris Wells planned to discuss the matter with his Division Director to obtain guidance on how to proceed with this matter.”

The September Minutes had an addition offered by Chris Wells:

The Smith Center lacks pedestrian access off of Route 28.

Kevin Brugman motioned that the July and September minutes be approved as corrected. Paul Johnson seconded the motion. Minutes were approved unanimously.

III. Bike Lane Discussion

Fatemeh Allahdoust – VDOT, NOVA District Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator

Bruce Wright set the background for this topic from a Bike Lane file inherited from the former Chair of the NMTC, Ann Bennett:

1998 - Staff looked at trails and on-road bike facilities. In the list of points to address were rights-of-ways and VDOT’s policy that 50% of the construction was to be paid by localities.

1999 - The BOS passed a resolution with an action plan to facilitate construction of these on road bike lanes.

2000 – Subcommittee was formed with Kevin, Walter and Bruce that put forward a series of recommendations for on road bike lanes

2002 – Revised Trails Plan was passed by the BOS that included these bike lanes.

The question now is how do we start implementing the plan between the County and VDOT.

Fatemeh stated that she encouraged the NMTC to contact VDOT with any questions. (Unless stated otherwise, Fatemah provided the following information.)

How is the Trails Plan implemented by VDOT?

  • If bike lane is included, VDOT forwards this recommendation to their engineer.
  • They look at the ROW requirement and determine if a public hearing is necessary for accommodation.

In March 2004, the Commonwealth Transportation Board passed a resolution stating that it is policy for VDOT to incorporate bike/pedestrian trails in every planning and maintenance design.

  • There is no minimum length of road for these trails to be included
  • VDOT looks at the type of facility and safety concerns, including curb and gutter and the volume of truck traffic.

In reviewing land development plans, VDOT does ask for bike lanes, trails or sidewalks so as to not miss an opportunity, even if the segment of development will not connect with anything on either side.

  • If it is within a frontage road improvement, improvements must be accomplished within their ROW.
  • Paul clarified that if it is in a single family detached subdivsion plan, there are no improvements required; if it is in a commercial site plan, the frontage road improvements are required, by state law.
  • Wade – developers could proffer any improvements.
  • Paul – if development is by-right, improvements may not be made.

When is it appropriate to build the facility?

  • In every circumstance VDOT must ask
    • By-right development has minimal compliance
    • Rezoning – VDOT wants construction rather than escrow of funds but, at issue, is who will pay for difference as the State has scarce resources

Minimum Bike Lane widths

  • Curb and Gutter: 4’ (passed gutter pan)
  • Adjacent to a Barrier: 5’
  • Next to an 8’ On Road Parking Lane: 5’
  • Speed of Road > or = 50mph: 6’
  • Speed of Road < 50mph: 5’
  • Stripped bike lane: Min 14’, increases to 15’ if street has heavy truck traffic

Normally there is a 5’ buffer between edge of road pavement and a walkway

  • If there is a ROW issue, the curb and gutter is included in measurement
  • In new construction, VDOT recommends 7’ without curb and gutter

VDOT is reviewing and revising the standards for streets in subdivision. VDOT is struggling with educating their own staff to accommodate the CTB and NMTC recommendations.

VDOT does not have an inventory of possible bike routes that they would need to maintain. Chris Wells stated that VDOT has a map of these routes.

VDOT, Bob Driscoll, has realized that there needs to be a line item for upcoming maintenance costs for trails but they are unsure of those that they need to maintain. There needs to be more sharing of information between County and VDOT. Chris stated that most major roads, VDOT maintains. Fatemeh stated that if the trail meanders, VDOT is not obligated to maintain them but, in a practical sense, they will.

How can County incorporate bike lanes within existing roadways?

  • Get copy of VDOT’s Fairfax maintenance/repavement schedule
    • HQ develops tentative list each May of roadway that need repaving the following year
    • Surface repaving, < or = 60’ given high priority
    • When list sent to VDOT Managers in August, this is the time for county staff and the NMTC to request the list
    • In August, VDOT calculates volume (concrete) and quantities (paint and stones). This package goes to Central Office in October, at which time it is a done deal.
  • Flow Chart of Effort
    • May – June, VDOT field people put together list
    • July – Aug, VDOT Managerial review
    • Aug – Oct, VDOT Traffic Engineering sets quantities
    • Oct – VDOT List sent to the County as a done deal.

Bob Discoll has agreed to share a tentative pavement schedule with NMTC, via Chris Wells. However, VDOT obligates itself to perform the maintenance only after bids have been received and reviewed in light of funding constraints.

If a bike lane comes with extra costs because of extra pavement, this is not done as part of VDOT maintenance. There needs to be a separate source of funding with projects in a public ROW.

  • Talk with VDOT Traffic Engineering
    • Perhaps, decrease bike lane width, eliminate shoulder
    • Funding may be done with secondary road funds
    • Let Fatemah or Bob Driscoll know if County has matching funds and project can be placed in a bid package
    • VDOT cannot spend maintenance money on new construction.
      • If stripe of paint not there before, considered new construction
      • Restripping inside lanes with narrower width to allow wider outside lanes for cars and bikes – not considered new construction, but VDOT needs to look at safety considerations, too.

VDOT doesn’t necessarily have a five-year maintenance plan as roads wear out on different schedules. If County asks for paving of a shoulder, VDOT will prepare a cost analysis and send it back to the County with funding request. An example is 1,600 feet of the Fairfax County Trail – cost is $15,000 or $900/ft for repaving.

The soonest VDOT could get a maintenance list to county staff is in July. The county could then make a determination of facilities desired for each roadway, including signing for trails, and send recommendations back to VDOT.

IV. Staff Reports

DPZ: Sheng Leu.

  • On the 4-quadrant Trail Map, there is a proposal to identify employment centers, emphasizing existing regional trails. They would show schools, parks and Metro Stations. Bruce recommended separating sidewalks from other paved trails.
  • Chris O’Brien, Mason District, has resigned from the Committee.


FCDOT: Chris Wells

  • There was a ceremony for the 100th intersection to get a pedestrian sign requiring cars to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. It will be a media event. This program is about a year behind schedule, but the BOS has approved another batch of signs to be installed.
  • One enough signs have been installed, County Exec, Tony Griffin, will direct police to enforce.

DPWES: Ahmed Rayyan

  • Last month, NTMC asked for a project map for money from the $950,000 bond referendum. The new projects are not on anyone’s list. Bruce stated that Chairman Connolly has a list of the projects.
  • Active projects which need additional funding
    • Roberts Road at George Mason – land acquisition completed; $350,000 needed for construction.
    • Columbia Pk and Elmdale Road - $207,000 needed
    • Mason Neck Trail - $1M with county’s share of $200,000 of total
    • Cedar Lane at Cottage – there is not cost estimate. Don requested an answer soon.

FCPA: Jenny Pate

  • The Park Authority needs NMTC to update their 2001 Cross County Trail support letter to submit with FCPA’s request for additional money for trail completion.

VIII. Adjournment

Meeting was adjourned at 8:45pm.

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