July 14, 2004 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Non-motorized Transportation Committee Meeting

July 14, 2004

Members Present - Wade Smith (Dranesville), Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill), Walter Brodtman (WABA), Dan Iglhaut (NVRPA), Rebecca Cate (FCFCA), Kevin Brugman (Mount Vernon), Mike Shannon (Springfield), Paul Johnson (NVBIA)

County Staff Present - Sheng Leu (DPZ); Chris Wells (DOT), Ahmed Rayyan (DPWES)

Guests Present - Kathryn Moore (MSMD/DPWES).

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

Approval of Minutes for June 9, 2004 - Minutes approved unanimously as corrected.

Site Plan Review Process - Invited Speaker Kathryn Moore, Engineer III, Maintenance & Stormwater Management Division, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Ms. Moore discussed the County's trail maintenance program using a slide presentation and a handout of the slides. Her office is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 560 miles of trails; this excludes Fairfax County Park Authority and Public School, VDOT and homeowner association trails in the County. A recent agreement with VDOT has VDOT responsible for sidewalk maintenance where there are sidewalks on both sides of a street. A question was asked about Public School trails and the lack of maintenance; the Chairman will look into inviting someone from the school system to speak to the NMTC. In response to question, Ms Moore stated that snow removal on trails is a very low priority; a matter the Committee has previously discussed. Ms. Moore described the declining funding status for trail maintenance; most maintenance monies are spent on improving safety hazards. Ms. Moore showed several slides of these impressive improvements. See her handout for more details or she invited follow-up questions or comments by email at: kathryn.ellenburg@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Staff Reports

  • Sheng Leu reported that he had distributed an updated NMTC member list at tonight's meeting. Members should contact with changes. Mr. Leu noted that Larry Butler, Sully District, was no longer a Committee member. Mr. Leu also noted the County FOIA requirements including the taking of minutes and posting them on the Web.
  • Chris Wells gave the Committee members a copy of his office's July 13, 2004, press release on a July 26, 2004, open house the Fairfax County Pedestrian Task Force will host (Rooms 4/5 of the Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA). Mr. Wells also distributed to members a copy of a VDOT design public hearing notice for July 29, 2004, regarding a pedestrian bridge and fencing across US Route 50 near the Seven Corners shopping center. He gave a detailed presentation on this long awaited project at a very dangerous road crossing.
  • Ahmed Rayyan reported that he is continuing to work on a list of projects for the Fall bond referendum. The funding levels appear to have declined to under $1,000,000.00. Mr. Rayyan reported on the Board of Supervisors' July 12, 2004, action to approve $3,000,000.00 of FY2004 3rd Quarter Budget Review monies for sidewalk/trail and streetlight and drainage projects. Five Districts plus the Chairman allocated a portion of their funds to sidewalk/trail projects. Refer to the list for District projects.

Chair Report - Bruce Wright reported that he had sent the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system a letter regarding the school systems' program for trials/sidewalks and pedestrian/child safety. He said he received a general response from Gordon Lawrence, FCPS sidewalk/trails coordinator. Several safety programs were mentioned in the response. In order to gain more information and to improve coordination with the FCPS sidewalk/trail program, Mr. Wright said he'd invited Mr. Lawrence to attend an upcoming NMTC meeting. Mr. Wright discussed a comment from a member of the County's Disability Services Board regarding advocacy and participation from the disability community. After some discussion, Mr. Brugman suggested adding a member to the NMTC who would represent/advocate for the disabled. The suggestion was well received by members; Mr. Wright will follow up on this.

New Business

  • Recommendation of proffer for regional trail buffers and Dominion Virginia Power tree trimming along trails. Rebecca Cate introduced and discussed her Resolution regarding current clearing and management practices along the W&OD trail. After discussion, it was recommendation that Rebecca's Resolution be replaced by a Resolution recently endorsed by the County's Tree Commission. After discussion, the Committee endorsed that Resolution. All members voted yes with one abstention.
  • Parking on Fairfax County Parkway trails. Mike Shannon had raised this issue. The issue is that these trails and other County trails are often used for overflow parking (South Run Rec Center 4th of July celebration) creating a safety and maintenance problem. Other Committee members noted similar problems happening in the County. Mike will prepare a letter for the NMTC's signature to be sent to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) Chairman outlining the problems and abuses this situation creates. Paul Johnson will supply pictures to be sent with the letter.
  • Bike Lane policy. 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 and County DOT) suggestions back to the committee were 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.
  • Scooter Policy. BOS Chairman Connelly has requested that the board's Legislative Committee look into current regulations for the use of trails and sidewalks within the County regarding their use by vehicles used by handicap people and the current increase in use of smaller unlicensed off-road scooters. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on County trails and sidewalks. The issue of is one of safety and legal use by the off-road scooters.

Old Business - Wade Smith reported that Tysons' West Station of the Dulles Corridor Rapid Transit Project will have an entrance on the east side of the Station. He and many others had testified that the station entrance should be on the east end of the station instead of the west end.

Kevin Brugman reported that paving work is underway for the Mount Vernon district Gunston Hall trail. An issue remains regarding the location of an equestrian trail alongside the paved trail.

The committee affirmed the decision not to meet in August. The next committee meeting will be September 2004.

Adjournment 9:41 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Mike Shannon


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