Minutes of the Fairfax County Trails and Sidewalks Committee

September 9, 2009

Members Present - Rob Airaghi, Peter Christensen, Roger Diedrich, Dennis Frew, Paul Johnson, Tom Kennedy, Jenny Pate, Doug Pew, Ann Pimley, Robert Michie, Jan Reitman, Wade Smith, Mark Tipton, Lisa Willey

Staff Present - Charlie Strunk, Chris Wells, Jeff Hermann and Nohemy Miranda

Call to Order - The meeting was called to order by Chairman Smith at 7:30 PM.

Review of Minutes of the July Meeting - Minutes were approved as presented.

Staff Report:

  • Discussion of the elimination of the Trails Planner: Chris Wells. The work assignments of the position will be allocated among several people. Trail waivers come via two processes, 1) DPZ zoning and 2) Site plans (generally sidewalks). They will be continued to be referred to the Committee, and Chris will route them to members and the District offices. He will do this electronically and will try to include some graphic material to properly represent it. The “rules” for what is needed/allowed, etc is in the Public Facilities Manual (PFM). There was discussion of widths for sidewalks and trails. The trails plan is due for an update, but it cannot be done until there is a budget item for it.
  • Roundabouts: Charlie Strunk. It is still being researched, but the standards may be changing. Previously a bike rider would be expected to stay out of the roundabout, now the idea of her/him continuing through on the inside lane is being studied. Roundabouts are unfriendly to pedestrians and that problem has not been resolved.
  • Costs of trails projects: There has been a Board matter on this and Chris will report back at a future meeting.
  • Staff has prepared an RFP for a Greater Tysons access to Metro study. The study will look at what should be done over time at about a 5-mile radius around Tysons. This was a scaling back of discussions about a Fairfax County-wide bike plan, which could have cost $750,000. The study will undergo a formal process, with citizen outreach. The study will be an umbrella for all other related studies. Wade will keep us updated as it proceeds.
  • DPW Status reports: Chris will forward them to the Committee.
  • C & I funding for roadway spot improvements. It was about $12 million (for 2009?). The allocation for a district usually was the top 1 or 2 projects listed. There will be decisions by Oct 5.
  • Report from Charlie. They are working on bike parking standards. A bid was awarded for 150 bike racks countywide. Projects of the McLean task force were funded, 3 were for signage. Also a bike lane on old Keene Mill Rd and ??? On-road lanes that progressed were on Lawyers Road, which is done and the Gallows Rd project is underway. There will be another on Sidenstricker. They are working on Wolf Trap Rd in Tysons bike access that will link Vienna to Tysons. Next month, they will begin preparing the Sully district historic bike route map. Under Round II (of ???) they are looking at Sleepy Hollow Rd and Fort Hunt.
  • Bike events: Nohemy will coordinate several events through the end of the year. Staff will look into setting up a consolidated calendar.
  • Website work continues.
  • Version II of the bike map is out and 41,000 copies were printed.& It is posted on the website, but is quite massive. IT staff is working on a disaggregated version which will be much easier to access.

New Business:

  • The Park Authority has submitted the grant application for the fair-weather crossing that was discussed at a previous meeting.
  • Discussion of meeting times: Wade. Wade had polled members, most are willing to come earlier, although Mark would have some difficulty. Ann Pimley has a conflict, but will be leaving the Committee in 2-3 months, so after that time, we will move the time up to 7:00 PM.
  • Trail request electronic form: Tom. Tom edited the form that is on the county site for maintenance and suggested we adopt a something similar for new trail requests. DPW receives the maintenance form, and we would need to decide how ours would be handled. Bob Mitchie suggested that first the business plan for trail requests should be defined and we could then decide what the form should include. DPW will no longer provide a cost estimate for proposed projects, but they will do a field check. Staff thought they could review this and report back.
  • It was moved and seconded (Mitchie, Airaghi) to request staff to explain the business process for handling citizen requests for sidewalks and trails and then to evaluate how the draft form would respond to that plan. Approved.
  • Discussion of the feasibility of establishing a Trail/Sidewalk volunteer maintenance program. DPW has no money for maintenance and there are needs. The Park Authority Adopt-a-Park program could be a model. Staff noted that it would have to involve DPW and they are likely to resist. There would be some administrative needs. For example, some trails may not be on the proper easement. Jenny noted that their ‘adopters” were all known groups, not individuals. Staff said this would be a policy decision and much more involved that the (previously discussed)form. There could be liability issues. Steve Aitcheson is the new DPW Director who might be asked to come and discuss the matter. That Dept has not been to a recent meeting, so staff will look into his availability for the next meeting and have him touch base with Tom.

Motion to Adjourn - The meeting was adjourned at 9:40.

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