Minutes of the Fairfax County Trails and Sidewalks Committee

May 12, 2010

Call to Order: Wade Smith called the meeting to order at 7:09 PM on May 12, 2010.

Members Present - Wade Smith, Chairman (Dranesville), Peter Christensen (Mt. Vernon), Roger Diedrich (Providence), Daniel Iglhaut (Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority), Thomas Kennedy (Braddock), Paul Kent (Sully), Robert Michie (Lee), Douglas Pew (Hunter Mill), Ann Pimley (Fairfax Area Disability Services Board), Jan Reitman (Mason), Mark Tipton (Fairfax County Federation of Citizen Associations), and Jean Voss (Clifton Horse Society).

Staff Present - Chris Wells (Pedestrian Program Manager).


  • Douglas Pew was designated acting secretary.
  • The minutes of the prior meeting were discussed and approved.
  • The agenda was approved.
  • Chris reported that normally only one staff member will be present at each meeting. That member will try to get status information from other staff members.

Staff Reports:

  • Chris Wells stated that Bike to Work Day will be May 21. There will be 3 more pit stops than last year. A number of board members are expected to participate.
  • There will be no summer paving schedule for secondary roads so no new bike lanes.
  • The Tysons Master Plan contract is not yet finalized.
  • Chris Wells requested each member to review the new web membership page. Please check your name and send any corrections to Chris.
  • New members do not have email links attached to their name. Other members do have links. IT is concerned about spam to these links. Do these members wish to continue having email links to their names?
  • Web pages will be focus of next months meeting.
  • There has been 58 million dollars funded in direct pedestrian projects since 2001. There is now a much slimmer funding stream. We have an advocacy role and can help build community support for the construction of new walkways.
  • We have 50 million dollars designated to fund projects in next 5 years. Priorities have been done. There may be design changes.
  • Volunteer maintenance appears to be needed now that budgets are cut. Request made to advise board members how to overcome possible bureaucracy in legally implementing the volunteer program. It was noted that this is the summer equivalent of shoveling snow.
  • VDOT will only be doing primary road paving. They will perform emergency fixes with asphalt. VDOT has no problem with volunteer maintenance.
  • Tysons official schedule was discussed. The planning commission will meet on May 27. The board will discuss this subject on June 22. There are questions regarding how to fund a grid of streets. A group has been formed to look at Metro Access at Tysons. They met on March 26. They will be continue to meet on the first and third Wednesdays. A web site for the group will be coming soon. The Bicycle Master Plan is not yet done.
  • A cost study was done to compare costs of construction with other jurisdictions. Fairfax came out favorably. Other jurisdictions do not do nearly as much work so it was difficult to make comparisons. 52 projects in Fairfax cost $229 per foot. 4 projects in Arlington were $287 per foot. 8 projects in Prince William were $240 per foot. The study has not yet been released to the board. It will be released to our committee once this has been done. There were no bridges constructed in other jurisdictions for comparison. It was suggested that comparison be made with the Park Authority also. Right of way is very expensive. Cost is not a threat to projects.
  • Snow removal is a hot topic. The board has authority to require snow removal on sidewalks by residents but does not choose to do so. In other jurisdictions with this requirement, it is seldom enforced. There is a lack of coordination with Schools to clear sidewalks. There is a question as to who will clear 25 foot sidewalks in Tysons.
  • Safe routes to school was discussed. School staff advises of walkway requirements for school. DOT staff requested coordination on this in December of 2009. VDOT has 4.1 million dollars in funding for this statewide. To get this, Fairfax County must meet VDOT’s specific requirements. Fairfax County has not applied for this previously because other funds were available. VDOT requires a formal school travel plan for funding. Walking and/or busing requirements are known by address. Staff will set up a meeting with Schools to look at walking requirements. Schools do not like the “Kiss and Ride” concept. Schools need to hold public meetings to prioritize requirements for walking. There is a problem with getting neighbors to grant sidewalk easements. Need public agreement to build sidewalks where easements are required. The walking distance requirement for students has increased. Schools are trying to quantify criteria for walking routes. Crossing guards are police employees. A minimum of 7 students crossing at a crosswalk is required to request a crossing guard.

Old and New Business:

  • There was a question about the success of proposed state legislation to permit construction of walkways over utilities rather than moving them. Chris will check on this.
  • There was a question about whether money is specifically set aside for ADA projects. If there is a small need, it may be possible to do this by using existing funds. Chris will check Ann Pimley’s list of disabled needs for status. Staff placed Ann’s list into the district lists.
  • It was questioned how does VDOT handle liability on Adopt A Road projects. VDOT may be exempt from liability. It was questioned does county have same status. There is a concern about volunteers cutting shrubbery on private property.
  • There was a question on when repairs will be made to the trail along the Fairfax County Parkway along the northbound ramp to Route 50. Chris will check on this.
  • A question was asked on whether Boy Scouts could place screening on a ramp to the Beltway. It was decided this should not be done.
  • Next month the committee will focus on the committee web site design. Members should bring ideas for consideration. Jeff Hermann will bring a PC and projector to display the current web site for comment. There is a need to provide an electronic form to submit walkway requests. Safe way to list member’s emails was questioned.
  • Equestrian issues will be discussed in September or October 2010. Jean Voss needs time to solicit input from Fairfax for Horses organization.
  • The Long Term Care Council is looking for a transportation member for the Mobility and Transportation Committee. Please let Ann know if you wish to serve.
  • Paul Kent will chair the new bicycle subcommittee of our committee. Please let Paul know if you are willing to serve on the subcommittee. There was a question for Chris about whether a subcommittee has to announce a meeting.
  • Let Chris know if there are any emergency ADA needs such as curb cuts. He will try to get minor projects done quickly.

Motion to Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.

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