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Here We Go Again: Woman Drives Honda Civic on W&OD Trail

A woman drove her car down the bike and jogging trail Saturday. Is the W&OD trail marked clearly enough?

A woman drove her red Honda Civic down the W&OD trail on Saturday; the path is not for cars. Patch file photo
A woman drove her red Honda Civic down the W&OD trail on Saturday; the path is not for cars. Patch file photo
Unlike Monday, the weather over the weekend was nearly springlike in Northern Virginia, so folks were heading out for a walk, a jog, a cycle — and a drive — down the W&OD trail.

The W&OD is a path for bicyclists, joggers, strollers and walkers. 

But on Saturday, a woman drove her Honda Civic down the W&OD path in Vienna.

It was about 3 in the afternoon, and Vienna resident Greg Faragasso had just finished riding his bike on the trail. 

"It was a gorgeous day and I was just finishing up a ride," he told Patch. "I finished up at the Town Green by the fountain, right across from Whole Foods. I was drinking my water, and the traffic on Maple was pretty backed up as it is on the weekends."

After awhile, Faragasso said he noticed that a car "was really laying on the horn. I didn't know why," he said. He quickly realized what was happening though. "I see a car was turning from the westbound lane of Maple, going from Tysons to Oakton and they're in the right lane westbound and turning onto the bike path, right there by the antiques shop."

Faragasso hopped on his bike to follow the car, a red Honda Civic driven by a woman. "She drove down the W&OD path toward the Freeman House and got to Church Street," he said.

Drivers at Church Street "were completely confused to see a car coming out" of the bike path, he said. 

The woman parked her car near the caboose. After a few minutes, she got out of her car and went for a run.

Faragasso didn't want to confront the woman; he called police though, but he said no one showed up while he was there talking with a friend. 

"She wasn't going fast, but still, people walk babies and children" on the trail, Faragasso said. "It would be a real tragedy if anyone got hurt."

He went back later to check signage near the trail and said that it appeared there might be a yellow pole missing in the area where the woman entered the trail.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) maintains the W&OD Trail and is given the authority to place or not place barriers leading onto the trail from any public areas. The Town of Vienna does not have the authority to place any type of barrier that would prevent a vehicle from entering the W&OD Trail. 

Faragasso still isn't sure why the woman took the bike and running path: Because she mistook it for a road? To skip the heavy traffic? Because her GPS guided her the wrong way?

See also:

Do you think the W&OD trail is marked clearly enough for cars not to mistake it for a road?
Michael H. February 07, 2014 at 07:10 PM
A bike/pedestrian trail is just that, designed for bike and pedestrian use only (except for official vehicles in emergency situations). Tolerance? For someone acting illegally and endangering other people? No, I freely admit that I am not tolerant of people who endanger and bully others just for convenience sake. Would people be "tolerant" of someone who decided that he deserved to "drive" a tank around on public streets? Would you be tolerant of the tank driver who forced car drivers off of public roads, just so he could avoid having to drive half a block more? (The woman on the W&OD simply needed to drive ahead about 20 or 30 feet to reach the parking lot lane where she could have arrived at her desired parking spot. She knew exactly what she was doing. She does not deserve tolerance.)
John Strother February 10, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Next time snap a picture of the violation, one's word isn't enough these days to have a warrant issued. You got a cell phone, it also is a camera. Use it and this will stop.
Jack406 February 11, 2014 at 09:28 AM
Too bad the Vienna Police couldn't be bothered to come and issue her a ticket. Probably sitting on the side of 123 or Echols giving tickets to people there. But it would be useful to protect the children and around the town center and on the trail. The Trail isn't marked properly. I saw a woman turn onto the trail from the first road on the left as you go down the hill from Vienna towards Clark's Crossing. I stopped and held up my arms and she immediately realized her mistake and backed up and drove off the trail.

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