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Designers Prepare To Submit Tysons Bicycle Master Plan For Approval

Public hearing Thursday night gave residents last chance to provide input

Residents gave input Thursday night at the final public meeting for the Tysons Corner Bicycle Master Plan, as designers now prepare the plan for adoption by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The meeting, at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, was the last in a series of public meetings stretching back to September.

The plan, a nearly 20-year strategy for creating a bike network through and around Tysons Corner, will include four phases, lead designers Daniel Goodman and Bob Patten of Maryland-based Toole Design Group told the crowd. All four phases could cost nearly $21 million, according to plan documents.

Goodman said they will take another week or two to revise the Tysons plan with  input received at Thursday's meeting, but there is no set date for the plan's presentation to the county planning commission or Board of Supervisors.

 

Phase Estimated Timeline Cost One 2011-2013 1.1 million
Two 2012-2016 5.4 million Three 2015-2019 4.7 million Four 2020-2030 9.7 million Total
20.9 million

During phase one, which will be implemented between 2011 and 2013, the focus will be on bicycle connectivity to Tysons metro stations from Vienna,  McLean, and the City of Falls Church, along with adjacent neighborhoods and the W&OD Trail.

Phase one could cost up to $1.1 mil, according to plan documents.

The Toole Design Group, the Fairfax County Bicycle Advisory Committee  and Fairfax Advocates For Better Bicycling went on a bike tour of Tysons and surrounding areas to get an on-the-ground feel for which areas needed the most improvement, they said. Phase one includes improvements at several "problem" intersections to make them more bicycle friendly, including the intersection of Creek Crossing and Beulah Roads in Vienna.

“In our plan we just constantly are expanding and making more like a spider web the networks that had to happen, so that all these movements could be made possible by bike," Patten said during his presentation Thursday night.

Phase one includes  new signed bike routes that connect Vienna, McLean and Falls Church to Tysons, and will also add more signage to bike routes that already exist. This phase also calls for a Bike and Transit Ambassador program that will encourage more people that live and work in Tysons to use bikes for transportation.

"Tysons Corner now, if you know what you're doing, isn't really all that bad to travel by bike,"  said a bicyclist at the meeting. One goal of the Ambassador program would be to help new bicyclists navigate the roads.

The phase also calls for the construction of a small trail that will connect the Pimmit Hills and Idylwood neighborhoods to the Tysons Central metro station, one of the four stations included in . The segment would connect Mervis Way to Ring Road.  

Sidewalks along Anderson Road and Dolley Madison Boulevard will also be widened to create side paths that cyclists from McLean can use to access the Silver Line. As the road exists now, cyclists would have to pass through the Dulles Toll Road crossing point on Dolley Madison Boulevard.

“Tysons now is very much a place where people are always separated from other people by space, buildings, cars,” Patten said at the beginning of the meeting. “So having more bicycling and walking, one of the biggest changes is going to be the change in the social dynamic of the place and allow it to really become a community.

New trails won't be created until phase two  of the plan (2012-2016), which will also mark the expansion of the on-street bicycle network with shared road lanes. Streets that typically have low traffic flows will be marked with sharrows, on-street symbols that indicate to motorists  to share the lane with bicyclists. Traditional bike lanes are also planned. 

Phase three (2015-2019) will add 5.6 miles of trail improvement and several shared-use paths, including one shared-use path connecting 123 to Boone Boulevard. Phase four (2020-2030) will add “Cycle Tracks,” roadways specifically constructed for bicyclists and not vehicles. Similar tracks are currently installed in some parts of New York City.

 “We want to put out the physical network and encourage people feeling comfortable biking in Tysons Corner,” Goodman said. “We also want to nurture the development of a bike culture in the area.”

The project is largely dependent on funding and the economy, Goodman and Patten said.  Funding will come from federal, state and local government sources, but the Bicycle Advisory Committee is also relying on developer and stakeholder contributions. The Fairfax County Department Of Transportation has reached out to  the Georgelas Group, Mitre Corporation and the Tysons Corner Mall, all of whom are said to be interested in making contributions. 

The Tysons plan is phase one of a two-phase county-wide bicycle master plan. After the Tysons phase is adopted, phase two, which encompasses bicycle plans for the rest of the county, would be ready for adoption in about 18 months, county officials

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