On Jan. 5, 2022, the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board adopted a resolution recommending 14 McLean pedestrian bicyclist friendly sidewalk and trail projects in accord with Fairfax County's draft plan, "Active Transportation Project Prioritization Methodology.”
"I want to thank everybody for the quick turnaround time, especially during the holidays," said Rob Jackson, president of MCA. "We had a limited window, and we made it."
Three months earlier, during the Oct. 5, 2021, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Meeting, the board approved making a one-time investment in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The goal through FY 2027 would be at least $100 million in new funding identified during FY 2022, citing federal relief dollars. The funds would be used for projects not currently budgeted on the county's priority list through FY 2025 and in addition to any previous transportation funding.
According to the Dec. 6 documents of the Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee, officials recognized that the projects should include repair and maintenance in addition to new construction, as these are less expensive and easier and faster to implement. Officials provided a four-step process for groups to analyze potential projects using specific criteria.
The MCA board chose projects aligning them with the criteria- students, pedestrians, and others in the community use the sidewalks and trails; they were in poor condition, needed for public safety, and served a public need. Some projects connected to other trails and sidewalks, providing a missing link. Because funds were limited, they decided to have some sidewalks and trail sections repaired rather than replaced. Expenses would be lower and the projects more readily implementable.
The MCA board recommended the following seven high priority and seven meritorious sidewalk and trail projects for funding in FY 2022 through FY 2027 at their Jan. 5 meeting:
Conduct a study of a potential pedestrian/bicycle bridge across Dolley Madison Boulevard near McLean Central Park and install improvements such as pedestrian flashing lights at the Dolley Madison Boulevard crosswalk, either at Ingleside Avenue or Elm Street. (A fatal bicyclist collision with a vehicle occurred there recently.)
Conduct an engineering study and then improve the walkway along the north side of Haycock Road between the bridge over I-66 and Great Falls Street. Make the walkway consistently 5 feet wide, substantially reduce its slope between Turner Avenue and the I-66 bridge and install a painted crosswalk across Turner Avenue at its intersection with Haycock Road.
Widen by approximately one foot the concrete sidewalk on Haycock Road's north side on the bridge over I-66, repair its northern sidewalk between the south side of the I-66 bridge and the eastern access road to the West Falls Church Metro station.
Repair portions of concrete sidewalk along the west side of Westmoreland Street between Gordon and Haycock roads.
Repair portions of the asphalt trail along the east side of Balls Hill Road between Thrasher Drive and Heather Hill Lane and beside the frontage of Cooper Middle School.
Repair sections of the asphalt trail along the north side of Haycock Road between Westmorland Street and Great Falls Street.
Extend a sidewalk one block on Redd Road's north side from the northwest corner of its intersection with Idylwood to Reddfield Drive.
MCA identified and supported seven meritorious sidewalk and trail projects:
Repair cracked and uneven portions of the asphalt trail on Dolley Madison Boulevard's north side west of Old Dominion Drive to Lewinsville Road.
Construct a sidewalk on Birch Road's north side from Birch Grove Court to Kirby Road.
Construct a sidewalk along Linway Terrace east of Old Dominion Drive and Birch Road to an existing walkway.
Conduct a study regarding trail construction on Lewinsville Road's north side between Swinks Mill Road and Bridle Path Lane respecting the presence of mature trees in a right-of-way.
Conduct a study for trail development along Old Dominion Drive's south side, which would connect to the planned pedestrian/bicyclist trail along I-495.
Maintain/upgrade Georgetown Pike's (Rt. 193) asphalt trail along its south side just east of Dead Run Creek for about 50 yards.
Repair portions of the asphalt trail along Douglass Drive from the southwest corner of Georgetown Pike to its junction with Father John Court.
During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Oct. 5, McLean's representative, Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville), discussed the complex and costly challenges the board faced to make communities safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists. The county's many projects were not adequately funded; some projects were delayed, while others were never listed. In an interview on Jan/ 7, Foust clarified the situation.
"We have many bicycle and sidewalk projects funded, but we have many, many more that are not," Foust said. He added that the $100 million would only "scratch the surface needed across Fairfax County." "We need to find more money, other sources…[so] that we can get specific, desperately needed things dealt with."