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October 20, 1998

TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE Final Report "Getting In, Getting Out, Getting Around"

(Note: This .htm copy does not include footnotes. The original document should be used for complete accuracy)

General

To develop and implement an affordable, balanced transportation system in order to improve the quality of life of people who live and work in the Reston area.

Tranist

Provide public transportation systerms which will result in affordable, safe, comfortable, and convenient service to Reston residents and perosns employed or visiting in Reston.

Make travel in multiple occupant vehicles (public transit, car/vanpooling) sufficiently attractive so as to reduce travel in single occupant vehicles.

Roadway Improvements

Implement an improved road network to provide acceptable levels of service within Reston, as well as through contiguous parts of Fairfax County/Loudoun County in accordance with standards of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

Identify and eliminate/prevent bottlenecks through roadway and traffic control improvements.

Pedestrial/Bicycle

Provide safe, convenient, well-lit and attractive walking/biking environments throughout Reston.

Promote programs to influence the behavior of travelers in the direction of reducing single occupancy vehicle use or reducing the need for travel.

 Funding

Obtain "our fair share" of State and Federal transportation funds, taking into account current and future needs as well as revenues generated and past funding deficiencies.

  RECOMMENDATIONS

INTRODUCTION

By virtue of its location in the middle of the Dulles Corridor, straddling the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) and bordered by the Fairfax County Parkway, Reston is rapidly becoming a commercial (office and shopping), as well as residential, center. Consequently, it is both a major origin and a destination for work trips as well as sustaining heavy mid-day and off-peak shopping and activity travel. The upside of this is that Reston is one of the leading engines driving the economy of Virginia (another is Reston�s nearby neighbor, the Tysons Corner area). The downside is the strain being placed on the existing transportation systems in and around Reston.

This report contains recommendations, both general and specific, aimed at improving transportation into, out of, and within Reston. The recommendations are organized under the broad transportation modes of:

  • Transit;
  • Roads and Streets;
  • Pedestrian/Bicycle.

Recommendations on influencing behavior of travelers toward reduction of single occupant vehicle use or reduced travel are included under "Pedestrian/Bicycle".

Because many of the funding issues apply to all the modes, recommendations on this are presented in a separate section: 

  • Funding.

 The recommendations in this, the body of the report, have been individually summarized for brevity. More detailed versions, as well as explanatory material, are contained in Appendix A. Suggestions for short- and long-term roadway and traffic control improvements for specific intersections and road corridors are contained in Appendix B. Appendix C lists, but does not contain, background documents furnished by the Virginia Department of Transportion (VDOT), Fairfax County, and others, which can be found in the office of the Hunter Mill District Supervisor.

Fairfax County Express Bus Service plan should be endorsed and implemented immediately.

Traffic control improvements for specific sites are suggested in Appendix B (Tables I, II, III).

PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE/BEHAVIOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Introduction

This section also contains recommendations on influencing the behavior of travelers in terms of reducing single occupant vehicle use or reducing the need for travel.

Pedestrian/Bicycle

An adequate network of pedestrian/bicycle combined trails should be provided to connect neighborhoods and encourage neighborhood interactivity.

Identify missing trail/sidewalk links in the pedestrian walkway systems in Reston and facilitate building missing links, including: 

  • Reston Association Paths;
  • Fairfax County Trails System;
  • VDOT-obligated walkways;
  • WO&D Trail;
  • Privately maintained walkways such as retail, condo, etc.

 

Perform a comprehensive trails and sidewalks inventory and prioritization, possibly as an update of the 1994 "Reston On-Foot" document.

Continuity for bicycle travel should also be examined as part of the trail inventory.

Bicycle commuting should be encouraged as a viable means of transportation in Reston.

Trail marking. Names of major cross streets should be displayed on trails and advance warning given of hazards to bicyclists (the latter should be addressed in the trail inventory).

Monitor VDOT/development/revitalization projects for opportunities to include pedestrian/bicycle pathways, including crosswalks.

Encourage VDOT to include pedestrian crosswalks/signals where warranted.

Improve sidewalk/trail lighting for safety and to enhance usage.

Adopt-a-Roadside. Encourage local groups to keep a stretch of roadway clean and monitor maintenance needs on it and adjacent pedestrian/bicycle facilities.

Bus shelters, or at least paved pedestrian pads, should be provided at all transit stops, with curb cuts where there are sidewalks. Hindrances to the provision of bus shelters should be re-examined.

Convene a special Hunter Mill District Task Force to help prepare updates/revisions to the "Non-Motorized Trails Plan" element and ancillary amendments to the Area Plan Revisions of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

Disseminate materials on pedestrian/bicyclist/driving rules, rights and responsibilities.

Monitor for cut-through traffic problems, or review needs for traffic calming, in residential neighborhoods.

FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS

Pedestrian/Bicycle Funding

VDOT/development/revitalization projects should be monitored for opportunities for funding of pedestrian/bicycle facilities.

    APPENDIX A: DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS

INTRODUCTION

By virtue of its location in the middle of the Dulles Corridor, straddling the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) and bordered by the Fairfax County Parkway, Reston is rapidly becoming a major commercial center as well as a residential center. Consequently, it is both an origin and a destination for work trips as well as sustaining heavy mid-day and off-peak shopping and activity travel. The upside of this is that Reston is one of the leading engines driving the economy of Virginia (another is Reston�s nearby neighbor, the Tysons Corner area). The downside is the strain on the existing transportation systems in and around Reston.

This report contains recommendations, both general and specific, aimed at improving transportation into, out of, and within Reston. The recommendations are organized under the broad transportation modes of: 

  • Transit;
  • Roads and Streets;
  • Pedestrian/Bicycle.

Recommendations on influencing behavior of travelers toward reduction of single occupant vehicle use or reduced travel are included under "Pedestrian/Bicycle".

Because many of the funding issues apply to all the modes, recommendations on this subject are presented in a separate section: 

  • Funding.

The Fairfax County Express Bus Service plan, which would provide expanded service to neighborhoods within Reston, to Metrorail, and to commercial centers within and outside of Reston, should be endorsed and implemented immediately.

Traffic control improvements for specific sites are suggested in Appendix B (Tables I, II, and III).

PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLE/BEHAVIOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Introduction

This section also contains recommendations on influencing the behavior of travelers with the aim of reducing single occupancy vehicle use or reducing the need for travel.

Pedestrian/Bicycle

An adequate network of pedestrian/bicycle combined trails should be provided to connect neighborhoods and encourage neighborhood interactivity.

Missing trail/sidewalk links. Identify gaps in the pedestrian walkway systems in Reston and facilitate building missing links, including: 

  • Reston Association Paths;
  • VDOT-obligated walkways;
  • Privately maintained walkways such as retail, condo, etc.;
  • WO&D Trail;
  • Fairfax County Trails System

A comprehensive trails and sidewalks facility inventory and prioritization should be performed, either as an update of the 1994 "Reston On-Foot" document or as a new document, as one of the follow-on Reston 2000 Task Force�s items of business.

Until recently, there has been little progress on completing the "missing links" identified in the 1994 "Reston On-Foot" trails and sidewalks facility inventory for Reston, except for those built by local Developers of new/redeveloped homes and offices. In 1997, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors allocated the first countywide trails construction funding in a long time. The moneys were only sufficient to construct one trail within the entire Hunter Mill District; that trail was located in Reston. In 1998, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors again allocated additional countywide trails construction funding. Reston Association is currently (July 1998) reviewing the concept of matching this limited funding so that additional trails can be added to the trails network in this and ensuing fiscal years.

Continuity for bicycle travel should also be examined as part of the trail inventory.

Bicycle commuting should be encouraged as a viable means of transportation in Reston. There are many issues to be considered, including the adequacy of the existing Reston trail system, the feasibility of adding special provisions for bicycles on existing roadways, and the availability of funds, to make bicycling a safe and viable alternative to single-occupant vehicles.

Trail marking: Street names should be displayed, on either the trail pavement or on post-mounted signs, in advance of major cross streets and should be maintained to retain legibility.

Hazards to bicyclists on trails, (which would not constitute hazards to pedestrians) such as sharp turns, steep down grades, curbs, etc., should be marked with advance warnings on the trail pavement or on post-mounted signs. The trail inventory recommended above should include field checking of existing trails for such hazards. (e.g., the trail approaching South Shore Road from Wiehle Avenue ends with a catchbasin curb dropoff which is not apparent until a rider is almost upon it; it is also hidden just a short distance beyond a rise in the trail.)

VDOT and new development/revitalization projects should be monitored for opportunities for funding/provision of pedestrian/bicycle pathways associated with the project, including provision of cross walks designed and marked for safety

Pedestrian crosswalks/signals. Encourage VDOT to install pedestrian crosswalks and also pedestrian signals where warranted.

Improve sidewalk/trail lighting, including vandalproofing, for safety and to enhance trail usage.

Adopt-a-Roadside. Initiate a program to encourage local community groups/businesses to accept responsiblity for keeping a stretch of roadway litter- and debris- free and for monitoring maintenance needs on adjacent sidewalks/walkways/trails/roadway shoulders.

Bus shelters, or at least paved pedestrian pads, should be provided at all highly utilized transit stops; where sidewalks exist, curb cuts should be provided. Re-exam existing hindrances to provision of bus shelters (e.g., one Reston Cluster which proposed to fund construction of a bus shelter was told a bus shelter could not be approved in the absence of a sidewalk on that street).

A special Hunter Mill District task force should be convened when the Hunter Mill District�s Geographical Information System (GIS) trail data information inventory is completed. This will help prepare the Hunter Mill District updates/revisions to the "Non-Motorized Trails Plan" element of, and ancillary amendments to, the "Area Plan Revisions" of the "Fairfax County

Comprehensive Plan".

In the Spring of 1998, a small volunteer group of Reston/Hunter Mill District citizens helped to perform the first Hunter Mill District-wide trails inventory for inclusion in Fairfax County�s GIS database. The detailed trails inventory information will be included in its own separate data base layer of the mapping. It will be used to update Fairfax County�s "Non-Motorized Trails Plan" (NMTP), which is a strategic element of the County�s Comprehensive Plan and the official document which guides the private and public planning and construction of trails throughout the entire County. Reston Association staff provided significant verification assistance in completing this much needed field inventory.

The data are currently (July 1998) being entered by County staff and will enable Reston and the Hunter Mill District to impact the Area Plan Revisions and the NMTP. Following this, the effort of reviewing the County�s entire NMTP for Plan Review Amendments must begin.

 Pedestrian shoulders. Study should be made of the feasibility of providing pedestrian shoulders by adding a white painted edge line to minor low-speed public or private roads/parking travelways with pavement widths of 28 feet or more, where there is no sidewalk or trail immediately adjacent. Such striping would serve to provide a paved area clearly demarcated as a travelway not intended for motorized vehicles. This treatment should only be considered for roadways with low volumes and low speeds. This treatment would allow for two 11- or 12-foot travel lanes for motor vehicles plus at least 2 feet equally on both sides of the roadway, or at least 4 feet combined on the safest side of the road (considering location of parking and/or adequate vehicle sight distance along that road).

Many of the roads in Reston have no sidewalk/trail immediately adjacent to them, and have no defined edge of travelway, such as pavement edge paint lines; therefore, pedestrians are forced to walk in the street and can become a hazard to both themselves and the motoring public. Restriping the roadway could provide a safer default paved shoulder adequate for occasional walking as well as bicycling. In addition, the lane narrowing could be expected to result in some traffic calming through a slight reduction in motor vehicle travel speeds.

The feasibility of use of such pedestrian shoulders by bicyclists should also be studied. Considerations include the possibility of bicycles riding against traffic, traveling in opposite directions and/or encountering pedestrians in a narrow travelway. Parking would have to be banned on these streets or some way would be needed to distinguish the parking lane from the one for bicyclists/pedestrians. There are many communities that have used this technique, but follow recommended guidelines for path width vs. street width vs. parking lanes, etc.

Restriping would require coordination with VDOT, Fairfax County, and Reston Association (for the private cluster/home owners association/condos roads & parking travelways).

Behavior Modification

Develop cooperative programs to influence reductions in single occupancy vehicle use. Such activities should include the marketing of public transit programs, promulgation of information on the true costs of single occupancy vehicle use, and consciousness-raising concerning the costs to society and the environment of added travel. Work with churches and community groups to encourage increased use of carpooling to events.

Disseminate materials through, and provide seminars to, such entities as schools, Reston Association, Chamber of Commerce, and community special interest groups, utilizing existing County/State/Federal educational materials on pedestrian/bicyclist/driving rules, rights and responsibilities.

Monitor traffic patterns/flow to determine if future problems arise with cut-through traffic impacting residential areas or review needs for traffic calming in residential neighborhoods.

 

FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS

Pedestrian/Bicycle Funding

  APPENDIX C: BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS

 

During the course of the Transportation Committee�s deliberations, representatives from VDOT and Fairfax County made presentations at which they furnished certain documents to the Committee. These, and other documents used by the Committee, are too voluminous to append to this report but are available for examination at the office of the Hunter Mill District Supervisor, Robert Dix.

GENERAL DOCUMENTS

Comprehensive Plan Information for Reston 2000 Task Force, Office of Comprehensive Planning, Fairfax County.

Dulles Corridor Household Increase 1995-2020 (Map), VDOT.

Dulles Corridor Total Employment Increase 1995-2020 (Map), VDOT.

TRANSIT DOCUMENTS

Dulles Corridor Innovative Intermodal System, Conceptual Plan, March 17, 1998, Dulles Corridor Transit Task Force (including, as Appendix A, Dulles Corridor Express Bus Service Plan, October 1997).

The Dulles Corridor Innovative Intermodal System Plan, Presentation to Reston 2000 Public Transportation Briefing, April 27, 1998.

Proposed Plan, Dulles Corridor Innovative Intermodal System, Executive Summary.

 

ROAD & STREET DOCUMENTS

Project Status for Briefing theTransportation Committee of Reston 2000, VDOT, Northern Virginia District, Fairfax Preliminary Engineering.

Fairfax Maintenance Activities in the Reston Area, Northern Virginia VDOT, Fairfax Maintenance.

Fairfax County Projects in the Reston Area, VDOT.

Dulles Toll Road Park & Ride Locations (Map), VDOT.

1995 Traffic Volume Counts for Selected Major Roadways (Map), VDOT.

FY 98-2003 TIP and CLRP Air Quality Conformity Inputs (Highway and HOV).

TREL Traffic Research Laboratory, USDOT, Federal Highway Administration, ATMS R&D Program.


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