|Photo by alykat (cc)|
Q by CS: Arlington often talks about how bicycling is an important part of our transportation network, and yet our bicycling infrastructure rarely if ever gets plowed, even major cycling thoroughfares like the Custis trail that continue to see hundreds of riders a day despite the weather. Minneapolis manages to keep their bike infrastructure plowed. When will Arlington?
A: Currently there are no immediate plans to plow or treat primary commuting bike trails, but our planners, Department of Parks and Recreation and DES operations staff continue to strategize how to improve the bike commute. The County will be looking to coordinate with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority for priority to treat the WO&D Trail, which is not maintained by Arlington.
Q by MB: I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed by DES' inaction on plowing our primary trails. As people within DES can tell you, thousands of Arlingtonians use those trails every day to get to work. By failing to plow the trails, DES puts more people onto the streets in cars. Is that really what you want, during a snow event?
A: As previously asked by Chris, our planners, Department of Parks and Recreation and DES operations staff continue to strategize how to improve the bike commute. There are many significant safety and environmental concerns for bikers and our trails that we have and are attempting to find the best solution.Okay, once again: consternation. Arlington talks a good talk. Arlington talks about how cycling is a great way to commute. Arlington talks about the Car Free diet. Arlington talks about Smart Growth through Smart Transportation.
The problem is Arlington actually convinces a few of us. And a few (thousand) of us have come to rely on cycling as our mode of transportation. It's how we get to work, or to school, or to the store, or to lunch. We drank the kool-aid, we have become car-free, and we bike the solution.
But having converted us, Arlington goes sideways on us and doesnt follow through. There are major cycling arteries in Arlington that see 1000s of cyclist get to work every day. These are the Custis Trail, the W&OD trail, and the Mount Vernon Trail (NPS). These trails are cyclists freeways that see levels of traffic during rush hour that rival the roads. During rush hour on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn, the cue at a red light is as deep on the Custis trail as it is on Lee Hwy. The flow of traffic on the Custis is constant and we saw essentially cyclist traffic jams this year.
Those cycling arteries are not treated as "transportation" arteries by Arlington:
- There are no plans to clear snow from the trails, in the same way other transportation arteries are cleared.
- Arlington police park their cruisers on the Custis Trail in Rosslyn, blocking the trail.
- Arlington Parks and Rec trucks regularly drive on the W&OD during rush hour, creating dangerous situations.
- Arlington Parks and Rec shut down the Custis Trail during rush hour so that they could prune trees - something VDOT would never do to Route 66.
- After decades of complaints from cyclists, the Custis Trail / Lynn St intersection remains as dangerous as ever with almost no action taken.
Arlington: Is cycling actually "transportation," or is that just some cute words you put on paper so that you have dazzling looking transportation strategic plans?If you are going to talk the talk, walk the walk. 1000s of cyclists rely on the trails as transportation arteries. Arlington, please behave like they are transportation arteries.