As part of Arlington National Cemetery's Southern Expansion, the Army is working with Arlington County to realign the east end of Columbia Pike. The preferred alternative will result in completely rebuilding a significant stretch of Columbia Pike - an unbelievable opportunity we rarely see.
The bicycle and pedestrian facilities that are planned for this BRAND NEW stretch of road? A 10' sidewalk to be shared among everyone not in an automobile. Meanwhile four vehicles lanes will continue to be provided on a stretch of road that only sees about 8,100 vehicles per day. For comparison purposes, two lane roads in Arlington such as Shirlington Road, Pershing Drive and Kirkwood Road routinely carry more motor vehicles than that each day.
To make matters worse, this expansion project will REMOVE Southgate Road which is the relatively quiet street that cyclists (and some pedestrians) currently use to avoid that stretch of Columbia Pike.
The new piece of Columbia Pike, as currently envisioned, will squander a major opportunity to improve non-motorized connectivity between Columbia Pike and Pentagon City and arguably make walking and cycling less pleasant and less safe.
We believe that as a brand new, from-scratch road, this new stretch of Columbia Pike should feature: safe, dedicated space for pedestrians and safe, dedicated space for cyclists along with the appropriate # of lanes to support car and bus traffic.
With the addition of a new pedestrian entrance to the cemetery and improvements to other bike and pedestrian facilities in the area (Army Navy Drive Complete Streets project, Washington Blvd Trail, Columbia Pike Multimodal Project, 110 Trail / Cemetery Wall Trail) we expect significant increases in bicycle and pedestrian traffic along this stretch. The new street should be designed to facilitate that major increase in traffic and to minimize conflicts among the various modes. A shared-use path would maximize those conflicts, especially given the significant differences in speed one will see between bicycles and pedestrians on a relatively significant hill.
UPDATED COMMENT SUGGESTIONS
- This portion of Columbia Pike has no reasonable nearby alternative. It needs great bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
- The street cross section for the rest of Columbia Pike is not an optimal facility, it is what is achievable given the constrained right-of-way west of this project area. The new portion of Columbia Pike being planned as part of this project is NOT similarly constrained and so should not adopt that sub-optimal configuration in the name of "consistency". It should instead be designed to provide the best multimodal experience and to seamlessly transition to that planned less-than-optimal facility.
- The bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure should be designed to accommodate the expected future bicycle and pedestrian traffic, not what is there now. All of the following can reasonably be expected to bring more bicycle & pedestrian traffic to this stretch:
- Planned pedestrian entrance to the cemetery.
- Improved biking & walking infrastructure nearby: Army Navy Drive Complete Streets Project, 110 Trail / Cemetery Wall Trail, Washington Blvd Trail, Columbia Pike Multimodal Project
- Improved biking & walking experience from this project - current sidewalk infrastructure is actively hostile to pedestrians.
- The closing of Southgate Rd which is currently the preferred bike & pedestrian route for many users.
- The final design for Columbia Pike should feature dedicated space for cycling that is not shared with pedestrians or automobiles and should be separated from automobiles by a physical barrier such as a curb.
- Potential Solutions:
- A bi-directional protected bike lane on the North Side of Columbia Pike protected by a curb, planters or other physical barrier. Example
- Widening the 10' sidewalk to be a trail and providing demarcated areas for pedestrians and cyclists marked with paint, signage, barriers, plantings or differentiated materials. Example 1, Example 2.
(deadline: September 22nd, 2018)
To be alerted to more that YOU can do to increase the quality and availability of Sustainable Mobility choices in Arlington like walking, biking and transit: JOIN US