Quincy St PBL Extension to the Custis Trail
Arlington County is getting ready to repave N Quincy Street between Fairfax Drive and I-66. This represents a huge opportunity to create a nearly-continuous low-stress bike route between the Custis Trail and the heart of Ballston. An existing protected bike lane connects from Glebe Rd to Fairfax Drive, standard bike lanes go from Fairfax Drive most of the way to Washington Blvd, but with a scary gap around the Washington Blvd intersection.
The important community amenities in the area (Washington-Lee HS, Central Library, Quincy Park, Mosaic Park, etc), along with the opportunity to connect a major activity center (Ballston) with the trail network make this a critical link to make not just "bikeable" but safe, comfortable and low-stress. Here's how you could do it:
What Facility Could Fit without Moving Curbs?
Re-purposing the space on the East side of Quincy Street between Washington Blvd and I-66 that is currently used for parking provides enough space to achieve a continuous facility that is often either fully separated, or at least buffered from cars, all the way through the Washington Blvd intersection, up Quincy to the I-66 bridge. Here is a scroll-able, zoomable map graphic showing the measured widths of the various parts of Quincy, and how a separated / protected / or buffered facility could fit within the space shown.
The end result? Continuous standard bike lanes through the Washington Blvd interchange, continuing north until the left turn lane goes away. At that point, a painted buffer could be introduced for the South Bound bike lane and a buffer with bollards for the Northbound bike lane. At the intersection with 13th St N we then propose shifting the southbound bike lane behind the parked cars making a parking-protected bike lane, while keeping the northbound bike lane bollard-separated. This continue at least until the median picks up immediately prior to the I-66 bridge where they then may need to transition back to buffered bike lanes as currently exist on the I-66 bridge.
But Where will People Park?
If those parking spaces go away, are there other places those people could park? YES. First off, due to the number of driveway curb cuts, those block don't hold that many cars. Only about 4 cars on the north block and 8 cars on the South block. Secondly, there is ample capacity either across the street or around the corner that can absorb those parked cars. How do we know? APS recently studied parking occupancy throughout this area, including the on-street spaces on Quincy, 13th Street and 14th Street + the parking garage and parking lots at Washington-Lee.
According to that parking occupancy study, the peak occupancy for that on-street parking on the East Side of Quincy is the overnight hours, when the north block is close to 100% full (4 cars) and the south block is around 70% full (5 or 6 cars). At this time there is ample parking available directly across the street on the West side of Quincy, as well as just around the corner on 13th St and 14th St. At all other times, those parking spaces on the East side of Quincy are even less full and at all other times of the occupancy study there is availability to completely cover that demand either across the street or around the corner. In addition, every house on those 2 blocks of Quincy has a driveway.
The End Result
The end result would be a drastically improved cycling experience along this stretch of Quincy that would help people get around the area in a healthy, climate-friendly way. It would improve access to Washington-Lee, Quincy Park, Central Library, Mosaic Park and the Ballston Commercial District. It would improve safety and help entice people who are currently comfortable riding on trails, but not on-street, to leave the Custis and come down into the heart of Ballston to patronize its shops, restaurants and amenities. It would provide the thousands of residents of Ballston a low-stress bike connection to County trails and the thousands of Ballston workers with a better connection if they want to try biking to work. All of this by just having some folks park across the street or around the corner from where they are currently parking. These kind of projects are how we get to sustainable mobility in Arlington County.
Attend the public open house on Wednesday June 5th, 6pm-7:30pm at Washington-Lee High School and speak up!