Kenmore Middle School and Carlin Springs Elementary school have a sustainable access problem - in addition to being located at the edge of the County, they are surrounded by barriers, dead-end streets, and poor bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure leading to low walking & biking rates, high parental drop-off rates, and the inevitable traffic and safety problems that result. One project that could start improving this situation is the Kenmore Connector Trail - a walking & biking trail on the west side of Carlin Springs Road that could connect Kenmore & Carlin Springs across Arlington Blvd to the W&OD Trail.
Kenmore Middle School has the highest parental drop-off rate of all of Arlington's Middle Schools. Nearby Carlin Springs Elementary School has the 2nd lowest walk & bike to school rate of all neighborhood elementary schools in Arlington. The lowest walk & bike to school rate is at Hoffman-Boston, a school whose attendance area spans both sides of I-395. These rates cannot be explained solely by these schools' location near the County border, Jamestown Elementary which is similarly situated has a 50% higher walk & bike rate than Carlin Springs.
Exacerbating their location is the disconnected and car-oriented street network in the area. Kenmore & Carlin Springs are, in many ways, cut off from much of their attendance area by major arterials with poor bicycle & pedestrian facilities that are difficult to safely cross - Arlington Boulevard & Carlin Springs Road.
One of our greatest pieces of walking & biking infrastructure, the W&OD Trail, is nearby as the crow flies - just 800 feet or so; unfortunately, it may as well be on the moon from a Safe Routes to School perspective. Reaching the schools from the W&OD requires traveling on narrow sidewalks alongside speeding cars on Carlin Springs Road as well as on the Four Mile Run Trail which is not plowed in the winter.
It will take more than a single trail to solve these schools' transportation issues, but it's a solid, achievable first step and it's already in the County's Master Transportation Plan (Bicycle Element Project #2-26). The trail would improve access for all families living north of Arlington Boulevard by improving the safety of the underpass and would connect the school so the W&OD Trail which, in addition to being car-free, is cleared of snow by NOVAParks in the winter. See this Modern Mobility blog post for full details of the proposal.
Ultimate Goal: Construction of a safe, direct, low-stress trail connecting Kenmore Middle School to the W&OD Trail.
Current Goal: Inclusion of the Kenmore Connector Trail in the County's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan.
Detailed Status: Gathering petition signatures and organizational letters of support to demonstrate public support.
New Bike Plan includes Kenmore Connector Project
The County Board adopts an updated Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan which includes the Kenmore Connector Project (#2-26).
Build Back Better CIP Campaign
Kenmore Connector Trail included in SusMo's inaugural Build Back Better CIP Campaign under the "A Safe Route to Every School" priority header.