FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arlington, Virginia - A huge mass of over 100 people took to Columbia Pike via bicycle this afternoon to raise awareness about the need for safe, direct, low-stress bicycle routes along the Columbia Pike Corridor as part of #Bike4ThePike.
Organized by newly-formed advocacy group Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County, #Bike4ThePike was a short advocacy protest ride starting at Penrose Square Park and ending with delicious lunch at the West Pike Food Truck Party. Arlington County Board members Erik Gutshall and Libby Garvey attended.
"Despite budgeting over $100 million in the current adopted Capital plan to make Columbia Pike a complete street, the County's current plans wouldn't even provide a complete bike facility that runs the full length of the Pike, let alone one that is safe, direct and low-stress." said Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County founder Chris Slatt. "#Bike4ThePike was a chance to say 'We're here, we ride, we pay taxes, we deserve safe, direct, low-stress routes.'"
#Bike4ThePike is advocating for eight specific outcomes to make cycling more safe, efficient and comfortable on Columbia Pike (in order of priority):
- A parallel bike & pedestrian bridge over Four Mile Run immediately adjacent to the existing bridge to provide dedicated, safe space for cyclists and pedestrians. The sidewalk on the existing bridge is dangerously narrow and lacks any sort of buffer from speeding traffic. Timeline: within three years.
- A comprehensive safety review of the Washington Blvd / Columbia Pike interchange for cyclist and pedestrian safety in the next year. This interchange has been the site of numerous bicycle and pedestrian crashes since it was "improved" by VDOT several years ago. Timeline: within a year.
- A traffic signal at 9th & Walter Reed Drive to ensure safe passage across this busy arterial for cyclists on the 9th Street Bike Boulevard. Timeline: within three years.
- A traffic signal / HAWK or other crossing treatment that requires drivers, by law, to stop at Glebe Rd & 9th St S that does not require cyclists to leave the roadway or dismount to activate it. This would aid safe passage for cyclists on the 9th Street Bike Boulevard across Glebe Road. The existing Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon is not effective and is clearly not located with usage by cyclists in mind. Timeline: within four years.
- Funding and construction of the "Hoffman Boston Connector / Army Navy Country Club Emergency Access Road", provision of a safe, direct connection between it and the Washington Blvd Trail across Columbia Pike and increased County effort to connect the Emergency Access Drive directly to the 11th / 12th Street Bike Boulevard. Timeline: within five years
- A medium-to-long-term plan for addressing the George Mason Drive gap in Columbia Pike bike accommodations so cyclists no longer need to detour all the way to 8th St S or ride on a narrow sidewalk between Quincy St and Taylor St. Timeline: within twelve years.
- A fresh look at plans for the Pike East of Washington Blvd to see if a better bicycle facility can be provided than the County's planned 10' sidewalk, given that this portion of the Pike is a) last in line for construction b) faces uncertainty due to Arlington National Cemetery's Expansion c) is the portion with the fewest alternative routes and d) sees the least automotive traffic.
- Re-engaging the Arlington Heights Civic association in a conversation about two-way bicycle traffic on the 9th Street Bike boulevard within the neighborhood to eliminate the current Eastbound detour.
Residents who missed the ride, but support its goals can sign the petition at https://bike4thepike.org/sign-the-petition/ or read more about conditions on Columbia Pike at https://bike4thepike.org/why-were-riding/
About Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County
Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County is a newly-formed grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that Arlingtonians have sustainable transportation options. Transportation is now the #1 source of US CO2 emissions, surpassing electricity production; shifting our transportation to sustainable options like walking, biking and transit is vital to stopping climate change.