Monday, December 28, 2009

Icy conditions in Reston

We finally got a chance to check out the Reston portion of the W&OD Trail today. While much of the trail is clear, there is ice at the usual spots. These photos were taken late this morning (Monday, Dec. 28). They were all taken facing east.

The first photo shows ice at the Sallie Mae bridge across from Plaza America. It's not rideable without studded tires.

The second image image shows the hill on the approach to Buckthorn Lane (looking east). Both sides of the hill are ice covered.

The final image is looking toward Hunter Mill Road. This section will likely be the last to melt. There's a tree lined bank on the south side that prevents the sun from doing it's job.

No cross country ski tracks were seen on either the main trail or the unpaved trail.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wanted: Information

In recent weeks there have been assaults on the W&OD Trail. Above is a composite drawing of a man being sought for questioning. Also above is the Vienna Police Department Media Information Release describing the incident on July 15 and giving contact information for officers working on the case.

Please contact law enforcement officials if you have information.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Link from W&OD to 4 Mile Run

The twin underpasses that allow a transition from the W&OD Trail to Four Mile Run are open. These photos show travel from the end of the W&OD at South Shirlington Road, under I-395, and then under West Glebe Road.

Oh, what a difference this link makes. The pathway before this link caused the trail user to go to Shirlington, cross the bridge behind the WETA Building, travel city streets, and eventually connect with the Four Mile Run Trail at the corner of West Glebe and South Glebe. The reduction in time and the reduction to exposure to pretty heavy traffic make this link a delight.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cameras at Maple Ave.

Hey gang!

If you haven't noticed, there are now "red light cameras" on top of the crossing signal poles on the trail at the Maple Ave. crossing in Vienna! The cameras are aimed right at the crosswalk, but I'm not sure if the idea is to catch motorists or cyclists. I've seen enough of both misbehave at this busy intersection, so perhaps it's an attempt to monitor both. So next time you're there, smile! You're on Candid Camera!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Valet Parking for ViVa! Vienna! on Sunday and Monday

Memorial Day is here early this year. ViVa! Vienna! starts Saturday, May 23rd and on Sunday, May 24th and Monday, May 25th bikes@vienna will be providing Valet Cycle Parking so you can ride your bike or trike to the festival and leave it with bikes@vienna for safekeeping. The service will be available from 10 AM to 6 PM on both Sunday and Monday.

This may be the best ViVa! ever if the weather cooperates. The Rotary Club of Vienna will host twenty-three amusement rides, more than a dozen food vendors, hours of entertainment, and fill over 300 vendor slots on Church, Dominion, and Mill Streets. You can examine the details at

Perfect enjoyment on the Memorial Day weekend could be a bike ride to Vienna to explore the joys of ViVa! Vienna!

Monday, March 9, 2009

W&OD Trail Patrol Seeks New Members

The W&OD Trail runs through the communities of Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg, Hamilton, and Purcellville. The Trail Patrol is seeking new members to be on-scene ambassadors of safety, courtesy, information, and goodwill. All adult trail users--cyclists, walker, runners, skaters, carriage pushers, dog walkers, horse riders, or wheel chair users--are eligible to apply.

Orientation sessions are planned for this spring and summer. For further information and signup please go to or call the trail office at 703-729-0596.

Progress on the W&OD/Four Mile Link

The I-395 Underpass which will allow traffic to move from the W&OD Trail to Four Mile Run is near completion. I do not recommend trying to use the underpass because there is still work being done, but as you can read below in a message received from a bikes@vienna customer, the time is almost here for that long awaited improvement to be used.

# IS395 Underpass - On Friday, I rode from my house to the Potomac and back on the 4 Mile Run bike path. I found that the new bike path extension under IS395 is essentially finished, so I used it. Several other cyclists and walkers were doing the same. This allows cyclists to do the Arlington loop without the long detour at Shirlington circle. There were signs at both ends saying that the new bike path was still a construction zone. Moreover, by just looking at the state of work, I could see that they still have some final installation and clean-up to do on railings. However, the remaining work is not safety related and is mostly right of way protection as opposed to user protection (i.e., stay on the pavement). Finally, at the Shirlington end, they are doing some road work that makes it inconvenient to get to the new bike path segment, but it is doable if you are careful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow on the trail

The snow on the Trail is now packed and icy and will take several days to melt. The plowed spot in the photo is from a Reston Association plow; they end their plowing at the trail edge. Somehow the Reston Association has figured out a way to keep their trails clear all winter. They purchased a used trail snow plow and use it when there is an accumulation of snow on their 55 miles of trails (more than the total length of the W&OD Trail). According to the trail manager, there is no noticeable damage to the trails and no additional maintenance is needed because of the plowing.

One reason NVRPA says that the Trail is not plowed is to allow cross country skiers to use the trail when it snows. You can't see it from the photo, but there were ski tracks on the trail; the unpaved gravel trail to the right. Do cross country skiers really need two trails? There was no evidence of skiing on the main trail and it wouldn't be feasible because of all the foot tracks (and a couple of mountain bike tracks).

There are other issues involved in the decision to plow the Trail, but I seems like they can be overcome. Anyone willing to write a Transportation Enhancement grant application for funds to plow the trail?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Still icy at Hunter Mill Road

There is still a stretch of about 100 meters of ice over the trail just west of Hunter Mill Road. It's bad enough that I had to walk the bike. There are a few other small patches of ice under the Dulles Toll Road and near the Sallie Mae bridge in Reston. This photo was taken looking east toward Hunter Mill Road. Sure would be nice if these shady areas could be plowed before the snow turns to ice and then takes many days to melt.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Icy Trail!

Well, we had our first real snowstorm, and true to form, we got freezing rain on top of it. This makes for an exciting mix of ice and slush and chunky snow. The trail is a mess, as you might have guessed. I rode the mile or so from my house to the shop today, grateful for my studded tires. I'm really not sure I would have been able to navigate this without them. I sure wouldn't have felt as at ease trying. They really do keep you stuck to the path!

The picture above was taken just on the western limits of town, heading in to downtown Vienna. It think it shows pretty clearly what the overall conditions were at about 10 am on Thursday the 29th. To the right is a closeup of the surface. As you can see, there's a lot of broken up chunks of ice and a very bumpy surface from footprints. All in all, a real challenge to ride on. I was fortunate in that a maintenance truck was working its way down the trail ahead of me, so when I could stay in the ruts from their tires, it was smoother sailing. The challenge of course is staying in those ruts!

Be careful out there. I'd suggest walking for now, unless you have studs. But if you have studs, it's actually kinda fun out there... just allow more time, as it's slower going.