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?