The City of Falls Church's plans, BFC ideas, and historical projects with impacts on (or missed opportunities for) bicycling
Current and next fiscal year
Will make Dual Trails continuous across roads and calm traffic. Raised crosswalk removed from design due to stormwater issues not identified in the scoping phase. Delayed further (ECD uncertain) due to cost increases and rebid. City and NOVA Parks evaluating adding stop signs on the road, in addition to the existing trail stop signs.
Neighborhood traffic calming across multiple roads between Rt 29 and Seaton Lane. Affects official bicycle routes but no bicycle-specific improvements planned. Traffic calming will benefit bicycling.
S West St (bicycle route) will be rebuilt with traffic calming features but no bicycle facilities. Widened sidewalk and bike parking should help accommodate bicyclists. Developers will fund $100k of sidewalk work near the site. Specific location TBD but could improve off-street bicycle connections.
Neighborhood traffic calming between Washington St and Cherry St due to speeding of 50-70mph. In design phase. Unlikely to include bicycle facilities on this bike route.
New signal and pedestrian improvements at Columbia St and N Washington St. Bike Master Plan process not run / no public input on changes to this bicycle route.
New crosswalks and curb extensions around Berman Park. Does not enable Berman Park as an off-street bicycle route.
Roll-out of 20mph speed limits on the majority of City roads. Roads not included are most future bicycle routes - they require roadway redesign before 20mph speed limits can be posted there.
Repaving between Hillwood and Washington. Could be an opportunity to better connect Hillwood Ave bike lanes to the City.
Focus on compliance at the 3-way stop, but also opportunity to add bicycle lanes on a key route with minimal cost and parking impact.
Refresh of the 2015 Master Plan, with a focus on implementation and measurement, including the top 3-5 routes to go implement soon.
Covered bicycle parking at City Hall, part of the rebuild of City Hall.
Phase 2 to be delivered in FY25. Need further details. Soon the operational costs of CaBi will fall to the City.
New crosswalks and HAWK pedestrian signals at Oak St, Fairfax St, and Berry St. No bicycle-specific features but these will make bicycle crossings of Broad St easier and safer.
Opportunity to add bicycle facilities to this bike route. Plan of record is to add sharrows.
DPW is considering adding bicycle lanes on both sides and a through bike intersection across Hillwood Ave with green paint. Should run Bike Master Plan process for public input.
Major road redesign on Lincoln Ave, east of N West St. In concept phase. Affects N Oak St and Great Falls bicycle routes to W&OD and connection of Arlington's buffered bicycle lanes on Fairfax Drive.
City secured a grant to study a bicycle link from West End Park on the W&OD north of Broad St to Mustang Alley, possibly via the Offutt Drive route identified by CACT
Critical to shape bike & walk elements in the concept early
BRT on Broad and Washington is likely to run in shared car-bus lanes; no improvement for bicycling
New on-street bicycle facilities on new road parallel to Haycock Rd that will intersect a new cycle track on Mustang Alley. Wide sidewalks along Broad and Haycock. Relocated Capital Bikeshare.
Intersection improvements and a bicycle facility to link the Shreve Road SUP to the cycletrack at Mustang Alley and the future SUP on the north side of Haycock Road to Great Falls St. Details not yet clear.
Off-street connection on the south side of Shreve Road between the W&OD Trail and W Broad Street.
Traffic calming, streetscape, and sidewalk improvements between Washington and Virginia. Includes sharrows and added bike parking.
Will be the City's first roundabout; bike lanes will merge into the roundabout vs. having an "exit option" to the sidewalk. On pause due to City Staff shortage.
Utility undergrounding, streetscape improvements, bike/ped improvements. Ideally will link to planned Arlington bicycle facilities on Langston Blvd.
Rebuild of the roadbed; opportunity for any bicycle facility refinements that do not make it into Greening of Lincoln
New light and crosswalks; unclear if bicycle facilities have been considered on this bike route (no readily available public data)
New light and crosswalks; ideally extends bike lanes from Hillwood Ave to Annandale Road and transition to the Intermodal Plaza sidewalks
Rebuild of roadbed; best opportunity to add bike lanes on Park Ave between the W&OD (West St) and Virginia Ave
Rebuild of roadbed; best opportunity for adding bike lanes or moving the curb for new/widened sidewalks to link downtown to W&OD and McLean/Arlington
New light and crosswalks; ideally supports bike lanes on N West St
New light and crosswalks; ideally improves bicycle facilities on Hillwood Ave
New park/plaza spaces near road crossings on the W&OD. Potential opportunity for a permanent traffic garden (e.g., near N West St)
Lighting to make night use of the W&OD Trail safer; need to consider concerns of the neighbors and dark-sky / light pollution issues
Exciting Ideas from Bike Falls Church Members
Adult and youth bike education - beginning and/or advanced classes like city riding skills - offered by the City and run by WABA
Elementary School education on how to safely ride a bike, so every student has the opportunity to learn
A safe, park-like space to learn to ride a bike and then learn the rules of the road. Cute, fun, mini-roadway sized for kids.
Add bike lanes from Offutt Dr to W Broad St. Improves Safe Route to School and has almost no parking impact.
Convert E Broad from 4 lanes to 2 travel lanes, a turn lane, and bike lanes. Volumes fall within VDOT guidance for road suitable for Road Diets; would reduce need for speeding enforcement, make pulling out of driveways easier, and create a bike link to Eden Center
Link the W&OD to downtown with a bike lane in Little Falls St in lieu of low-utilization parking on one side. Would better entice W&OD riders into the City and would provide buffer/step off space for the narrow sidewalk.
A cousin to the W&OD south of Broad Street, linking S Maple Ave to the W&OD via several parks (City has done some studies on this)
Add protected bike lanes on Annandale Road using unnecessary travel lane space, with minimal impact on parking. Would provide a critical link to the southestern part of the City at low cost.
Add protection such as curb stops or bollards to bike lanes on S Maple Ave, Roosevelt St, and Hillwood Ave - none of which qualify as "all ages and abilities" without protection.
Rethink the automatic use of STOP signs every time the W&OD crosses a road. Consider federal MUTCD standards and recent examples from Alexandria (Mt Vernon Trail) and DC (Rock Creek Trail). The current design does not "command respect" - few bicyclists stop at the signs which is exactly what the MUCTD predicts will happen.
Bike to Work Day, Bike to School Day, Bike to Local Businesses, Bike to Worship, Bike to the Market, Kids Rides, Holiday or Event Rides
Hold most often "open streets" events on Park Avenue - like the formal Memorial Day parade, give people the opportunity to walk, bike, play, and chat in this public space.
Learn by doing: Use spray paint, chalk, and plastic flexi-posts to trial bike infrastructure for days or months.
Past projects with bike elements ... and a few big missed opportunities
In 1968, the W&OD Railway was closed to make way for I-66. This allowed advocates to push for one of the early rails-to-trails projects in the US. The first section of the W&OD Trail opened in 1974 in Falls Church City. The Village Preservation and Improvement Society turned out to support this cutting-edge new trail by sponsoring plantings along the trail in 1976.
In 1987, when the City announced a plan to widen sidewalks on Broad Street to revitalize the area, residents organized to push for a W&OD bridge over Broad Street. The local advocates prevailed and the bridge was completed in 1992. It was later named Citizens’ Bridge, as “a testament to small-town government.”
Falls Church kicked off a bike/ped planning process in 2010. The plan was going to remove obstacles in sidewalks, add missing sidewalks, build a bicycle lane network, and establish safe routes to school. After two years of work, concerns about removing all on-street parking on Lincoln Avenue and Hillwood Avenue grew into strong resistance to the plan. With emotions running high, the plan was abandoned rather than modified though the thinking provided a foundation for later work.
The Economic Development Authority sponsored the addition of bicycle wayfinding signs to link the W&OD to downtown with “sharrows” painted on N Maple Ave, Little Falls St, and Park Ave.
The 2014 Mobility for All Modes chapter of the City’s Comprehensive Plan emphasized the City’s goals for supporting bicycling and walking for transportation while holding car traffic steady. This led to the creation of a Bicycle Master Plan in 2016. Key to its passing was a late-breaking addition to prioritize car parking.
Unique green bicycle racks were first installed in 2016 and codified, along with a more basic pole-and-loop style rack, as the required racks in the City's Streetscape standards. A Request-a-Rack program was started for property owners to request racks.
Bike lanes were painted on Hillwood Avenue, S. Maple Street, and Roosevelt Boulevard as a first step in implementing the Bike Master Plan.
The City brought the Capital Bikeshare program to the City and has continued to grow the number of bikeshare docks available. The City Council invited shared electric scooter operators into the City, but no scooter operators took the offer.
The long-planned Dual Trails on the W&OD were completed by NOVA Parks in 2021 – a first for the region and a world-class bike facility.
NOVA Parks removed the stop sign at the (signalized) crossing of N West St and revamped the bike and ped markings on the Dual Trails to be more intuitive, responding to Bike Falls Church requests.
A VT studio class under Professor Buehler developed a report evaluating current conditions for bicycling in the City and some recommendations on future infrastructure. This work jump-started the bike Mastr Plan refresh.
Redesigned intersection at Hillwood Ave with plaza space and bike parking. Did not solve bicycle link from Tinner Hill / S Maple Ave to Hillwood Ave, though does provide fairly wide sidewalks.