Active Prince William

Helping to make Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park a More Livable, Sustainable Community.

Author: Rob Delach (page 2 of 3)

Dale City Revitalization Project Public Open House

Prince William County is holding a public open house for a presentation on the Dale City Revitalization Project at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, 14640 Potomac Mills Rd, Woodbridge, VA on Monday 18 July, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The presentation will focus on suggested improvements for revitalization of the Dale Blvd-Minnieville Rd area in Dale City that have been developed this year, with community input.

Dale City Revitalization Public Meeting Announcement

Dale City Revitalization Public Meeting Announcement (click to open)

The Dale City Revitalization Project is a continuation of the planning efforts initiated by the Prince William County Planning Office beginning with last year’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) report (link to report here). Issues identified in the original SDAT report include developing a sense of place for Dale City, addressing transportation deficiencies such as a lack of sidewalks, bike paths and connections to neighborhoods, revitalizing run-down commercial properties, and adding genuine community spaces. The SDAT report suggested a focus on two areas, the Dale Blvd-Maple Dale intersection, and what they termed, The Streets at Minnieville and Dale.

Streets at Minniville and Dale Map

Streets at Minniville and Dale Map

The County successfully submitted a proposal for a Metro Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) grant for a Transportation and Land Use Connection (TLC) Project that has funded further planning work on “The Streets of Minnieville and Dale” design concept. The open house presentation will include details developed from this new planning project that were shaped through a process of community input.

Dale City - Dale Blvd/Minnieville Revitalization Map

Dale City – Dale Blvd/Minnieville Revitalization Map

The Prince William County Planning Office contact for the project is Ryan Foster, Community Development Manager. He can be reached by phone at 703-792-7359 or rfoster@pwcgov.org

City of Manassas Solicits Ideas to Improve Grant Ave

The City of Manassas is soliciting ideas for how to improve Grant Avenue at a public meeting on Wednesday 29 June 2016 at 7PM in the Georgetown South Community Center, 9444 Taney Rd, Manassas, VA. Active Prince William encourages residents to attend the meeting and provide input on ways to help make Grant Avenue a safer place to bike and walk.

GrantAve Streetview at railroad underpass

GrantAve Streetview at railroad underpass

The public meeting on Wednesday is the beginning of the planning process for the Grant Ave corridor from Lee Ave to Wellington Rd. The Manassas spokeswoman who announced the project stated that the intent is to consider potential improvements to the existing public right-of-way without acquiring additional private property. The City mentioned potential pedestrian improvements as an option, but there was no mention of bicycling improvements. This is an opportunity to suggest that Grant Ave should be a safer place to ride bikes and walk.

Grant Ave Road Profile Proposal

Grant Ave Road Profile Proposal – courtesy of @FixRoute28 (on Twitter)

In its current state, this section of Grant Ave is unfriendly to bicyclists. Active Prince William’s Bicycle Comfort Level Map (http://ow.ly/c24d100cBbG) shows this stretch as “Low Comfort” due to multiple lanes of traffic, high traffic volumes, and no accommodations for bicycles along the route.

Grant Ave StreetView

Grant Avenue StreetView at Taney Rd

See additional details from the announcement here.

How to Submit a Request to Clear Debris from Sidewalks and Trails

If you walk or bike with any frequency in Northern Virginia, I am sure that you have encountered sand, dirt, gravel, grit, broken glass, etc. covering sidewalks and bike trails along our roadways. VDOT has a website for residents to submit service requests that takes only a few minutes to complete. The process is outlined below.

Debris on sidewalk before request was submitted

Photo of debris blocking sidewalk along Old Bridge Rd across from the Old Bridge/Rt 123 Commuter Parking Lot

Sidewalk after clearing by VDOT

Sidewalk after clearing by VDOT within 24 hours of submitted request.

Most roadways and their associated sidewalks and shared-use paths in Northern Virginia are managed by the Virginia Dept of Transportation (VDOT). Exceptions to this rule are where roads are privately owned, such as in some Home Owners Associations, and in some cities, towns, and Counties (such as Arlington County). Most roads in Fairfax and Prince William Counties are owned and maintained by VDOT, not the County governments; therefore, requests to fix problems on the roadways and their associated sidewalks and shared-use paths need to be directed to VDOT on their My VDOT website.

Much of the sand, gravel, grit and debris on our roadsides, curbs, sidewalks, and shared-use paths is left over from the heavy salting, sanding, and plowing that occurred back in January. VDOT does not have a scheduled maintenance program for clearing debris, but they do respond to resident’s requests.

You can easily submit a request on-line for VDOT to clear debris from specific areas that you identify. We recommend that you take a photo of the issue that you want addressed, then visit the My VDOT website.

1. Select the Type of Request

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Initial Page

On the My VDOT website, select “I need something removed from a road”, then on the right, under “What do you need removed?”, select “Remove debris”, then below that, under “Where is it located?” select “On the shoulder or in the ditch”. Once you have done this, click the Continue button.

2. Enter the Location

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Location Page

On the Location page, you will enter information about where the debris needs removal from. You can either zoom in on the map and click the location to drop a pin, or you can enter an address.  Once you have provided an accurate location, click the Continue button.

3. Add Details and a Photo

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Details Page

On the Details page enter any other information VDOT maintenance crews should know about the issue, such as details about the debris, or if it is blocking or impeding use of the road/sidewalk/trail. Enter a description, and be sure to mention if the debris needs clearing from a sidewalk or trail (shared-use path). Under the “Do you have an image or file to share?” section click the Choose File button to add the photo that you took of the debris, then click the Continue button.

4. Enter Contact Information

On the last page, enter your name and email address, and check the boxes if you want to be notified about status updates or create an account (both optional). You can receive status updates via email or text messages (if you provide a mobile phone number).

My VDOT Service Request

My VDOT Service Request Contact Page

You can also check the status of your submitted service requests by returning to the MyVDOT website and logging on if you created an account, or by entering a service request number.

MyVDOT Service Request Status

MyVDOT Service Request Status

NOTE: Residents can also submit service requests to VDOT for trail and sidewalk repairs, and road issues like pot holes and sign repair. The first webpage  has options for other types of requests under “How can we help you?”

Active Prince William’s Bicycle Parking Campaign Highlighted by What ‘s Up Woodbridge News Site.

Improving the availability of bicycle parking in Prince William and Greater Manassas Area is a stated goal of Active Prince William. Recently we have been working with Prince William County and VDOT officials and staff to encourage installation of bicycle racks at transit stations. Just recently new bike racks were installed at the Woodbridge VRE station both outside (see photo below), and inside the parking garage so bikes can be stored out of the elements.

New bike rack installed at Woodbridge VRE Station

New bike rack recently installed at Woodbridge VRE Station.

County Bicycle Parking Guidelines. Fairfax County recently adopted Bicycle Parking Guidelines, and we hope to see Prince William follow suit. We have been engaged with the County via the Trails and Blueways Council (TBC) and PW DOT to officially establish bicycle rack installation guidelines in the County’s construction manual.  This will help ensure that any new bicycle racks that are installed by the County, developers, or businesses, follow best practices.

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Map of Route from Old Town Manassas Bike Rack Inventory Ride.

Mapping Existing Bike Racks. In order to better understand and address bicycle parking availability in the area, Active Prince William is actively mapping all the existing bicycle racks that we can find in Prince William County and Greater Manassas.  We are using a website developed by Bike Arlington, called Rackspotter to map bicycle parking and enable users to find the locations of bike parking when they need it. So far, we have mapped 82 bike racks and lockers across the area. In an effort to find and map every available bike rack in the Old Town Manassas vicinity, we conducted a bike rack inventory by bicycling over 9 miles through the area searching for racks (see map of our route).

Here is the article by What’s Up Woodbridge about Active Prince William and our Bicycle Parking Campaign:

Where are all the bike racks in Prince William?

Bi-County Parkway Gone from County Plan; Takes Safe I-66 Bicycle Crossing With It

On March 15th, the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors voted to remove the Bi-County Parkway from the County’s Comprehensive Plan. Unfortunately, along with it goes one of only a few planned shared-use trail crossing of Interstate 66 (I-66). Options to replace the trail crossing in the comprehensive plan may soon be considered by the County Planning Office.

I66 - Route 234 Interchange Overview

Active Prince William supported Supervisors’ vote, as the Bi-County Parkway would have negatively impacted the protected Rural Crescent and increased truck traffic through Prince William County, while primarily benefiting Loudoun County and the Dulles Airport Authority (more background on the Bi-County Parkway). But the now-defunct Parkway did include one key benefit for Prince William residents: the plan called for a shared-use trail along its entire length, opening up a significant area for recreation to many Western Prince William County residents, and providing a key crossing of I-66, which is a significant barrier to bicylists, hikers, and walkers in the Manassas National Battlefield Park and the surrounding area. Now plans need to be updated to replace the shared-use path crossing of I-66 that was lost with the removal of the Bi-County Parkway.

Options to replace the Bi-County shared use path crossing of I-66 may soon be considered by the County’s Planning Office as part of a technical update of the County’s trails and non-motorized transportation portions of the Comprehensive Plan, or during the Transportation Chapter update that will begin in the next year. The Prince William County Trails and Blueways Council (TBC) has discussed adding Groveton Road to the Comprehensive Plan as an I-66 crossing along with the addition of proposed bicycling improvements for Pageland Lane, a partly unpaved road that parallels I-66 West from Groveton then turns North where the Bi-County Parkway would have been built (see the map below, key: Bi-County Parkway in Red, Groveton Road in Green, and Pageland Lane in Blue).

The only existing safe crossing of I-66 along the approximately 10 mile stretch from the Fairfax County line to Route 15 is located at University Blvd (see map below). Other planned crossings are currently unsafe for people walking or biking, and include:

  • Sudley Rd (Rt 234 Business)
  • Catharpin Rd (under construction)
  • Old Carolina Rd (bridge updated)
  • Rt 15 (under construction)

VDOT has suggested 2 additional bicycle/pedestrian I-66 crossings as part of its future I-66 Outside the Beltway expansion project, under the I-66 overpass at Bull Run and at Groveton Rd. To see the full VDOT I-66 Trail plan, click here. Both of these VDOT proposed trail crossings have been discussed by the TBC, but are not currently in the PWC Comprehensive Plan.

NOTE: Even though PWC is removing the Bi-County Parkway from its Comprehensive Plan, VDOT and others still have plans for the Bi-County Parkway. So, it isn’t necessarily “dead”… yet.

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