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
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 – 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 Avenue StreetView at Taney Rd
See additional details from the announcement here.
This year, Friday May 20th is designated as Bike to Work Day. There are 83 Bike to Work Day Pit Stops planned across the Metro DC area this year with 8 of those in Prince William County and City of Manassas.
Each pit stop will provide registered attendees with free t-shirts, snacks, refreshments and chances to win bicycles and other great prizes. Please be sure to register with your pit stop location to be eligible for the free t-shirt and prize raffle. T-shirts are available to the first 15,000 who register and attend.
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.
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.