Meeting Address: 9444 Taney Rd # 100, Manassas, VA 20110
The City of Manassas is in the planning stages of a redesign of Grant Avenue, a road considered the southern gateway to downtown Manassas. Citing pedestrian safety and safe routes to schools, City staff are considering a road diet from 4 to 3 lanes with improved pedestrian sidewalks and crossings. A public meeting was held on 29 June with additional public engagement in the planning process to come in the future. Implementation of the Grant Ave Streetscape Project will also enable the city to move forward with smart growth re-development on the southern side of the city.
At the public meeting on 29 June, there was considerable staff, consultant, and community support for implementing a four-lane to three-lane road diet to improve walking and bicycling conditions, enhance bus stops, and increase aesthetics without significantly degrading motoring. Mayor Parrish, three current City Council members, and senior City staff were present at the meeting.
At the meeting, staff guided interested individuals in using the Streetmix computer program to design alternative cross sections for Grant Ave. While conventional bike lanes are eminently feasible and should be adequate for many bike riders with a road diet’s traffic-calming influence and a lowered 25 MPH speed limit, it was clear that the current street right of way is constrained, and expanding the sidewalk areas to include planting strips with street trees, urban street lamps, and bus shelters is an important “competing” priority that may preclude adding buffered or separated bicycle lanes.
While a simple road diet can often be accomplished using only maintenance funds to repave and re-paint the new lane configuration, expanding the sidewalks and planting strips, undergrounding the currently overhead utilities, and adding bus shelters, urban street lights, street furniture, trees, and other landscaping along Grant Ave will necessitate considerable construction funds.
The Initial planning and design for the project has been funded, but there’s not yet any funding allocated for construction, and thanks to HB 2 and HB 599, which target road capacity expansions, neither the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) nor the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) are likely to provide any money for a road diet. If construction will be locally funded, it’s unlikely that the curbs will be moved, so as to greatly reduce construction costs. At the meeting, Active Prince William advocated for alternatives–including buffered bike lanes–that could fit within the existing roadway.
For more information, visit the City’s project page [http://www.manassascity.org/grantave], where you can sign up for project updates, and view the meeting presentation which provides background information and describes how the meeting was conducted.
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.
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.
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.
See additional details from the announcement here.