The City of Falls Church has been working on a new Master Plan for the section of the W&OD Trail and Park that arcs across the northern part of the city. They'll be hosting an open house about the draft version of that plan on Jan. 23 starting at 10:00 at the Falls Church Community Center’s Community Room at 223 Little Falls Street.
The plan includes several proposals that will make the trail more appealing. For starters it proposes providing separate walking and biking trails as seen above, and that the trail to be lit from 5am to 9pm, to match the hours the trail's opening hours since they were expanded in 2013.
At 6 at-grade crossings the road would narrow down to 22' through the linear park with sidewalks on each and raised crosswalks at the trail intersections. This will slow cars and shorten the crossing distance.
On the east side of town, a second branch of the trail would be built. The W&OD spur trail along Four Mile Run that currently ends in Isaac Crossman Park would be extended along the stream, crossing over N. Washington (Route 29) on a grade-separated bridge and then reconnecting to the W&OD near Little Falls Street. This would become the primary route for the trail bringing it through the city instead of along its edge; and also away from the current and awful Route 29 crossing near Fairfax Drive.
To enhance the park feature of the facility, four "activity centers" are proposed for key points along the trail.
Trees would be planted along each side of the trail to create a canopy and define the edges of the 100' wide park and
For most of its length, the W&OD Park is 100 feet wide. However, inconsistent landscaping blurs the line between public and private spaces and hides the full scale of the park. Additionally, several spaces in the park are overgrown with invasive plant species.
The plan also calls for steps to reduce speeds. These include warning signs, designing curves into the trail and - unfortunately - rumble strips. And it all fits into a larger park and trail plan.
This would become the nicest section of the trail by far (and perhaps the nicest trail in the region). One could further hope that it would encourage other jurisdictions to similarly enhance, separate and improve their pieces of the trail.