At the June 13th Arlington County Board meeting, the County Manager is recommending that the Board approve agreements between the County, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) and Dominion Power that would allow the County to construct and maintain a connector trail from the W&OD Trail to South Carlin Springs Road along an existing desire line to the south of Carlin Springs road and the north of the W&OD (seen here).
While cyclists and pedestrians can currently access the W&OD and FMR trails via the disc golf course and parking lots on the south side of Four Mile Run and via dirt paths on the north side, this 8-foot wide connector would create a more direct, and better quality connection to the W&OD Trail. The connection would include a stop sign giving priority to those already on the W&OD and presumably signage to direct users.
Despite the diminuative size of this project, it has nonetheless attracted some opposition. Namely from Bernie Berne, President of the Buckingham Community Civic Association.
Mr. Berne's primary concern is that the trail will negatively impact what is now a field located along a stream, by replacing a natural billy-goat path with an 8-foot wide swath of pavement and shoulders. He wrote in an email to a parks list serve:
This project would destroy a meadow area in the W&OD Regional Park to construct a needless paved bike trail that would duplicate a nearby connector trail.The meadow area that the Connector Trail would destroy has developed since the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) placed chains along the W&OD Trail and the N. Carlin Springs sidewalk about five years ago at Walter Tejada's request. These chains stopped the frequent mowing of the area and permitted the meadow to develop. The meadow area presently has wildflowers and is providing habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.Further, the meadow area is reducing storm water runoff into Four Mile Run.The Connector Trail is an initiative of DES and the County's Bicycle Advisory Committee that has not [undergone] any public review. The Bicycle Element of the County's Master Transportation Plan does not describe this Connector Trail. Construction of the trail would [contradict] recommendations in the Public Spaces Master Plan that are intended to preserve natural areas in County parks and open spaces.The Connector Trail is clearly not needed. The W&OD Trail presently connects to the east side of N. Carlin Springs Road via an 8-10 feet wide paved trail on the south side of Four Mile Run. The proposed Connector Trail, which would travel on the north side of Four Mile Run, would duplicate the existing trail.The proposed Connector Trail would meet N. Carlin Springs Road only 300 feet (0.06 miles) from the existing paved connecting route. Further, pedestrians and runners presently use an informal footpath that travels along the Connector's route; therefore, they would not significantly benefit from the proposed Connector Trail.Construction of the Connector Trail would place an impervious 8-feet wide strip of asphalt through a natural area. Further, frequent mowing along the sides of the Connector would destroy even more of the natural area and meadow habitat. The total width of the disruption would likely exceed 18 feet.The Connector Trail would therefore disrupt a planned natural area and destroy a meadow habitat without creating a significant benefit for pedestrians, cyclists or other users of the W&OD Trail. In addition, construction and maintenance of the Connector Trail would waste County funds and resources.
THE PROJECT WILL RESULT IN AN ADDITION OF 1,840 SQUARE FEET (0.04 ACRES) OF NEW IMPERVIOUS SURFACE. THE PROJECT WILL DISTURB 3,320 SQUARE FEET OF LAND.A DITCH WILL BE CONSTRUCTED ALONG THE UPSLOPE SIDE OF THE TRAIL BEGINNING AT THE WEST END WHERE IT CONNECTS TO THE EXISTING SIDEWALK. THE DITCH WILL FOLLOW THE TRAIL ALIGNMENT TO THE EAST. THE DITCH WILL BE DIRECTED TOWARDS A NATURAL DEPRESSION TO THE NORTHEAST. THE DITCH WILL BE LINED WITH NO. 57 STONE.CALCULATIONS WERE PERFORMED USING THE VIRGINIA RUNOFF REDUCTION METHOD (VRRM) AND TR-55.THE PRE-DEVELOPMENT HYDROLOGY WAS BASED ON A GOOD FORESTED CONDITION AND THE POST DEVELOPMENT HYDROLOGY WAS BASED ON THE PROPOSED CONDITIONS.BASED ON THE VRRM THE PROJECT GENERATES 0.13LB/YEAR OF PHOSPHORUS. BASED ON A SITE ARE OF 0.13 ACRES, THIS RESULTS IN REQUIRED TREATMENT VOLUME OF 203 CUBIC FEET.BASED ON THE ENERGY BALANCE EQUATION OF THE VRRM, APPROXIMATELY 238 CF OF STORAGE ARE REQUIRED FOR CHANNEL PROTECTION AND 391 CF ARE REQUIRED FOR THE FLOOD PROTECTION.DUE TO THE SMALL SIZE OF THE DETENTION FACILITY REQUIRED AND MAINTENANCE CONCERNS, A SWM DETENTION FACILITY IS NOT BEING PROPOSED WITH THESE PLANS. HOWEVER, IN ORDER TO OFFSET THE STORAGE REQUIRED, A LARGER FACILITY FOR THIS AND OTHER PROJECTS WILL BE PROPOSED AT A LATER TIME.