As part of the Eastbound Widening portion of the Transform I-66 project, VDOT has proposed building a bridge over Lee Highway for the W&OD Trail. However, ArlNow reports that the East Falls Church Civic Association has sent a letter asking the bridge project be paused.
The Civic Association is concerned about a couple of things. First, they want to see a West Entrance to the East Falls Church Metro.
The bridge’s Eastern abutment will present a nearly insurmountable challenge to the design of a Western entrance to the East Falls Church Metro.
Second, they're worried it's ugly
This bridge, at nearly a fifth of a mile in length and approaching three stories in height presents a massive visual and functional barrier to the sights and activity of East Falls Church area, particularly the pedestrian oriented design of the highway at this location
And third, they're worried that it will impede development and the East Falls Church Area Plan. That plan does not include a bridge, but does call for a study of a possible grade separated crossing.
Instead they propose several alternatives. One is to take the trail along Four Mile Run and under Lee Highway through an existing box culvert. Another includes a grade-crossing of Fairfax Drive and then taking the trail along I-66.
They complain that there wasn't enough of a chance for public involvement and worry that it would "lock-in' the alignment of the W&OD trail, which residents say forces cyclists and pedestrians onto neighborhood streets near the East Falls Church Metro station."
Local bike advocates disagree
Gillian Burgess, chair of Arlington County’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, said she shares some of the neighborhood’s concerns. Still, a bridge is sorely needed to “allow people on two feet or two wheels to use the trail without worrying whether that red car is really going to stop at the light,” she said.
And WABA supports the bridge too.
The Arlington County Board held a hearing about it Saturday, however VDOT will accept comments until 5pm today. You can submit comments here.
Update: The Arlington Board statement
Impacts to the regional trail network – VDOT has proposed realigning the Custis Trail at Bon Air Park and grade-separating the crossing of the W&OD Trail at Lee Highway. The Board resolution endorses these improvements and asks that VDOT ensure a robust community process will be incorporated into the design process to achieve a context sensitive solution for the W&OD Trail changes.