City Seeks Input On West Street Redesign; Forum Tonight

September 15, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
September 15, 2015

The South West Street project is under way, as the contractor has stripped the pavement on the southbound side near the Fairfax line. So City officials have decided it’s not too early to begin discussing with residents how the busy arterial should be redesigned when the work is done.

To that end, they are hosting a forum at 6:30 tonight (Tuesday), in the Dogwood Room at City Hall. The public works department also welcomes phone calls and emails.

The options are, of course, not limitless, and the basic design of the street will stay the same. But there are choices available that still will significantly affect the look and feel, and possibly the safety and utility of the road.

Those choices all involve how the road will be striped: the width of the automobile travel lanes, whether or not to have bike lanes, and whether or not to have parking lanes are the basic categories.

For example, one option under consideration between Ellison Street, one block south of Broad, all the way to Poplar, near the Fairfax border, would be to narrow the driving lanes to 11 feet while keeping parking lanes on both sides. The parking lanes would be set off with a white stripe. There would be no bike lanes.

The idea here is that narrower lanes have been shown, in studies and real world testing across the country, to cause automobile operators to driver slower.

Another option would be to take parking off one side of the street and to replace it with a bike lane. The bike lane would be “buffered,” meaning there would be more than just a simple white stripe separating it from the driving lane, but no physical barrier.

Two bike lanes appear to be one of the alternatives proposed between Poplar and the Fairfax border, but that does not appear to be an option in the busier stretch from Poplar to Ellison. Instead, officials are suggesting that, in the option with the one bike lane, markings, called “sharrows,” would indicate to cyclists and drivers alike that they are to share the driving lane.

All the options under consideration are available at the project’s web site: