The City of Alexandria is seeking feedback on a project to improve mobility on E. Abingdon Drive for non-motorized traffic. A bike lane here would provide a safer and more intuitive user experience for Mount Vernon Trail users.
The city proposes converting the existing right lane of E. Abingdon Drive to a two-way, buffered cycletrack between the Mount Vernon Trail Alternate south of Slaters Lane to the off-street alignment beyond the Metrobus stop. The proposed bike lane is approximately 600 feet long. The sidewalk will remain in place.
Abingdon Drive functions a service road for the George Washington Memorial Parkway for approximately ½ mile in Old Town North.
Currently, trail users are advised to use the narrow 4 foot wide sidewalk. On one side, is two lanes of automobile traffic, on the other is a row of cedar trees. Two trail users can not comfortably pass each other in such a narrow space. While northbound cyclists can legally use the street, southbound cyclists would be going against traffic.
North of Slaters Lane and beyond a Metrobus stop, the Mount Vernon Trail Alternate transitions to its own alignment and meets up with the “river route” of the Mount Vernon Trail.
The city has two proposals for the bike lane:
- Merge lane – The right lane of E. Abingdon Drive merges north of Bashford Lane.
- Lane drop – The right lane of E. Abingdon Drive becomes at right-turn only lane at Bashford Lane.
Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail endorses option 2 because it maximizes early separation between the cycletrack and the travel lane.
Although not mentioned in the Project Objective, Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail would like the city of Alexandria to address the old railroad tracks that cross East Abingdon Drive (and the GW Parkway). The tracks have been out of service since the closure of Robinson Terminal and currently have failing asphalt patches over rotted railroad ties. The track is also non-perpindicular to the road creating a greater risk of catching a bike tire and causing a crash.
The city requests feedback by September 17, 2023. Alexandria Patch reports that the proposal will be considered by the Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board on October 23.
Provide feedback by September 17
Help improve the Mount Vernon Trail by letting the city of Alexandria know that you support Option 2 of the East Abingdon Drive Bike Lane Project.
- This project is needed and will provide a safer and more comfortable trail experience.
- Option 2 is preferred because it maximizes early separation between cars and trail users.
- The city should make repairs to the degraded road surface at the railroad crossing and utilize rubber inserts in the rail gap to reduce the risk of bike crashes due to the slanted angle of the track crossing. Alternatively, the city should work with Norfolk Southern to remove this unused track.