Earlier this year, the Transportation Planning Board's Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee, made up of planners from several of the region's local jurisdictions, unveiled a list of the top unfunded bicycle and pedestrian projects from a regional perspective.
The list includes a total of 12 proposed projects, all of which satisfy one or more of several selection criteria the Subcommittee uses to identify the top needs. Among other things, the criteria favor projects that would enhance the connectivity of the existing regional bicycle network, promote pedestrian safety, especially in areas with documented pedestrian safety challenges, or improve access to Metrorail stations or other major transit stops or facilities.
A prime example of a project that would improve access to transit is a 1,300-foot extension of Fairfax County's Folly Lick regional bicycle and pedestrian trail to the planned Herndon Silver Line Metrorail station. Once complete, the trail will provide a seamless connection for bicyclists and pedestrians between downtown Herndon and the new Metro station, as well as to the broader regional bicycle network.
In Prince George's County, the Subcommittee has identified a key, half-mile trail segment connecting two existing trails -- the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail and the Northwest Branch Trail. The Trolley Trail is a popular route serving College Park, the Riverdale MARC station, Hyattsville, and numerous existing or planned residential neighborhoods in the Route 1 corridor.
One of the other proposed projects on the updated list is a good example of enhancing inter-jurisdictional connectivity of existing bicycle facilities in the region. The US Bike Route 1 Signing project would install route and wayfinding signage along 50 miles of the nationally designated route through Arlington, the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Prince William County. All of the jurisdictions along the route have expressed their support for the project.
Other projects on the list include trail improvements or important trail connections in Frederick County, the City of Frederick, the District of Columbia, and the City of Alexandria. New or improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities along major roadways in Montgomery, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties round out the list.
The TPB's Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee developed its first priority project list in 1995 to draw attention to a small number of key projects still in need of funding. Since that time, the list has undergone numerous updates, as projects that were previously on the list have received funding and been built, and as new priorities have emerged.
The 2012 update to the list, for example, included expansions of Capital Bikeshare to College Park, Montgomery County, and elsewhere in the region, which were soon after funded and implemented. A project on the 2009 list to expand bicycle parking at Metrorail stations later received funding and has been partially implemented.
Beyond the projects included in the priority lists it develops, the Subcommittee supports and encourages many other bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements throughout the region. The regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan the Subcommittee developed in 2010 highlights more than 500 important projects across the region. The Subcommittee also supports efforts to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in all transportation projects, in accordance with the regional Complete Streets policy, which it helped advance to approval by the Transportation Planning Board in May 2012.