Friday, July 27, 2012

Build it and they will bicycle: Wash Blvd Bike Path @ArlingtonDES

Arlington is a great place to bicycle - Arlington has been certified as a Bike Friendly Community.  The growth of bicycling as a form of transportation has been tremendous.  The Custis Trail along 66 and the W&OD Trail have become major commuting arteries, with cues at traffic lights as deep for bicycles as it is for cars.

Bicycle commuting is a bit like field of Dreams: Build it, and they will come!  If you look where people bike commute from, it is heavily from where the bike / multi use paths are.  Where multi use / bike paths exist, you get lots of commuters.  Good infrastructure is vital to cycling as a form of transportation.

As great as Arlington is, there is a piece that is missing.  A good bike path through the center of the county.  Washington Boulevard cuts from the North West corner through the county to the South East corner.  The proposed Washington Boulevard Bike Path will provide good bicycle infrastructure that will dramatically enhance and promote bicycle transportation in Arlington, linking North and South Arlington, providing access from the Rosslyn / Ballston corridor to Columbia Pike, and ultimate to Pentagon City.

It is a good idea.  It promotes bicycling.  It promotes the car free diet.  It will reduce pollution.  It will reduce the number of cars on the road.  It will relieve congestion on the roads. It will promote healthier residents of Arlington.

To build it, Arlington County will have to remove trees along the route.  This is sub-optimal.  But Arlington is working hard at adjusting the bike route to minimize environmental impact, and will be replanting all trees removed.  In the long run, the environmental impact of this project will be positive - reducing carbon emissions and reducing cars on the road.  And Arlington's plan to replant all trees is positive.

The Washington Boulevard bike path would provide a major link from North to South Arlington, and will be well used.  This is a good project.

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