Progress on Alexandria dedicated bicycle infrastructure moves slowly. The city’s trail network is decent enough for an experienced cyclist, but is it good enough for an 11 year old to navigate? Not quite.
Holmes Run Trail
Over 2 years after a major storm wiped out portions of the Holmes Run Trail, we’re still over 2 years away from complete restoration.
South of Duke Street
The bridge south of Duke Street that was closed in fall 2019 has been removed (pictured above), but the timeline Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted in 2020 was not met.
The project web site says that “Bridge replacement is anticipated in summer/fall 2022” a year later than projected in 2020.
That’s 3 years.
The link that passes under Interstate 395 is not expected until “Late 2023 to Spring 2024: All repairs anticipated to be completed.”
That’s 5 years if this plan holds.
So, if a kid was 11 years old when the trail was disconnected, they’ll be 16 when its reconnected. Those are peak bike-riding years lost.
When the trail was whole, it was quicker to bicycle between Seminary Valley and the two pool clubs just over the Fairfax County line than it was to drive. I’m curious if those pool clubs have had anything to say to the city. Perhaps not, given that they are merely adjacent to it.
The detour, utilizing sharrows along Sanger Ave. and the Beauregard St. sidewalk is possible, but not particularly pleasant. In short, I’d be nervous with a kid bicycling along that stretch because of aggressive drivers.
I know the local “civic association” (no link, they don’t even have SSL on their site) has merely shared information rather than engage in advocacy for the Holmes Run Trail. They did throw a tantrum about Seminary Road reconfiguration though. Needless to say, I’m not paying them a membership fee.
Between Holmes Run and Telegraph Road, the Eisenhower Trail is a very useful connection with only three at-grade crossings. Once past the Telegraph Road overpass, the trail transitions to sidewalk at the Metro station.
Whether using the sidewalk or the travel lane, Eisenhower Ave. isn’t very friendly for cyclists. Unfortunately, the Eisenhower Partnership prefers this setup (Alexandria Now). In 2019, founder Agnés Artemel said the corridor is suburban density and too spread out. Another member, Kay Taylor said bikes are not transportation.
It’s hard enough to get any cycling infrastructure built generally and this mindset from local membership organizations won’t help.
For what it’s worth, I travel through the Eisenhower Corridor on my bicycle 50 – 75 times a year. By car? Less than 10.
Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail news
On the bright side, another bike corridor that travels through Alexandria is getting attention. Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail has been improving the National Park Service maintained trail for several years now. I have personally volunteered several times and look forward to doing more.
Spokes Etc. sold to Trek
Trek to buy local bike shop Spokes Etc. – Arlington Now
Even though my Trek was purchased at Spokes Etc., I’m not excited about this news. My brand loyalty is if I like the product enough to buy it, great. Otherwise, I’ll get another company’s product.
Big corporate consolidation is typically not consumer-friendly. Trek has been buying up bike shops for several years now, including Revolution Cycles in 2017 (Bicycle Retailer) and the Springfield location of The Bike Lane. I hope the local bike owners made a pretty penny at least. It can be a difficult industry (WTOP).