The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) didn’t get all the funding it was seeking to create a dual-use trail on about two miles of the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Trail in Arlington. But the organization’s executive director said it would use the funding it did receive to advance the project.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority included $650,000 for design of the project in its recently adopted six-year, $539 million spending package. That was far less than the $5.64 million sought by NOVA Parks to cover the cost of design and construction, with a goal of segregating walkers from bicyclists on the popular trail in an effort to improve safety and mitigate congestion.
The decision represented a compromise, after Arlington officials received complaints from some residents about the proposal. County Board member Katie Cristol said the decision “will allow NOVA Parks to move forward” and come back for “a more substantive conversation on impacts” at a future date.
Paul Gilbert, NOVA Parks’ executive director, said the proposal mirrors what is being done on the W&OD Trail in Falls Church, a project that will begin by the end of summer.
“I think when people see the improvement that is made when the Falls Church section is complete, there will be a demand for much more of this approach,” Gilbert told the Sun Gazette. “Separating cyclists from pedestrians will greatly improve safety. Using low-impact development techniques, we will significantly improve the stormwater performance of the park.”
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