After nearly two decades of discussion, Arlington could finally make progress on a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Four Mile Run near Shirlington.
This is according to county staff, who told the Transport Commission at a Jan 9 meeting that the current bridge, which carries two lanes of vehicle traffic in each direction on Shirlington Road, lacks enough bicycle-pedestrian facilities, with only a 3-5 foot sidewalk available.
For many years, pedestrian access on Shirlington Road has been a source of concern for the county, with efforts made in the past to expand nearby sidewalks and make them safer for pedestrians, while the bridge bottleneck stayed.
“The bridge itself is still in good condition,” staff said. “So rather than reconstruct the bridge, a new bicycle and pedestrian-only bridge constructed 20 feet to the west would provide an alternative transit route without cutting into traffic on the Shirlington bridge.”
Staff also noted that the project has already been fully funded in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, but the plans are yet to start.
An open house is scheduled for Feb. 11 from 6-8 p.m for the pedestrian bridge project, in which nearby civic associations will be invited and renderings for the bridge will be available. The location for the open house is yet to be announced.
“We are starting to implement what came out of the Four Mile Run area plan,” staff said.
The Four Mile Run plan also considered an underpass running beneath the bridge, negating the need for cyclists and other trail users to cross the busy Shirlington Road.