Yes, the Washington area has the worst traffic commutes in the nation. But I live in a community that has 55 miles of paved paths, all of which are at least 8 feet wide which allows for shared use. They weave in and out of trees, and between playgrounds and pools, alongside beautiful babbling brooks (which occasionally swell to roaring creeks), and dump into three man-made lakes. This area (not a town) is called Reston and it's one of the earliest planned and executed communities in the nation. It is the model for many around the world, and many have come to study it over the years. Reston is bisected by a toll-road that goes to Dulles International Airport. Just north of the toll road, the W&OD trail runs through Reston. The W&OD is an awesome reclamation of a railroad easement turned into a walking/running/horseback riding trail. And even with all that goodness of bicycle heaven, we have some bike lanes, and LOTS of bicycle-thinking planners who want to keep our community the bike-friendly place it is.
This is one of our new bike lanes. It is so freeing to be in my own lane -- to know that I'm not having to compete for real estate with something tons heavier than my bike and me!
Still, we have the worst commutes in the nation, so the Metro system committed many years ago to extending out to Dulles Airport. It's coming through via the same route as the toll road. The first station in Reston, Wiehle Avenue, is supposed to open in January 2014.
I wondered what the access for bicycles and pedestrians will be from the south side (where I live), so today I took a ride up there to see.
What amazes me is that there are guys working there today and it's SUNDAY! And as you can tell from the blue sky, it's a BEAUTIFUL Sunday. That area on the left that looks like a chute is the escalator area going in. I'm told there's an elevator for people to take their bikes up. Sadly, our Metro rules don't allow bikes on the metro (except for folding bikes) until after 9:30. On the other hand, the W&OD goes all the way to Washington, so one could ride in -- about 25 miles depending on where you're going in Washington. The new metro station has a bike room under cover where people can leave their bikes after cycling to the station. One will be able to purchase a monthly "pass" to use the room, just like purchasing a car pass. It's a great solution to the 'LAST MILE' issue.
Except for rainy days.
Speaking of rainy days, we're supposed to get some this week so I'll be sky-watching hoping to ride around the worst of it. I want to do the every day in May thing, but not be stupid. Stay tuned.