- Plans for McLean’s downtown encourage increased use of active transportation modes and transit by developing high-quality bicycle networks and other facilities and services.
- Adding an urban trail or two-way bikeway to celebrate the historical Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad would improve the plan.
The McLean Community Business Center (CBC) Comprehensive Plan has been undergoing several revisions over the past few months. FABB was pleased to see that proposed bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure remains an important part of the plan. For example, the McLean CBC plan’s concept for a comprehensive network of well-distributed and publicly accessible park spaces requires connections by safe bicycle-friendly and pedestrian pathways. Its overall transportation vision also encourages increased use of active transportation modes and transit by developing high-quality bicycle networks, pedestrian facilities, and transit services.
In its Bicycle/Trail Network, the CBC plan recommends bicycle and trail facilities to provide connections through, to, and from downtown McLean. It sets network standards for convenient and comfortable facilities with wayfinding, safety measures, minimized crossing delays at intersections, convenient access to secure bicycle parking facilities, and install stations for bikeshare programs. Specific proposals include continuous facilities for Old Dominion Drive between Dolley Madison and Chain Bridge Road consisting of a 12-foot, off-road facility for cyclists, pedestrians, and micro-mobility users and additional facilities for Chain Bridge Road and Old Chain Bridge Road.
The plan has room for improvements, and one possible enhancement was raised at a recent Capital Trails Coalition Northern Virginia working group meeting. FABB members participated in an interesting discussion about developing McLean’s designated main street—Old Dominion Drive—to include an urban trail or two-way bikeway that also celebrates the area’s history. CTC is developing ideas for re-establishing the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad corridor, one of four train and electric trolley lines that served Fairfax County from the 19th century until well into the 20the century. The Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad transported visitors from DC and Arlington to the Great Falls National Park with stops at McLean and Elkins Station through the 1930s. Unfortunately, most of the right-of-way was converted into a narrow street for motorists, Old Dominion Drive, without accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Such a Great Falls and Old Dominion trail would become an important part of the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan. It would eventually intersect with a proposed I-495 Trail and the Dolley Madison Trail that provides connectivity to Tysons and the McLean Metrorail Station. Such a trail would make McLean’s downtown an ideal rest stop for trail users as well as a logical destination for shorter trips from surrounding neighborhoods and Tysons. Unlike motorists, trail users are more inclined to stop and spend money in restaurants, shops and retail stores, making this proposal a great addition to the CBC plan.
The McLean CBC final recommendations will be presented during public hearings to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors later in 2020. You can support consideration of a Great Falls and Old Dominion Trail and other improvements by sending comments to [email protected].