Trail Waiver #[TBD]:
Marriott Residence Inn
Backlick Road and Old Keene Mill Road

 
  Article Prepared By Robert Michie
NMTC, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 13 September 2005
Release 1.0
 
 

Summary:

The subject area is a commercial property inside the Commercial Revitalization District in Springfield VA. This property, once occupied by a restaurant, has been cleared for redevelopment. The Residence Inn is a Marriott product specializing in extended stay lodging. This development will be six stories tall, and have approximately 165 units. The trail requirement is for an 8-foot wide Type 1 trail along the frontage and an on-road bike lane. Applicant's request: modify the bike lane requirement to accommodate the following design:

  1. Modify the major paved trail requirement along Old Keene Mill Road and Backlick Rd by providing additional paving to the existing 5-foot concrete sidewalk and 2-foot brick strip to a total of more than 8 feet wide. Street furniture such as bench and lighting, and planting will be installed along the path.

Figure 1: Map of Subject Area: Fairfax County Contour Map 80-4

Discussion:

Figure 1 shows the subject area within the green circle. The Amherst Avenue bridge on the left, and the ramp merge areas for I-395 and Franconia Road are on the right. The white arrowhead figure in the center of the map represents a grassy divider separating northbound and southbound traffic on Backlick Road.  This divider is clearly visible in Photo 2 below.

Photo 2 shows a particularly unfriendly environment for travelers coming westbound on Old Keene Mill Road by any means other than in a motor vehicle. Indeed, even motor vehicle drivers have to be alert in this area. There is no way to move north or south at Backlick Road in any transportation mode. The designated crossing is the Amherst Avenue Bridge. Photo 3 shows that the Bridge is equipped with pedestrian stairs to allow quick access to the site and westbound Old Keene Mill Road. Westbound traffic, either by foot, bicycle, or Segway, becomes feasible only at Backlick Road itself. The designated eastbound pedestrian and bicycle route is a few blocks north at Commerce Street, and is described in the Waterford Trail Waiver discussion of March 2005.

The area is not likely to benefit from bike lanes in this area as that the County has Commerce Street to get riders safely around this stretch of Old Keene Mill Road. The concrete dividers visible in Photo 2 (the barrier in the middle of Old Keene Mill Road, and the island divider that parallels it on the left) basically precludes all bicycle and pedestrian westbound traffic in this area. The Amherst Avenue Bridge also chokes the area traverse, making it impossible to add bike lanes without sacrificing sidewalks.

Field Check  22 August 2005

These photographs show Backlick Road and Old Keene Mill Road at the proposed site of the Marriott Residence Inn.
Photo 1: North side Old Keene Mill Road, facing Northeast. This is a brand-new eight-foot sidewalk. There is a two-foot wide ornamental brick trim adjacent to the curb.
Photo 2: North side Old Keene Mill Road facing East. Note the concrete barrier in the middle of Old Keene Mill Road.
Photo 3: North side of Old Keene Mill Road, facing West. The building site is on the right half of the picture. Amherst Avenue Bridge is directly ahead.

Recommendation:

Grant the Waiver for the following reasons:

  1. Westbound bicycle and pedestrian travel in this area is not recommended, unless the travel begins at Backlick Road.
     
  2. The designated traverse in this area is Amherst Avenue for north-south travel, and Commerce Street for east-west travel.
     
  3. Insure that plantings in the streetscape do not intrude in the sidewalk area.
     
  4. Make sure that the concrete surface segment of the sidewalk remains at least at its present width of five feet as ornamental brick trim, seating areas, and plantings are added to enhance it.

 

 
 

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