Using Trails and Outdoor Spaces Safely in the Wake of COVID-19

Trails and outdoor spaces are seeing major spikes in usage across the country, as individuals and families look to these assets for daily physical activity and mental respite in the wake of COVID-19. As America’s business, social and cultural hubs shutter their doors to weather the coronavirus pandemic, many public health experts have discussed the importance of being active in the outdoors—as long as we maintain a safe social distance.

Dramatic increases in visitation are being recorded across the United States; an analysis of 31 trail counters for the week of March 16–22 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) found a nationwide trail usage increase of nearly 200% from that same week in 2019. This surge in trail use is forcing trail managers to take fast action to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among their constituents while encouraging careful and conscientious trail use.

To ensure that people are adhering to social distancing and being safe in the outdoors, some trails and parks are closing, while others are limiting their services. Some are limiting motorized access to entrances and trailheads to minimize crowds. Others are pushing significant public education efforts encouraging people to…

Alexandria Haggles Metro to Acceptable Price for Southwest Potomac Yard Access

The long squabble between the City of Alexandria and Metro over the Potomac Yard Metro station’s southwest access entrance has ended with an agreement within the initial $50 million framework.

Over the last year, the City has been in dispute with Metro over whether or not southwest access to the station could be achieved within the $50 million in funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Federal Transit Administration.

“We appreciate the community’s patience as we…

Arlington Transit Shuts Down All But Seven ART Bus Routes

At a time when coronavirus concerns are hitting public transportation hard, Arlington’s ART service has announced widespread closures.

Starting today, only the following seven ART bus routes will be operating, out of the usual 16 routes:

  • 41 — Along Columbia Pike
  • 42 — Ballston to Pentagon
  • 45 — Columbia Pike to Rosslyn
  • 51 — Ballston to Virginia Hospital Center
  • 55 — East Falls Church to Lee Highway and Rosslyn
  • 77 — Shirlington to Lyon Park and Courthouse
  • 87 — Pentagon to Army Navy Drive and Shirlington

Each bus line will be operating on its respective Saturday schedules. Most of the routes connect high population areas without direct Metro access to Metrorail stations.

Arlington Transit said…

Long-Ignored Crystal City Bike Lanes Could Get Upgrade with New Development

Thanks to some push from local advocates and the county’s Transportation Commission, a new mixed-use development at 1900 Crystal Drive could be required to include protected bike lanes on Crystal Drive, a long time sore spot for bicyclists in the area.

There are bicycle lanes on Crystal Drive, but motorists notoriously ignore the lane markers and drive or park in the lanes designated for bicycle traffic.

“It’s almost a hoax on bicycle riders to say there’s a bike lane here when as a practical matter there isn’t,” said Transportation Commissioner Jim Lantelme…

When a county changed a Confederate highway name, some navigation apps were slow to change it

If you were driving through Arlington in September, you might have noticed a change that was almost five years in the making: Jefferson Davis Highway was no more. Instead, the stretch of U.S. Route 1 that runs through Crystal City — where Jeff Bezos’s Amazon empire is setting up a new headquarters — had been renamed Richmond Highway. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

In renaming the road, Arlington was following Alexandria, where another portion of Route 1 lies; in 2018, the city council there unanimously voted to change the name of its stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway. Arlington’s leaders would have acted sooner, but, because Arlington is a county, not a city, it wasn’t clear whether they could do so without approval from Virginia’s General Assembly. And so they were stymied until…

New Rules for Shared e-Scooters and e-Bikes in Arlington

Arlington County’s new shared micro-mobility device ordinance went into effect on Dec. 31, 2019, after the County Board adopted changes in November. With the ordinance comes new opportunities for where to ride shared e-scooters, e-bikes and similar micro-mobility devices, along with some new restrictions.

Users can now ride e-bikes on all trails, while e-scooters are allowed on Arlington County trails and sidewalks unless signed or marked otherwise. Visit for a comprehensive list of where you can operate dockless devices in Arlington. All users of Arlington streets – whether you drive, walk, bike or use a scooter – are reminded to be a PAL —  Predictable, Alert and Lawful.

Later this month, new signage prohibiting sidewalk-riding will be installed next to…

Arlington County Moving Forward With Pedestrian Bridge Near Shirlington

Arlington could finally make progress on a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Four Mile Run near Shirlington that’s been under discussion for nearly two decades, according to county staff.

Staff told the Transportation Commission at a Jan. 9 meeting that the current bridge, which carries two lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction on Shirlington Road, has inadequate bicycle-pedestrian facilities, with only a 3-5 foot sidewalk available.

Pedestrian access on Shirlington Road has been…

Virginia’s $3.7 billion rail plan called a ‘game changer.’

Virginia closed 2019 with a bold pledge to significantly grow passenger rail service in the commonwealth this decade by building a new rail bridge over the Potomac River, adding new rail track in the Washington-to-Richmond corridor and buying hundreds of miles of passenger right of way from CSX.

The $3.7 billion plan, announced Dec. 19, will put Virginia in control of rail service increases, allow Amtrak to double the number of trains operating in the state and expandVirginia Railway Express service to the nation’s capitalbeyond peak rush hour within a decade.

New intercity and commuter train service could begin as early as…