News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fancy Soapstone 'Road Diet' Not Exactly a Diet in the True Sense of the Word

FatPerson.jpegRemember that time Soapstone Drive was going to get a fancy "road diet," allowing cyclists and walkers and whatnot to have free and unimpeded access to the precious bodily fluids available at the 7-11 as drivers happily zip by on a narrower road?

Yeah, that was awesome. Thanks to some good luck with VDOT's paving schedules, it turns out it's likely to happen this summer, with just one minor omission -- the sidewalks planned for the busiest stretch of the road, between Glade and South Lakes.

Hudgins said in October that proposed changes to the road could cost $3 million and that Fairfax County was unsure of how to pay for the project. By having VDOT make the changes as part of the scheduled repaving, that cost would be covered. The county will later pay for the $1.5 million sidewalk improvements, said Hudgins.
Those fancy sidewalk improvements have been discussed for years, so we're not exactly holding our breath. But the reconfigured road will actually be widened slightly between Glade and South Lakes -- so it's less a "diet" and more an "extra order of fries" -- to provide room for a suicide center turn lane, bicycle lanes, and all the crappy tradesmen's vehicles and RVs that can't be parked in clusters on-street parking on one side.

soapstone diet.jpg

VDOT says that the Lawyers Road "diet" has proven to be highly popular and helped reduce average speeds and crashes. For that reason, they argue that narrowing lanes will actually help improve traffic flow as Reston gets more crowded:
Our forecast shows 40-percent increase on Soapstone in 2030. If we keep the existing markings, the South Lakes intersection delays will go up as much as 5 to 10 seconds per vehicle.
If we can keep the delay from "turn lane to Super Big Gulp in hand" to under 5 seconds, we'll be happy, the end.


  1. Madness. How can they do this knowing metro will be here in 2013? Why not use these funds to make improvements to the current infrastructure? Soapstone just got repainted. This makes no sense. Oh well, we can't expect any less from Hudgins. She has no vision to the future other than digging into our pockets.

  2. I always wonder what makes a grown ass man put on a pair of stretchy shorts and ride what is basically a children's toy in heavy traffic.

  3. I guess now the illegal aliens in Reston will have a street they can frequent on their primary mode of transportation. I love to see them wearing their jeans and brown work boots while pedaling to the nearest chalupa establishment. Atleast this might thin out the numbers a bit from all those dregs that hang out at Lake Anne.

  4. Wasn't Soapstone just repainted like a week or two ago? Madness! Where is common sense in the Hunter Mill Supervisor? Gone? MIA? You build towards the future, you don't go backwards. Expand Soapstone, install some lighting and ***GET READY*** for Metro. Traffic will increase a lot more on Soapstone, South Lakes and Sunset Hills with everyone and their mothers trying to find the best way to get to the metro station.

  5. With the long wait for federal cash to put in sidewalks on Soapstone (south of South Lakes intersection), I think they made a good decision on the zero-cost road diet and the pedestrian/bike shoulder areas. (I saw the repainting, too, and I was surprised, as well. Why paint when they are scheduled to repave this summer. But that's VDOT's odd decision, not Reston's.) Hopefully the single-lane repaint will discourage spill-over onto Soapstone. With this logic, I think that Colts Neck would be next. With the traffic increase coming, no longer having cars perform right-side passes at speed will probably spare some 7-11 shoppers a trip to the hospital or morgue. But again, this is zero-cost traffic calming stuff. A good idea, glad they're doing it, but the real mess will be Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills. If they don't build that Association Drive overpass over the toll road and figure out multiple ways into that parking lot, we're in trouble. I assume the parking plan allows for direct exiting/entering to/from the toll road... if not, Wiehle will be a wreck.


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