Arlington County has chosen a pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly design for its upcoming rehabilitation of the Carlin Springs Bridge over North George Mason Drive.

Image from Arlington County.

Presently, the bridge has 5-foot sidewalks and no accommodation for cyclists. The new bridge will have 8-foot sidewalks and 5-foot bike lanes on both sides. Although the rest of Carlin Springs Drive does not have bike lanes now, it is both important and forward-thinking of the county to plan for the future by including them in this project. Arlington County is currently considering ways to improve bicycle accommodations between this bridge and the Ballston Mall.

Had better pedestrian and bicycle accommodations not been included in this rehabilitation project, it would likely have been difficult to change for the next 30 or so years.

Aside from the bridge, Carlin Springs Drive itself is not pedestrian friendly. There is only a single pedestrian-activated caution signal and no fully signalized crossings along the entire 1.3 miles from its origination at the Ballston Mall to the interchange at Route 50/Arlington Boulevard.

It’s so dangerous for those on foot, several families who live nearby will not allow their middle-school-aged children to ride the bus, go to the Arlington Forest pool, or bike to the Bluemont Junction Trail unaccompanied because they cannot safely cross the road.

Hopefully these improvements will be the first of many steps to further refine the overall design of Carlin Springs Drive through North Arlington to better serve all users.

Steve Offutt has been working at the confluence of business and environment for almost 20 years, with experience in climate change solutions, green building, business-government partnerships, transportation demand management, and more. He lives in Arlington with his wife and two children and is a cyclist, pedestrian, transit rider and driver.