There’s a big gap between two of Fairfax County’s major bike trails. Burke Road, which connects them, has missing sidewalks, narrow stretches, and sharp curves that make riding on it intimidating for cyclists. Two new projects will help remedy the issue.
The section of Burke Road we’re looking at is about two miles long, and it provides the straight and flattest connection from the Cross County Trail to the Burke VRE Trail. The Cross County Trail extends 40 miles from north to south in Fairfax, and the county recently built the Burke VRE trail to add a sizable neighborhood trail system in the Burke area.
The first phase will extend the Pohick Creek Trail across Burke Lake Road, routing cyclists and pedestrians behind a busy commercial area whose multiple entrances are a hazard. The project received funding last year but has yet to really ramp up.
The next stage will add bike lanes to a section of Burke Road between Mill Cove Road and the Rolling Road VRE station. This portion of Burke Road is wide enough that the county can add bike lanes without taking space away from drivers, and it already has sidewalks for anyone who wants to walk or run.
The Board of Supervisors hasn’t yet approved this part of the project, but if Fairfax’s transportation bond passes this year, some of the money could fund it.
But even once these projects are complete, there will still be a section between Rolling Road and the Cross County Trail so narrow that cyclists will have to share it with pedestrians. While the county has repaired the path in the past year, it should improve this section. Alternatively, for cyclists who choose to stay on the road, Fairfax could add sharrows or an uphill bike lane.
Most of the roads that go anywhere in Burke are simply too wide and fast for anyone but the most fearless of cyclists. Incremental steps like these will help connect the growing trail network as well as help more people see bikes as a suitable transportation option in this very suburban corner of Fairfax County.