Letter: Douglas Stewart, Virginia Sierra Club

Editor: In regard to last week’s article, “Loudoun Transit, Alternate Transportation Focus in Long-Term Plan Draft”: If Loudoun is serious about providing more travel options for its residents, the county should act much more quickly to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety around its new Metrorail stations.

In 2014, county staff presented to the Board of Supervisors the “Loudoun Pedestrian and Bicycle Station Access” study, a detailed plan for improving walking and bicycling around the Ashburn and Loudoun Gateway Metro stations. The study recommended specific improvements at 33 intersections and on 38 roadway segments. These include simple changes in road design that would make a big difference for pedestrians and bicyclists, such as squaring off intersections, making crosswalks more visible and installing pedestrian refuge islands. 

Eight years later, the roads around the Metro stations remain stressful to walk on and difficult to cross safely. While Loudoun and VDOT are working to fill in some missing sidewalks, they have not made visible progress to slow traffic speeds and improve the intersections for safe crossing. 

The imminent opening of Metrorail provides a golden opportunity to shape the county’s future around transit. The area around the Ashburn station, for example, is full of businesses and neighborhoods, and will have many more residents and workers as planned developments are built out. However, most of the nearby neighborhoods are cut off from transit by dangerous, fast-moving rivers of traffic. Few residents will choose to walk or bicycle to Metro or the businesses at nearby Loudoun Station under these conditions. 

Loudoun has a good plan for fixing this situation and making the streets around its Metro station safer for everyone. The county and VDOT should make funding and implementing this plan a much higher priority. 

Douglas Stewart, Co-Chair, Transportation, 

Virginia Sierra Club

5 thoughts on “Letter: Douglas Stewart, Virginia Sierra Club

  • 2022-08-30 at 5:17 pm
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    Thank you Douglas Stewart for placing pedestrian rights & cyclist rights on the front burner. In the past, they’ve been cast aside by the Autocracy. It’s time for all of us to realize there are way too many vehicles on the roadways. And it’s only going to get worse unless we take drastic action. Happy Be Kind To Humankind Week Loudoun!

  • 2022-08-30 at 5:30 pm
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    Spending more money on an transportation albatross is a dumb idea. Sorry.
    Let it die a peaceful death on its own.

  • 2022-08-30 at 6:53 pm
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    “Few residents will choose to walk or bicycle to Metro or the businesses at nearby Loudoun Station under these conditions.” Correct, they will have to drive their car and park in a government-subsidized parking garage. See their motivation?

  • 2022-08-30 at 10:37 pm
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    Is this a joke? How much is the waste of his project which will subsidize riders for its entire existence. More money for bikes and pedestrians is just what the doctor ordered said no one ever.

  • 2022-09-01 at 11:02 am
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    I am an avid biker and walker. I lived abroad for a dozen years and never owned a car during that time. I relied on public transport there and and regularly after returning to the US. I have surveyed the areas around Loudoun’s newest, still shuttered stations, and for the life of me can’t find anything stressful about those sidewalks and pathways.

    Assuming the stations ever open, and Metro can get enough trains running, it is still unlikely that metro ridership will ever recover to pre-pandemic levels. Building sidewalks that no one will ever use is just the kind of project our local government will eagerly embrace.

    If the county government has a secret plan for priorities I suspect it is locked away somewhere in Mar-a-Lago. Perhaps the FBI may find it in their next raid.

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