2.3. Ensure trails function for a range of users.
Some of Arlington’s trails are experiencing very heavy usage. The more multi-use trails are used, the greater potential there is for conflicts between different types of users — including cyclists, skateboarders, pedestrians and runners of all ages. Through education and trail design, conflicts between different types of users can be minimized.
2.3.1. Compile and clarify design standards for all types of trails.
Design standards may include width and height, lighting, landscaping, tread width, tread surface material, striping, slope, cross slope, grades, signage, turning radii, passing spot intervals, rest area intervals, signals, tree planting and preservation, maximum widths of mowed buffers adjacent to trails and road crossing treatments. Standards should look to applicable national and local design criteria for guidance.
2.3.2. Use striping on Primary Multi-Use Trails to separate traffic moving in opposite directions.
Introducing striping on primary trails enhances the safety of all users by explicitly demarcating areas for each direction of travel.
2.3.3. Ensure paved, Primary and Secondary Multi-Use Trails meet the minimum width and amenities as described in the Existing Public Space System, Trails section of this document (see page 40), and are guided by applicable standards, such as The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities and/or others.
Bringing trails up to a minimum standard width will provide users of different speeds, purpose and abilities additional travel and passing room for safer sharing of the trail. As trails are brought up to standard, the design should minimize impacts on natural resources.
2.3.4. Explore ways to safely separate modes, where space allows, on high traffic trail routes and where user conflicts commonly occur, while minimizing impact on natural resources and trees.
Separating bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the most heavily used routes will enhance the safety of all users.
2.3.5. Explore creative and efficient ways to educate users about trail etiquette.
While there are established rules about trail etiquette, users may not be aware of or remember the rules. Trails function more safely when all users understand the range of other users they may encounter and are aware of the “rules of the road.” Trail etiquette messaging should be coordinated with BikeArlington, WalkArlington, and other campaigns.
2.3.6. Continue to develop “learn to ride” areas that provide protected spaces for novice users to learn to bicycle.
Arlington has a learning loop at Glencarlyn Park that can serve as a model for this type of facility. The County should explore dedicating areas for “traffic gardens” or “bike campuses” which allow users to learn and practice bicycle riding, handling and street skills in a safe learning environment.
2.3.7. Expand trail use monitoring to track usage across all major trails by mode, and use gathered data to help guide the trail planning process.
Some Primary and Secondary Multi-Use Trails are regularly monitored to determine general trail usage. Expanded monitoring and data evaluation can shed light on how many people are using the trail system.