Increasingly many people who live, work, visit, or travel in Old Town are doing so by bicycle. Improving safety and access in Old Town for bicyclists and reducing conflicts with pedestrians and vehicles has been a priority for the City in recent years. The Union Street Corridor Study (2013) recommended that Royal Street should be considered as an alternate route for bicyclists on Union Street -- a roadway where potential conflicts with pedestrians and vehicles is more prevalent. In 2016, the City's Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan Update identified a "neighborhood bikeway" facility for Royal Street, between Jones Point Drive and Bashford Lane, as a priority project for implementation.
Section 1 of the Royal Street Neighborhood Bikeway and Pedestrian Improvements, between Bashford Lane and Oronoco Street, was discussed as part of the Council-approved Old Town North Small Area Plan. The community engagement for planning Section 2 (from Oronoco Street to King Street) will begin in Fall 2017. Both Sections 1 and 2 are slated for resurfacing in 2018. Section 3 (King Street to Jones Point Drive) has not been funded to date, and therefore it is an inactive project.
The project goals have been identified as the following:
- Provide more visible pedestrian crossings across Royal Street at major intersections
- Create a more direct and comfortable route for bicyclists traveling to, from and through Old Town
- Reduce pedestrian, vehicle, and bicycle conflicts on Union Street and in Old Town
- Create a calmer and safer street for all roadway users -- bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers -- and residents
What is a Neighborhood Bikeway?
Primarily located in residential areas, Neighborhood Bikeways are streets designed to encourage slow vehicular traffic and to be comfortable for people bicycling and walking. As an important part of the citywide bicycle network, Neighborhood Bikeways include design elements such as shared lane markings or bike route signage.
LOW TRAFFIC NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS that have been optimized for walking and bicycling. They provide safe and attractive routes for pedestrians and bicyclists.
EXTREMELY SAFE streets with low or zero crashes, and calmer traffic.
Streets that are WELCOMING to kids and families and attractive for all levels of cyclists.
What are the characteristics of a Neighborhood Bikeway?
Neighborhood bikeways, also known as "bicycle boulevards" or "neighborhood greenways", typically have the following characteristics:
- Route Planning: Direct access to destinations
- Signs and Pavement Markings: Easy to find and to follow
- Speed Management: Slow motor vehicle speeds
- Volume Management: Low or reduced motor vehicle volumes
- Minor Street Crossings: Minimal bicyclist delay, where possible
- Major Street Crossings: Safe and convenient crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians
- Offset Crossings: Clear and safe navigation
- Green Infrastructure: Enhancing environments
- April 13, 2016 - Old Town North Small Area Plan - Advisory Group - Infrastructure and Environmental Sustainability Subcommittee
June 24, 2016 - Old Town North Small Area Plan - Mini-Charrette
- City of Alexandria Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan Update
- City of Alexandria Complete Streets Design Guidelines
- Old Town North Small Area Plan
Union Street Corridor Study
For questions and additional information, please contact staff online or by phone by calling 311 or 703.746.4311.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why is the Neighborhood Bikeway being recommended on Royal Street?
- The project is a recommendation of a number of City plans: Union Street Corridor Study; Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan; Old Town North Small Area Plan
- Royal Street functions as a parallel route to Union Street to help reduce conflicts between drivers, pedestrians and cyclists
- Royal Street provides a direct north-south connection between both ends of the Mt. Vernon Trail
- Royal Street is a safe, low-volume, low-stress street for bicyclists of most abilities
Q. Will the Neighborhood Bikeway add bike lanes?
- For most of Royal Street, the street is anticipated to have shared lanes. Any bike lanes added would not require the removal of parking spaces.
Q. Will the Neighborhood Bikeway remove stop signs along Royal Street?
- No stop signs will be removed along Royal Street as part of the Neighborhood Bikeway project.
Q. When will the Neighborhood Bikeway funded?
- Funds for improvements north of King Street have been identified in the FY 2018 budget. Funding for improvements south of King Street have not been identified.