Maintaining Pedestrian and Bicycle Access During Construction

Alexandria has a national reputation for promoting walking and biking as safe, fun, healthy, environmentally-friendly modes of travel. Maintaining the public right-of-way during construction projects is part of making our streets and sidewalks accessible to all.

Page updated on Apr 25, 2018 at 12:36 PM

As a Vision Zero city, Alexandria has committed to eliminating traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2028. Vision Zero recognizes that safe choices should also be convenient. Detours during construction that force people to deviate from their original route often increase the likelihood that people will travel in a way that increases their risk of death or serious injury.

To make walking a more convenient and safe choice, the City requires that pedestrian and bicycle access be maintained during construction without diverting pedestrians or people using bikes across streets or from their original route. These requirements call for contractors to provide protected pedestrian access adjacent to construction sites, such as a temporary sidewalk or overhead protection, rather than closing a sidewalk and directing pedestrians across the street. Specific details about these new requirements can be found in Memo to Industry 04-18 which applies to any construction activity that impacts the public right of way for longer than seven (7) calendar days. 

In general, providing direct, safe access for walking and biking may require:

  • Removal of parking to create temporary, protected sidewalks in the parking lane during construction activity impacting the sidewalk
  • Scaffolding to protect pedestrians during construction while keeping the sidewalk open
  • Changes to travel lane dimensions to narrow travel lanes during construction activity to accommodate temporary pedestrian or bicycle access
  • Temporary bike facilities such as asphalt bike trails

The Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) works with contractors to ensure that their work zones follow state and federal safety and inspection guidelines. The guidelines include the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the Virginia Work Area Protection Manual (VWAPM), and the Virginia Department of Transportation's Work Zone Pedestrian and Bicycle Guidance

Any work in the public right-of-way requires a permit from Transportation & Environmental Services and all applications must be accompanied by a maintenance of traffic (MOT) plan.

Guidelines in use at Alexandria work sites 

The examples below highlight Alexandria sites that meet our standard:


Detour with temporary bike and pedestrian path in Potomac Yard

sidewalk scaffolding

Sidewalk access preserved at Old Town construction site. 


Read more about the guidelines for T&ES work zone permitting.