Trail Feature:
Adding a Trail Connection between Brookview Road and Oakwood Road

Tax Map 81-2

 
  Article Prepared By Robert Michie
Trails and Sidewalks Committee, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 29  July 2007
Revision 1.0
 
 

Summary:

A citizen recently asked Fairfax County to consider a land acquisition or the purchase of an easement across a tract of vacant land between Brookview Drive and Oakwood Road. The objective is to allow improved public access across the property. This parcel is identified on the Department of Tax Administration web site as 5807 Oakwood Rd. (PARID: 0812030012A), Alexandria, VA 22310--owned by Oakwood Van Dorn (OVD) Associates, LLC of Bethesda, MD.

The actual location is shown in the map in Exhibit 1. This property map identifies the area of interest as 5701 Oakwood Road, or Lot 21 in Section 3 of Oakwood Road. The address provided by the citizen is part of RZ-94-L-035, as is Lot 21. OVD Associates planned to build a mixed-use development which would have featured about a million square feet of office space in this general area. Changes in the office real estate market in the mid-1990's kept the project from getting beyond the planning state. Today, Oakwood Section 3 is mostly undeveloped, with only a few small businesses and isolated residences in the area. Lot 21 is empty.

[ Map of Oakwood Road Showing Route of Existing Trail ]

Exhibit 1: Map of Subject Area

Discussion:

The red line connecting Brookview Road and Oakwood Road in Figure 1 is the approximate location of an existing footpath. Also shown by the blue line is a substantial creek bed that bisects the lot. The ad-hoc trail's popularity with the residents of the 700-home Brookland-Bush Hill community is not in question. The citizen describes "...flattened cardboard boxes, ceramic tiles, and painted logs have been placed upon the path to make it passable on foot when rains and snows that drain into the adjacent stream conspire to turn it into mud (it is a natural wetland throughout the year)."  He also speculates that a public right of way or easement across the property may already have been established by long-time unbroken use [of the citizens].

In fact, the path has its negatives. It is definitely a fair weather, daytime route. Walking time to the Metro Station fare gates is about 20 minutes for commuters on the west side of BBHCA, and about forty minutes for people on the extreme eastern side. Nevertheless, this path is popular because it takes advantage of the pedestrian tunnel on Oakwood Road, and the well-marked Van Dorn Street Trail to Eisenhower Avenue and the Van Dorn Metro Station. Exhibit 2 (below) shows the potential customer base for an improved trail.
 

Field Check  29 July 2007:

Photo 1: Oakwood Road looking West. The bicycle in the foreground marks the northern entrance to the trail shown in the map of Exhibit 1. The white patch in the background on the right side of the road is the pedestrian tunnel to the Van Dorn Street Trail and the Metro Station. [ Brookview Trail at Oakwood ]
Photo 2: Brookview-Oakwood Trail in its present state. The photo shows encroachment by lush summer growth. The boards and cardboard that are visible in the picture extend for about a hundred feet, and are intended to provide a mud-free surface  for the worst segment of the footpath. In fact, there is considerable water encroachment along this segment of the trail in wet weather. [ Brookview-Oakwood Trail, Present State ]
Photo 3: Brookview Trail at Brookview Road. there is a gully in the foreground that has to be traversed to use the trail. White-painter rocks (provided by the adjacent property owner) mark property boundaries and provide guidance in low light conditions. The trail can be seen curving off to the left. [ Brookview Trail at Brookview Road ]
Exhibit 2: This is a path map for Brookland-Bush Hill. The Brookview-Oakwood Path is marked with a "2". Most of the area within the red square boundary by "3-4" and "1" in the upper corners can benefit by improvements to the Brookview-Oakwood walking path.  [ Walking Map of BBHCA ]

Recommendation:

Local citizens - at least 500 households within the Brookland-Bush Hill community - will benefit from an improved Brookview Road-to-Oakwood Road path. The path is in a wetland area, and it is subject to development in the future by Oakwood Van Dorn Associates LLD, or its successors. Whoever develops Parcel 21 will have to contend with a substantial creek bisecting the lot. Dealing with an eight-foot wide trail should not present much of an additional problem.

 
bulletApproach OVD Associates for an agreement formalizing a trail easement in the vicinity of Lot 21. OVA expressed willingness in the early 1990's to accommodate the Brookland-Bush Hill Civic Association in this way.
bulletApply for Funding to build an improved cinder trail in the area of Lot 21. The trail will be designed for low maintenance, and to repel water encroachment. Small foot bridges are likely to be required at both the Oakwood and the Brookview trail entrances.
bulletConsider Improvements already described for the South Van Dorn Street Trail. Water encroachment is a severe cold-weather issue as trail users enter the I-495 Underpass.

 
 

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