Falls Church aims to transform a central park into a more accessible pedestrian corridor
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) If your reaction to Falls Church’s Berman Park is “what is this?” you are probably not alone.
Even members of the Falls Town Church Planning Commission said they were only vaguely familiar with the linear park when presented with the details of the project. Last week, But a new plan aims to make the park a more memorable part of the city’s green infrastructure.
The park is in the center of the city and connects several commercial properties and residential areas, but it is divided by several level crossings which the city says lack adequate pedestrian facilities and signage.
In a presentation At the Planning Commission, staff said the aim of the project was to make these crossings more pedestrian-friendly by increasing visibility for all users and decreasing vehicle speeds.
“I agree with the staff’s recommendations, they seem to be the most cost-effective for this type of improvement,” Planning Commission Chairman Brent Krasner said. “Berman Park, it’s kind of like – I rode a bike there… but the first time I found out it existed I was like ‘okay, I didn’t even know that It was here.'”
At the meeting, city staff walked through each of the four intersections connecting the project and shared plans for how the streetscape could be altered. Each proposal included some level of sidewalk extension to make sidewalks more accessible on foot, and almost all projects also included new signage.
“The goal of the project is to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists who use the trail,” said staff in the project description. “The proposed trail crossings will significantly improve the trail for users passing through town and could set a precedent for further trail-wide improvements.
Preliminary engineering for the project is expected to be completed next January, with construction starting a year later in January 2023 and ending in July.
The project is funded by a $ 600,000 grant from the Road Safety Improvement Program / Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program (HSIP / BPSP) and additional local funding of 30%.