After a blizzard of protests from City residents since last Thursday, the Falls Church City Council modified its agenda Monday to pass a motion withdrawing a so-called “Pedestrian Plan” that proposed creating bicycle lanes by removing on-street parking. The motion called for withdrawal of the plan and the elimination of any reference to a reduction in on-street parking.
The motion stated that “the plan will not include any reduction of available on-street parking.” The motion defers consideration of the plan to June 25. After a public hearing the motion passed unanimously. The Council action was in response to input from City residents at several community meetings in recent weeks. Residents expressed strong concerns with aspects of the plan, including the possible future loss of on-street parking on residential streets, such as Hillwood Ave. and Lincoln Ave., in order to accommodate bike lanes and sidewalks. Residents also expressed concern about the role of property owners in the approval process for specific projects recommended in the plan. “Our residents offered genuine concerns about the impact the plan would have on such things as parking,” said Mayor Nader Baroukh. “These issues must be addressed: Therefore, I asked the City Manager to draft a motion to withdraw the draft plan and make clear that concerns raised needed to be addressed.” “It is important that the project go back to the drawing board and be responsive to the needs and desires of our citizens,” said Vice Mayor David Snyder. The draft Pedestrian Plan contains proposed projects and policy changes designed to make walking and bicycling a safer and more viable alternative to automobile travel.