Improving barriers to keep cars off W & O D trail after someone drove on it

4:43 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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VIENNA, Va. (WUSA9) -- It's happened again. Someone drove their car on the Washington and Old Dominion trail.  

Last month, a woman was arrested for driving drunk for 5 miles on the trail and in another incident a Florida man claimed to be following his GPS when he turned onto the trial in Arlington. 

Now, video was posted on YouTube showing a car driving on the trail. The video appears to be from a camera attached to a bike helmet, when suddenly a small car appears on the trail. 

The car stops and the cyclist continues on but then stops and turns around to see and record the car carefully and slowly making an about face. 

W & O D trail is maintained by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.  The Executive Director believes the car entered the trail in Vienna off of Route 123 and he believes it was probably an honest mistake.   

Paul Gilbert says they can't put on gates like the one at the opening of the Crescent Trail, because maintenance vehicles have to ride on the trial and it could be dangerous to cyclists.   

"At the end of the day we want to keep bikes and car from coming in contact with each other  any way we can," said Gilbert. 

They installed new bright yellow plastic bollards in the center of the trail's openings in Vienna to warn drivers who might think it's a road. Gilbert said the trail through Vienna is the most vulnerable to these problems because of all the turns driveways and parking lots.

They have also installed roll strips to warn cyclists to slow down and stop as they approach an intersection with a road. There are 70 of those on  trail.

But he said there is really no way to stop a drunk driver from getting on, which is what happened last month. 

The W & O D stretches 45 miles from Arlington to Purcellville.
It's one of the busiest parks in the region with more than 2 million users annually.


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