The Town of Vienna may have unrealized, unique land-use and economic development opportunities related to the W&OD trail, the 45-mile linear, regional park that cuts through the heart of Vienna’s commercial area and connects to its Town Green. That was the conclusion of an eight-member panel of Washington-area real estate and land use professionals with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) who spent two days in September biking the W&OD trail in the rain, meeting with stakeholders, considering challenges and opportunities, and formulating recommendations to enhance the symbiotic relationship between the Town and the trail as well as land uses surrounding the Vienna section of the W&OD.
The Technical Assistance Panel, hosted by the Town in conjunction with ULI and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, presented its preliminary recommendations at the conclusion of its two-day study. Another presentation about the study and the panel’s recommendations will be made to Town Council at its October 16 meeting.
The panel found that both Northside Park and the Town Green, which are directly linked to the NOVA Parks-managed W&OD trail, may be underutilized. In the Town Green area, the panel suggested that mixed-use development could boost the area, increasing vibrancy and creating a trail “destination.”
Panel members identified parking, wayfinding signage, and land-use goal-setting as areas that should be addressed. Further, the panel recommended improvements to intersection safety, additional urban design recommendations, incorporating public art and wildlife habitats along the trail, a parking study and more coordinated approach to parking, and a “complete streets” concept for the Vienna section of the trail.
The Town applied to participate in a ULI Technical Assistance Panel to help jump start a future Town-based park master plan process for areas surrounding the portion of the trail within Vienna. All strategies put forward by the ULI panel are recommendations and would require Town action before moving forward.
The October 16 presentation to Council is open to the public. Council meetings begin at 8 p.m.
This post originally appeared here.