Monday, August 3, 2015

Clean Air Deeds Sweepstakes

Clean Air Partners is sponsoring Clean Air Deeds Sweepstakes, a contest to award DC Area residents who do their part to reduce air pollution, including riding a bike. We've heard there are still tickets available:
What do you do to protect your air quality?
  • Ride your bike to work? Take the bus?
  • Use a gas or electric grill instead of charcoal?
Tell us and you could WIN 2 TICKETS to Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire at Jiffy Lube Live on Friday, August 14th.

How it works:
  1. Tell us what you do to protect the air by August 6th.
  2. On August 7th, we'll randomly select 75 participants to receive 2 concert tickets.


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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Van Dorn Street ped bridge to be replaced

The rusted steel pedestrian bridge parallel to Van Dorn Street that passes under I-495 is being replaced. The work is planned to take two weeks, from August 24 to September 7. During that time the bridge will be closed and no detour will be provided. A shuttle bus will run from Oakwood St on the south side of I-495 to Vine St on the north side. Van Dorn Metro is located just to the north of Vine St.

Many pedestrians and bicyclists use this bridge. There are not many options for providing a detour. A shuttle bus is a poor option for cyclists and I doubt that many will use the service.  The county news release does not mention if the shuttle will have a bike rack.

Obviously cyclists can ride on Van Dorn St, a very busy commuter route, but only the most adventurous cyclists will use this option. Temporary sharrows on Van Dorn St during construction would help. Another option is the Clermont Connector located just to the east that is a ped/bike extension of Clermont Dr to Clermont Ave under the Beltway.

From the news release Aging Van Dorn Street Pedestrian Bridge to be Replaced:

Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division (MSMD), a division of Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, will replace a rusted steel pedestrian bridge located adjacent to Van Dorn Street, where it passes under I-495 in Alexandria. The construction will begin on Monday, August 24 and is anticipated to be completed within two (2) weeks.

During construction, the section of trail that connects each end of the bridge will be closed. Pedestrians and cyclists will be provided shuttle service from Oakwood Road to Vine Street. The shuttle will run between the two locations every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, for two (2) weeks. Please see the Pedestrian Transportation Plan.

During installation, one of the northbound lanes on Van Dorn St. will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. the following morning. Construction will not cause any delays as the closed lane will be opened during the rush hours from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Traffic concerns were addressed when MSMD received the permit of Transportation Management Plan from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

When the steel bridge is removed, crews will clean and paint the steel beams and piers on which the existing bridge sits. This treatment will prevent corrosion and increase the life span of the piers. The new bridge, made of fiberglass, will consist of 4 bridge spans of approximately 50 and 55-feet each for a total length of 210 feet. Fiberglass was chosen because it will not be corroded by salt used during snow events. Once the bridge is constructed, new LED lights will be installed on the bridge and located such that no glare will saturate the Van Dorn roadway.

The total cost of this project, which is funded by MSMD's infrastructure repair program, is approximately $350,000.

For questions, please contact project engineer Shaukat Faheem by phone at 703-877-2801 or by e-mail

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Munich plans bicycle highway system

Munich has significant traffic congestion and one solution city planners are contemplating is a highway system for cyclists:

Now, Munich wants to extend the thrill of the open highway to cyclists with a network of bike lanes running through the city and into the suburbs, in a bid to encourage car-free commuting.

The ambitious plan calls for a network of 14 two-way bike paths, each 13 feet wide and fully segregated from automobile traffic, that would spread out over an area of about 400 square miles. No crossroads, no traffic lights. It’s an autobahn for cyclists, or, as the Germans obviously call it, a Radschnellverbindungen.

Rush hour traffic into and out of Munich is a problem, says Birgit Kastrop, an urban planner working on the proposal. Public transportation is near capacity, so encouraging cycling is a logical way to ease the burden. “This might be a little solution for reducing this problem.”

Munich is densely populated, and whatever space you dedicate to cyclists is necessarily being taken away from other users. Right now, as in so many places, cars take up the most room. “Perhaps this has to change a little. Perhaps they have to give a little space to other means of transport.”

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

VTrans2040 Public Hearing tonight, July 29

The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment is holding a public hearing tonight, July 29, from 5-7 p.m. at VDOT Headquarters, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. This is your opportunity to find out more about how bicycling fits into Virginia's long-range statewide multimodal transportation plan, VTrans2040.

From the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment:
VTrans2040 is a vital project for clarifying Virginia’s transportation vision, goals, and objectives, and identifying the guiding principles and investments in infrastructure and services that will carry Virginia’s transportation system forward for the future. The Plan includes two major pieces – the VTrans2040 Vision and the VTrans2040 Multimodal Transportation Plan (VMTP). The Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) has been developing the VMTP, in particular the Transportation Needs Assessment. This Needs Assessment takes on added importance as a result of House Bill 2. Only projects that help address a need identified in the statewide transportation plan will be considered for funding under the statewide prioritization process.

 We need your input! The public meeting will include interactive discussions about the Regional Networks, Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) and Urban Development Areas (UDAs). OIPI and its consultant team have already been working one-on-one with 15 regions in the Commonwealth through the MPOs in each region, and the purpose of this meeting is to bring several regions together to continue the discussions and get critical input from each region, as well as share information and updates relevant to the Transportation Needs Assessment.


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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Providence Community Center bike racks

Fairfax  County has developed draft Bicycle Parking Guidelines that we hope will be approved by the Board of Supervisors in the near future. The guidelines are desperately needed. Very few retail, commercial, or multifamily developments have bike parking. Where there is parking it is usually a type that is not recommended by the new guidelines and it it often installed or placed incorrectly.

In December of last year we noticed bike parking had been installed at the new Providence Community Center. We were pleased to see 7 standard U-racks installed near the entrance to the building. So far, so good. Unfortunately they did not adhere to recommended placement guidelines; they were much too close to the edge of the concrete and one of the racks was too close to the soon-to-be-installed adjacent sidewalk handrail.

We reported the problem and Supervisor Smyth asked staff to fix it. We're pleased to report that the problem has finally been fixed (and that there were bikes parked in the racks when we took the photo below yesterday evening). Additional concrete was added to the edge so that bike wheels wouldn't be extending into the grass. Unfortunately the rack that was too close to the handrail was removed and not placed elsewhere. Thank you Supervisor Smyth for your help.

At FABB's request, it was Supervisor Smyth in 2007 who initiated the development of the bike parking guidelines. Providing adequate, properly placed bike parking should not be this difficult. Let's hope the Board adopts the new guidelines soon.

Providence Community Center bike racks - Dec 2014

Providence Community Center bike racks - July 2015

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Braddock Neighborhood News - Bicycling in Fairfax County

We were recently asked to appear on Braddock District Supervisor Cook's television show, Braddock Neighborhood News. Officer Eric Ivansic of the West Springfield District bike patrol also appeared. We discussed cyclists rights, cyclist and motorist education, the Bicycle Master Plan, and other topics.

We have met with Supervisor Cook in the past and his opinions about the importance of bicycling have evolved over the years. He supported the Bicycle Master Plan and agrees that we need to do more to make Fairfax a more bike-friendly place.

A recording of the show is posted on YouTube: Braddock Neighborhood News - Bicycling in Fairfax County:

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Support Seven Corners Plan bicycle recommendations

Fairfax County recently completed a redevelopment plan for the Seven Corners area, a densely populated area where several major roads converge. Navigating through the area is a challenge for cyclists and motorists. The plan includes extensive recommendations for improving bicycling in the area including bike lanes on Sleepy Hollow Rd/Wilson Blvd, cycletracks on Route 7, and parallel shared use paths on Route 50. See the Seven Corners staff report for details of the plan.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 4:30 P.M. in the Board Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax Virginia. Cyclists are encouraged to attend the public hearing or send an email to tell the Board that you support the plan.


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