2015 VA Bike Bill Spreadsheet

Friday, January 30, 2015

Census Bureau App Tracks Bicycle Commuting Numbers

The Census Bureau recently released a web application that provides commuter mode share information (the percentage of travelers or number of trips using a particular type of transportation), including bicycle and walking commuting numbers, for each state, county, and census tract in the country. Not surprisingly, the map shows that bicycling in the Washington metro area is concentrated in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown D.C., Capitol Hill, and North Arlington. Census tracts in Fairfax County show that areas abutting major facilities such as the W&OD and Mt. Vernon Trails tend to have higher levels of bicycling than the surrounding suburban tracts.

Submitted by Steven Ward, FABB

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I-66 project meeting Thursday at VDOT NoVa offices

VDOT is holding the first Fairfax County I-66 Multimodal project meeting on Thursday, January 29 at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 1st Floor, Occoquan Room, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Please consider attending one of the I-66 meetings to learn more about the project and voice your support for bike access, or Take Action Now to insist that biking and walking be an integral part of the planned multi-modal improvements to the I-66 corridor.

Providing bicycle and pedestrian facilities along I-66 will:
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian access to transit and surrounding neighborhoods
  • Promote biking for both long distance and short local trips
  • Reduce traffic congestion along I-66 and neighboring roads 
  • Provide a great recreational asset and opportunities for physical fitness
Two other meetings are planned for next week:
  • Tuesday, February 3, at Oakton High School in Vienna from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 5, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Supporting documentation for an extension of the Custis Trail outside the Beltway, parallel to I-66

Fairfax County Trails Plan includes a Major Regional Trail along I-66. The Trails Plan is part of Fairfax County's Comprehensive Plan.

Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement and Tier 1 Record of Decision contains the following:
On page 3-6:

Steps 2 and 3: Identify Capacity Improvement Concepts and Quantify Their Ability to Carry Person-Trips.  Based on previous studies as well as input from the general public and participating agencies, a list of means for carrying person-trips in the corridor was developed.  These were identified as potential improvement concepts that represent the full range of travel modes that are likely within the I-66 corridor. Based on the inclusion of bicycle facilities in locality transportation plans, all capacity improvement concepts are assumed to include them. As previously discussed, a total of six capacity improvement concepts (with abbreviations shown in parentheses) were considered:

On page 3-9:

Additional improvements that could further improve travel choices and interconnectivity include the provision of a bicycle trail adjacent to or near I-66 and intermodal facilities that include park-and-ride and priority bus facilities that include direct connections to the I-66 travel lanes (particularly the HOV or managed lanes)

On page 3-10:

Bicycle travel is becoming an increasingly important travel mode for both commuter and recreational travel, and is included in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan – Transportation Map and the Bicycle Master Plan currently under development. The Washington and Old Dominion Trail (owned and operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority) serves much of the I-66 corridor inside the Capital Beltway and runs immediately adjacent to the highway in several locations. The trail diverts from I-66 at the Capital Beltway and runs northwest to the Towns of Vienna and Herndon. The provision of a bicycle trail that serves the I-66 corridor outside of the Beltway, which is included in the County’s transportation plan, would provide bicycle accessibility to large portions of Fairfax County and beyond.  Furthermore, this trail and/or future extensions of this trail would provide interconnectivity to other bicycle facilities planned in both Fairfax and Prince William Counties and allow for opportunities to provide crossings of I-66 with exclusive bicycle/ pedestrian bridges or underpasses.

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W&OD Trail not quite clear in Reston area

Long sections of the W&OD Trail are still snow and ice covered in the Reston area. According to NVRPA staff, the recent snowfall amount was not enough to allow them to use their snow blower. It's unfortunate because there is enough snow that it will likely cover sections of the trail for several days. NVRPA did have a crew out clearing snow at some of the intersections.

You can see from the first photo below that there's lots of ice and snow from Old Reston Ave toward the east for as far as you can see. You can also see the tire tracks of the NVRPA truck that passed through.

Looking east near Old Reston Ave 
Looking east toward Wiehle Ave
On the other hand, the trail along Wiehle Ave and the sidewalks leading into the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station were clear of snow.

Sidewalks at Wiehle station, looking west from Wiehle Ave

Wiehle Ave trail looking south

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Updated Capital Region Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Shows Growth of Biking and Biking Facilities in Area

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) has updated and posted its "Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region” on the MWCOG website. One of the plan’s key findings was that, based on information from the census bureau’s annual American Community Survey (ACS), the percentage of people who biked to work on an average day in the Washington area doubled from 0.3% to 0.6% over the first decade of the 21st century and, in Fairfax County, the commute by bike mode share went from .14% in 2000 to .3% in 2012.

The council, with help from bike coordinators from local and state departments of transportation and civilian advocates on its Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee, has identified major bicycle and pedestrian projects the region wants to complete by 2040 along with “best practices” likely to be effective in achieving those goals. The updated plan includes lots of interesting data points about bicycling in Fairfax County.

In addition to mode share (the percentage of travelers or number of trips using a particular type of transportation), the plan discusses trends in policy and safety.

For example, Fairfax County is on par with or ahead of most of its neighbors by having 1 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) bicycle planner, 1 FTE pedestrian planner, and 2 FTE trail planners. Similarly, Fairfax County’s full-time, school district-level Safe Routes to School Coordinator keeps it on par with or ahead of most of its neighbors. Fairfax County schools’ participation in Bike to School Day dropped from 35 to 32 schools between 2013 and 2014 but was still the highest in the region.

With regard to safety, the updated plan notes that bike injuries in the region have been rising sharply since 2010, driven largely by the increase in bicycling in the District of Columbia. In Fairfax in 2012, there were 9 bike crashes and 10 bike injuries per 100,000 residents. Annual average fatalities for the period of 2011 to 2013 for Fairfax included pedestrians and cyclists and at .77 per 100,000 residents were the second lowest in the region (Fairfax’s estimated 2013 population was 1,130,924). Such fatalities have been declining in Fairfax, dropping from 13 in 2010 to 8 in 2013. Of those, 4 fatalities were bicyclists in 2010 and there were 0 bicyclist fatalities in 2013.

Finally, the updated plan includes an appendix that lists and provides basic information on 336 bicycle and pedestrian projects planned for the National Capital Region and 73 projects completed since 2006. According to the council, the planned facilities, if completed, will provide 450 miles of bicycle lanes, 630 miles of shared-used paths and signed bicycle routes, and 20 major pedestrian/bicycle intersection improvement projects.

Submitted by Steven Ward, FABB.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bike Coordinator Charlie Strunk retires; Wiehle bike room named in his honor

On January 13 Charlie Strunk, the county's first and so far only bike coordinator, retired. Charlie had a long career with the county. One of his earliest projects was working on the Fairfax County Parkway construction project. He became bike coordinator in 2006 and received the FABB Award of Recognition in 2012. He also received the 2009 Transportation Achievement Award from the Transportation Advisory Commission.

Vanessa Aguayo is serving as acting bike coordinator until the position is filled. We've heard that interviews have been conducted and that a coordinator will be hired in the near future.

On Charlie's last day with the county the Board of Supervisors renamed the Wiehle-Reston East bike room in his honor and the county will place a plaque there recognizing his accomplishments.

Charlie worked hard with the developers of the station, Comstock Partners, to ensure that first-class bike parking was provided. While FABB was supportive, Charlie deserves almost all of credit for making it happen. Congratulations Charlie!

From the January 13 Board of Supervisors meeting summary:

In a joint Board Matter with the Board, Supervisor Hudgins said that she is seeking the Board’s endorsement of naming the Wiehle Reston-East Metrorail Station bicycle parking room after Charlie Strunk. He has been the County’s first Bicycle Program Manager and will be retiring from County service today.

Supervisor Hudgins referred to her written Board Matter and outlined the history of the County Bicycle Program and Mr. Strunk’s involvement with the program.

Supervisor Hudgins announced that in 2014, with the opening of the Silver Line, the Department of Transportation (DOT) also opened the Wiehle Reston-East Metrorail Station Bicycle Parking Room. It is the first secure bicycle room in the County. Mr. Strunk led not only the design efforts, but coordinated with other County departments, stakeholders, and advocacy groups to ensure all voices and concerns were heard.

The Wiehle Reston-East Bike Room currently has 300 members from all over the region, including Maryland and the District of Columbia. This bike room is a proto type for other rooms being planned at the Stringfellow Park-and-Ride Lot, the Rolling Road VRE Station, Route 1 Transit Center; as well as the Herndon and Innovation Center Metrorail Stations.

In honor of his dedication to the County and tenacity in successfully developing the bicycle program, Supervisor Hudgins moved that the Board:
  • Authorize the naming of the Wiehle Reston-East Bicycle Parking Room in honor of Charlie Strunk, the County’s first Bicycle Program ManagerBoard Summary -31- January 13, 2015 
  • Direct that a plaque/sign be placed in the room to recognize Charlie’s significant contribution to both the Bicycle Program and the County 
Chairman Bulova seconded the motion and it carried by unanimous vote.

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WABA looking for board members

WABA is seeking candidates to serve on their Board of Directors. There is currently no Fairfax County resident on the board. If you are interested, you can submit a notice of interest and explain your background in bicycling, your background in bike advocacy and outreach, your community of influence, your fundraising and development skills and background, etc. FABB is a sponsored project of WABA.

From the WABA announcement:
WABA is always looking for people with a passion to help make the Washington area a safer and more welcoming environment for people using bikes. To this end, WABA’s Board Nominating Committee is now searching for director candidates with strong leadership skills and experience in helping non-profit organizations execute strategy and development plans.

WABA enjoys a solid foundation of loyal members and a dedicated funding base. However, we have a particular interest in candidates who can help us further expand our partnerships with a broader pool of private organizations and individuals who share and will support WABA’s goal of making the Washington area the most bicycle friendly in the world. Direct experience with membership development, institutional giving, and major gifts a plus.

WABA board members are volunteers who serve two year terms and are expected to participate in regularly scheduled board meetings, provide counsel to WABA staff in their areas of expertise, and make WABA a significant part of their individual philanthropy.

Candidates who are interested in exploring whether their skills and interests align with WABA’s are invited to make an initial expression of interest by filling out the form. If you have previously filled out an expression of interest, and remain interested, please email me at mark@waba.org. While the search for director candidates is an ongoing one, the board expects to present a slate of candidates at the February 20 annual meeting.


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I-66 meeting tonight, Jan. 27, cancelled

See the VDOT media alert below regarding the I-66 meetings:


     RELEASE:    Immediate
     CONTACT:   Michelle Holland, VDOT
                            703-259-3378 (office)
                            703-586-0487 (cell)
January 27, 2015


Additional Meeting Dates This Week and Next Week

The Virginia Department of Transportation's I-66 Public Information Meeting that was scheduled for tonight, Tuesday, January 27, 2015, has been cancelled due to inclement weather.

Weather permitting, there are still two opportunities to attend an I-66 Public Information Meeting this week.  Meetings are scheduled for:
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at Battlefield High School in Haymarket from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. (with a snow date on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, if necessary)
  • Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
If you cannot attend in person, the meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, will be shown live at Transform66.org between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

There will also be two meetings next week due to yesterday's and tonight's cancellations.  The make-up dates and locations are:
  • Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Oakton High School in Vienna from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 5, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Please visit the project website at Transform66.org for more information.
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