Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dranesville District budget meeting tonight

Dranesville District is holding their FY 2016 budget meeting on Wednesday, March 4 at Great Falls Library, 9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls from 4-7 p.m. Cyclists are encouraged to attend this meeting to speak out for funding of the bicycle program, including funding for Bike Fairfax as recommended in the Bicycle Master Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors last year. See the full list of upcoming budget meetings.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March-April 2015 FABB Newsletter

March-April 2015 FABB News
A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

I-66 Project Opportunity for Custis Trail Extension Outside the Beltway

VDOT is planning a significant construction project for the I-66 corridor outside the Beltway that includes additional lane capacity. The county Bicycle Master Plan and Trails Plan both call for a trail parallel to I-66 that would be an extension of the Custis Trail. Both plans also include bike facilities on bridges across I-66, many of which will be re-built to accommodate the additional highway lanes.

Please contact the Board of Supervisors to ask that bike accommodations be included as part of this project. See the FABB I-66 Info Page for more supporting documentation.

VDOT staff plan to attend the March 18 FABB meeting to discuss how they plan to accommodate bicyclists as part of the I-66 project. Everyone is welcome to attend and learn more about this important project. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at Braddock Hall, 9002 Burke Lake Rd, Burke, VA 22015.

Bike Bills Passed in 2015 Virginia Legislative Session

Two bike-related bills were passed in this year's Virginia legislative session. They now await signature by Governor McAuliffe. See the full recap from Virginia Bicycling Federation.

Following too closely - This bill changed a single word in existing law so that motorists are not allowed to follow too closely behind another vehicle, including a bicycle, not just another "motor" vehicle. If signed by the governor, the new law would not prevent a bicyclist from following another bicyclist closely as in a paceline.

Passing with a double yellow line - The law will allow a motorist to pass a bicyclist when there is a solid yellow line on their side of the road. The original bill was modified to apply to both a double yellow line or a single solid yellow line on the driver's side.

Several Bike Projects Proposed for 2015 Repaving Schedule

This year VDOT plans to repave a number of roads in Fairfax County. County Bike Program staff are working with VDOT to determine which roads could be modified to include new bike facilities, either through eliminating lanes (road diet) or reducing lane widths (lane diet). Public information meetings will be held on each of these projects. We'll be announcing future meeting dates on the FABB blog and Events calendar. It's important that cyclists attend the meetings and/or contact the Board of Supervisors to support these projects. Otherwise, local opposition could derail the bicycle improvements. Meetings on three projects were held in February. Write to Supervisor McKay to support the Kingstowne Village Parkway road diet, and write to Supervisor Herrity to support bike lanes on Burke Road and Shiplett Boulevard.

Speak out for Bike Program Funding in FY2016 Budget

Now that Fairfax County has a Bicycle Master Plan, funding is needed for implementation. As the county urbanizes, its transportation priorities are changing, and the funding priorities need to change as well. While new funds for a few bike projects were provided by the 2014 Transportation Bond, funds for the Bike Program have not been reinstated, and the county does not have enough staff to implement the many recommendations contained in the bike plan. Please submit budget comments or write to your Supervisor to ask for funding for the Bike Program and for Bike Fairfax. Also consider attending one of the budget town hall meetings this month.

Bike Coordinator Position Still Unfilled

On January 13, Charlie Strunk, the county's first bike coordinator, retired. The county recently re-advertised the position and will be interviewing candidates in the near future. This is a critical time to have a bike coordinator in place given the recent bike project funding and the large number of bike projects being considered as part of the summer repaving schedule.

Be a FABB Ambassador on Bike to Work Day!

Believe it or not, Bike To Work Day is only two and a half months away, on Friday May 15. FABB is seeking volunteers to staff pit stops at the 14 Fairfax locations. FABB volunteers talk to people about our efforts to improve bicycling conditions, have them sign up for our e-newsletter list, and give out FABB materials. If you'd like to help out at one of the pit stops, please contact Douglas Stewart at To learn more about Bike to Work Day and see the pit stop locations, go to

Tour de Fat is Back on May 30

Tour de Fat is a free bike party held at Yards Park located next to Nats stadium on Saturday, May 30. The all day event is sponsored by New Belgium Brewery and is full of music, fun, and games. Proceeds from beverage sales go toward funding bike advocacy in the DC area including FABB's work. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we need at least 20 volunteers. FABB volunteers are responsible for carding people who want to drink New Belgium beer. Please consider volunteering with FABB for a morning or afternoon shift at this event. All volunteers receive a t-shirt and two beverage coupons. Contact us for more info.

Fairfax Hosting 2015 World Police & Fire Games

Fairfax is hosting the World Police & Fire Games, the largest multi-sport event after the Olympics. Road and mountain bike races will be featured, including Time Trial, Sprint, Criterium, Road Race, Hill Climb (Road), and Cross Country (Mountain). While Fairfax is hosting the event, it appears that the only road races to be held in Fairfax County are the Sprint races at the Police training academy on the far western border of the county. The other races are in Prince William Forest (Time Trial and Road Race), Fairfax City (Criterium), and Mount Weather (Hill Climb). The Mountain bike events will be held at Fountainhead Park.

2014 Outstanding Crossing Guards

Virginia celebrated Crossing Guard Appreciation Day on February 11. This was also the opportunity for VDOT's Safe Routes to School program to recognize Virginia's Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of 2014. Over forty crossing guards were nominated this year with six being recognized by VDOT. Those crossing guards routinely go above and beyond what is expected and are standout members of their communities. 

Two of the six recognized were from Fairfax County: Edie Adcock, Wolftrap and Colvin Run Elementary Schools (Vienna) and Cheryl Belloli, Centreville and Union Mill Elementary Schools and Liberty Middle  School (Centreville).  FABB appreciates all the work they do to facilitate walking and biking to school on a daily basis and their help during International Walk to School Day and National Bike to School Day.  See the FABB blog for photos and more info.

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Goldman Sachs: Millennials Changing Economy, Want Non-Car Transportation Options

The Washington Post reported this past weekend on a Goldman Sachs study on Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000 and totaling 92 million Americans, and what they value, some of which suggests increasing public demand and support for biking and walking transportation options.

Goldman Sachs argues that the Millennials will change the American economy and will force companies to examine how they do business for decades to come. Of note to bicycling advocates, Goldman Sachs reported that Millennials—nearly a third of whom say they do not plan to buy a car—are gravitating toward cities, where they can use public transit, car-sharing services, Uber, taxis, bicycles, and their feet to get around. Millennials also are very fitness focused, increasing the likelihood that they will want biking and walking options that include paths and trails that access public transportation and provide longer distance commuting networks.

30% of millennials don't intend to purchase a car in the near future
vs only 15% who think that car ownership is extremely important
Image: Goldman Sachs

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Tysons bike projects announced - Learn more March 16

Fairfax County recently announced that several major roads in Tysons could soon have bike facilities as part of the summer repaving schedule. An information meeting is planned on Monday, March 16 at Westbriar Elementary School from 7-9 p.m. These are the proposed new bike facilities:
  • Greensboro Drive - Road Diet from Spring Hill Rd to Solutions Drive
  • Tyco Road - Road Diet from Route 7 to Spring Hill Rd
  • Westbranch Drive - Road Diet from Westpark Dr to Jones Branch Drive
  • Jones Branch Drive - Climbing lane from International Drive to Westpark Dr
  • Spring Hill Road - Combination of bike lanes/sharrows using lane diets.
  • Westwood Center Drive - Sharrows
Now that four Metro stations are located in Tysons, many more people will want to bike to and from the stations. It's imperative that better routes be developed leading to those stations. The proposed routes are especially important for providing safe, convenient bike access to the Spring Hill station. We've also noticed that where bike lanes are plowed in the winter, they provide access to pedestrians, many of whom are forced into the street since most sidewalks and trails are not plowed.

If you work or bike in Tysons, please consider attending this meeting to support these important projects. Check the Fairfax Bike Pages for details in the coming days.

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Marriott Cites Accessibility to Metro as Essential to Drawing Young Talent

Photo: Washington Post
Bethesda-based Marriott International, according to a recent Washington Post report, is emphasizing accessibility to Metro as a means to attract talented employees and as a primary criterion for a planned relocation of its corporate headquarters within the region. In announcing the plan, Marriott chief executive Arne M. Sorenson said the company was looking for a location that would appeal to and attract the best talent. 

Sorensen said, “I think it’s essential we be accessible to Metro… [and] our younger folks are more inclined to be Metro-accessible and more urban.” Marriott’s headquarters is currently housed in a suburban office park located near Interstate 270 and the Capital Beltway. It is about three miles from the nearest Metro stop, which could be easily covered on bike if the infrastructure were available. According to a Montgomery County official, the county will try to work with Marriott on accessibility and other amenities to keep the headquarters in Maryland.

Fairfax County's Board of Supervisors is focusing future development around transit, knowing that employees of all ages want transportation options; access to transit and the ability to walk and bike to nearby destinations. The county is slowly transforming but even some of our new mixed use centers, like Mosaic, are still not very accessible by transit or walking and biking. We need to make some major investments in transforming these places.

By Steve Ward and Bruce Wright

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Share Your Feedback on the FY 2016 Budget

The Fairfax County Executive released the FY 2016 Advertised Bicycle on February 17. While the Bike Program has funds for implementing some on- and off-road bike projects, they lack funds to implement the many program and policy recommendations contained in the Bicycle Master Plan that was adopted by the Board of Supervisors last year.

The County is asking residents to Share Your Feedback on the FY 2016 Advertised Budget. This is your chance to ask the county to allocate funds to implement the Bike Plan. Over the next month the Board of Supervisors will be reviewing submitted comments and make modifications to the budget. You can also sign up to speak at the Board budget hearings April 7-9. FABB will be testifying on April 7.

We submitted the following brief comments. You click use the Share Your Feedback form enter a version of these or your own comments into the form.
Program funding was cut by over $400,000 several years ago and that funding has not been reinstated. The Board of Supervisors adopted the Bicycle Master Plan in October 2014. Included in the plan are recommendations to strengthen the bicycle program and to allocate an annual bicycle program budget dedicated to bicycle planning and programmatic initiatives. The plan also recommends establishing Bike Fairfax. While new funds may not be available, as the county transportation priorities change, so should allocation of transportation funds. I am asking that funds be found for the county bike program and for Bike Fairfax.


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Friday, February 27, 2015

Cyclists attend Burke/Shiplett meeting - Update

Several cyclists attended the meeting last night on proposed bike lanes on Burke Road and Shiplett Boulevard. Supervisor Herrity and Planning Commission Chairman Murphy were also there.

On both roads, lanes would be narrowed to allow striping of bike lanes for long sections of the roadway. Such treatment is known as a "lane diet." Where not enough room is available for bike lanes, shared lane markings, "sharrows," would be used.

One person expressed a concern about cost and it was pointed out that since both roads will be repaved, changing the striping pattern to include bike lanes has a minimal impact, if any, on the cost of the project.

There is a lot of pent up demand for better bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the area. Several people noted that without sidewalks, people are often seen walking on Burke Road. Burke Village Center is located nearby. Others talked about the need for trail maintenance, especially snow clearing on popular trails.

In the image on the right, the red section of Burke Road will be striped with bike lanes.  The other sections will likely have sharrows. A few people were concerned that the sharrows would encourage inexperienced cyclists to ride on a dangerous road. Others wanted the sharrows to warn motorists to expect cyclists and help prevent motorist harassment of cyclists.

The red section of Shiplett will be striped with bike lanes. The blue, green, and yellow sections will have a climbing lane in one direction and various options for wide shared lanes with sharrows in the other direction. There is not enough room for standard bike lanes on both sides.

The presentation will be posted on the county bike pages in the near future.

Update: Cyclists are encouraged contact Supervisor Herrity and/or Adam Lind to show your support for these projects.

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