Friday, September 4, 2015

Ghost Bike Memorial to Andrew Gooden

FABB placed a ghost bike near where Andrew Gooden was killed by a motorist on Monday, August 31, 2015. Andrew was a lifeguard who was riding home after work. He leaves a wife and two children. His pregnant wife is expecting another child in October.

A gofundme site is accepting donations "to raise money for his Wife and Children back in Jamaica so that they may have the opportunity to live the lives Andrew worked so hard for them to have. Any donations will be greatly appreciated and given to Andrew's wife to help pay for funeral costs, and care of his soon to be 3 children." $5,756 has been raised so far.

Sunrise Valley Drive at this location is very wide, probably much too wide for the amount of traffic it carries. I think the speed limit of 40 mph is to high for this area where many people live in multi-family units nearby. Fairfax County is considering options for making cycling safer along this stretch of Sunrise Valley Dr. Unfortunately it will be too late for Andrew.

The crash is still under investigation. We will post any new information as it is released.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Car Free Day is September 22 - Join #teambike

From Commuter Connections:

Pledge for Car Free Day and Choose Your Team!

Demonstrate Support for a Greener Commute by Choosing #teambike, #teamwalk, #teamrail, #teambus, #teampool or #teamtelework on September 22!

Washington D.C. — This year metropolitan Washington area commuters, residents, and students who pledge to go car free or car-lite on Car Free Day, Tuesday, September 22 can join the team that best fits their preferred way to travel—and qualify for drawings for great prizes. Commuter Connections invites participants to choose #teambike, #teamwalk, #teamrail, #teambus, #teampool or #teamtelework when they register at, to show how they travel, and post stories about the benefits of alternatives to driving alone on social media. Travelers trying a new mode for the first time—and those who already travel car free—can take the pledge.

Commuter Connections, the region’s commuter transportation network coordinated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, organizes the annual event in the metropolitan Washington area to encourage travelers to try a train, bus, bicycle, car or vanpool, or walk instead of driving alone. Celebrated in 1,500 cities in 40 counties, World Car Free Day is an annual event that challenges everyone who drives a car to try greener, more efficient transportation options that can be integrated into their daily lives.   

“Car Free Day is a great opportunity to get commuters who drive alone thinking about an alternate mode of commuting. And that is an important first step,” said Nicholas Ramfos, Commuter Connections Director. “Our research, the 2013 State of the Commute, shows that among commuters who started using a new alternate mode within the past three years, about one-third shifted from driving alone.”

Information on team travel options and ridematching is available at the Commuter Connections website. Site visitors can set up a free account and request a ridematch, make carpooling plans, and learn about other transportation opportunities to decrease the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road and congestion around the region.

Stay up to date on #CarFreeMetroDC on Facebook and Twitter.


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Cyclist who was killed was lifeguard from Jamaica

Photo from Andrew Gooden gofundme page
According to a comment left on the FABB blog entry about Monday's fatal car/bike crash in Herndon, the cyclist who was killed was a lifeguard on his way home from work. Andrew Gooden was from Jamaica and was married with two children. The Andrew Gooden gofundme page has been created to collect donations to help support his family. From the gofundme page:
Sadly, Andrew Gooden passed away Monday, August 31, 2015 after being struck by a car .

Andrew leaves behind his wife Denise, 2 children with a baby due to be born in October. Andrew arrived to work in the US from Jamaica in 2014 and returned again in 2015 as a lifeguard and pool manager. He was loved by his friends, coworkers and clients alike.

We are creating this webpage in order to raise money for his Wife and Children back in Jamaica so that they may have the opportunity to live the lives Andrew worked so hard for them to have. Any donations will be greatly appreciated and given to Andrew's wife to help pay for funeral costs, and care of his soon to be 3 children.

If you would like to donate with cash or check you can send it to:
Andrew Gooden c/o Community Pool Service
7668 Standish Place, Suite C,
Rockville, MD 20855.

100% of donations will be given to his wife and children.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September-October 2015 FABB Newsletter

September-October 2015 FABB News
A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

Clips Beer & Film Tour in Reston on September 10

New Belgium Brewing Company’s Clips Beer & Film Tour is a celebration of handmade films, handmade beers and community benefiting FABB. Join us at the Reston Town Center on Thursday, September 10 from 7-10 p.m. Sample some of New Belgium Brewery's more exotic beers while enjoying short films displayed on a large portable screen. Films begin at 8:30 p.m. All proceeds raised at the event go toward helping FABB make Fairfax County a better place to bike.

Everyone is encouraged to ride, walk, or take transit. The Bike Lane will provide free bike valet. Everyone must have a valid government-issued ID to purchase beer tokens. Water stations will be available so bring your water bottle. See the Reston Clips Tour Facebook page for more info.

Progress On Parallel Trail Along I-66 Outside the Beltway

VDOT is refining the design of the I-66 parallel trail to reduce the right of way impacts on residents. VDOT is also trying to reduce at-grade conflicts at ramp crossings using bridges or tunnels. We expect to see the preferred alternative for the trail in mid-September. Public meetings in Fairfax County will be held Monday, October 19, 2015 at Oakton High School
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181 and Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. The meetings go from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Please plan to attend one of these meetings to learn more about the parallel trail and the bicycle facilities planned for the rebuilt bridges crossing I-66.

Reston Bicycle Club  Donates Mobile Bike Counter to Fairfax County

Thanks to a generous donation by Reston Bicycle Club and help from Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, Fairfax County recently took possession of their first-ever automated bike counter. The mobile counter will allow Fairfax to begin to establish bicycle and pedestrian counts at locations around the county.

Counts are transmitted automatically to a central server and are accessible by the county using custom software from Eco Counter. That data can be displayed on a publicly accessible dashboard the following day, similar to Arlington's Counter Dashboard.

Eventually Fairfax County hopes to have a network of counters. The counters would be part of an annual performance tracking program that is recommended by the recently approved Bicycle Master Plan. The counts would be used "to both establish a baseline assessment of bicycle activity in Fairfax County, and to track on an annual basis the implementation and performance of the Master Plan."

Help FABB Identify Bike Rack Locations in Fairfax County

Conveniently located, good quality bike parking is an important way to encourage more people to bike. Many bike destinations either have no bike parking or the racks provided are inadequate or incorrectly installed. The county is making some progress. Bicycle Parking Guidelines were recently presented to the Board of Supervisors. The county also recently ordered 35 inverted U bike racks to be placed where needed on county property.

To improve bike parking in the county, help us locate and map existing bike racks. Rackspotter is a web-app that Arlington County is using to map bike racks. The application is now available for mapping racks in the greater DC area. The app allows you to identify the rack type, capacity, and location. You can also add a photo of the rack. As you travel around the county, why not take a minute to map bike racks that you encounter.

Provide Feedback to VDOT on Biking Conditions in Northern Virginia

VDOT is updating the Northern Virginia Regional Bikeway and Trail Network Study completed in 2004. NoVa cyclists are encouraged to participate in a survey to provide feedback to the study team on the current state of cycling in the NoVa area and future needs. FABB is part of the team that is working with VDOT to update the study.

Fairfax High and Middle School Students Can Ride Connector Buses for Free

Fairfax County is experimenting with allowing high school and middle school students to ride Fairfax Connector buses for free to get to and from school, to after school jobs, and other activities. Students must apply for a pass that is valid on Fairfax Connector buses between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. M-F. In-school outreach is being done at five target high schools. See the FABB blog for more info and a link to a video about the program. We were pleased to see a student demonstrating how to use the bus bike racks in the video.

NVRC Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Events

On August 7 and August 22, Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), Inova Trauma Center, and FCPS Safe Routes to School (SRTS), along with League Cycling Instructor Kelley, put on pedestrian and bicycling safety events at two apartment complexes on Rt. 1 in Alexandria. The communities were selected under a VA Department of Motor Vehicles Grant because they have experienced pedestrian and/or bicycle fatalities in interactions with motorists. 

FCPS SRTS put on bike rodeos, Inova distributed helmets, NVRC gave information in English and Spanish about safe use of the roads and crosswalks, and Kelley instructed about helmet use, the importance of lights, and signaling.  On the 22nd, two young mechanics from Phoenix Bikes and volunteers from VeloCity provided minor bike maintenance. The coalition of partners will host another event in Herndon on September 19. For more information or to volunteer, contact Kelley at  Spanish language skills particularly sought.

Incremental Progress Improving Multi-modal Transportation - by FABB member Paul Kent

We are seeing incremental change in multi-modal transportation. Many have seen bicycles of all different types (and condition) locked to anything vertical at entrances of Metro stations in NoVa. Bike lockers were installed at stations but they cannot be expanded easily so why not install a secure bicycle room with greater capacity?

A while back though, money was found to improve bus stops in Fairfax County. Concrete pads were installed and some shelters were also installed. Now we are seeing bicycles locked to the posts of shelters in what is a clear indication of the appeal and utility of multi-modal transportation.  All Fairfax Connector buses have dual bike racks on the front that have become so popular, bicyclists now are reluctant to use them for fear the rack will be full when the bus arrives at their stop.

Reflecting on this, while I have multiple bicycles at my disposal, a year in review finds I most often reached for my folding bicycle, which follows me on the bus and Metro to get me pretty much anywhere I want to go in the greater Washington Metropolitan Area, and back.

More and more on-road bicycle facilities are appearing. While painfully slow for some, the dots are being connected, making cycling available to an ever greater proportion of the 1 million-plus inhabitants of Fairfax County.

There is much to cheer us, even as we face a mountain of work ahead.

One step at a time.
If you don't already, please Like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter feed. If you have news about bicycling in Fairfax to share with our readers, please submit brief articles to

  • September 9, Wednesday - Vesper Trail lighting meeting, Wolftrap Elementary, 7 p.m.
  • September 10, Thursday - Clips Beer & Film Tour, Reston Town Center
  • September 16, Wednesday - FABB Monthly Meeting in Vienna at 7:30 p.m.
  • October 21, Wednesday - FABB Monthly Meeting in Vienna at 7:30 p.m.
  • October 24, Saturday - Coalition for Smarter Growth Walking Tour - Metro to Mosaic

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cyclist Killed in Herndon on Monday

Sunrise Valley Dr/Coppermine Rd
We were very sad to hear about the cyclist who was killed by a motorist while riding on Sunrise Valley Drive near Coopermine Road on Monday. This section of Sunrise Valley Dr. is in the far western part of the county, near Route 28. A number of large multi-family residences are nearby. The future Innovation Center Metro station is located just to the north. FABB was just evaluating the need for bike lanes along Sunrise Valley Dr. when we learned of this crash.

We are trying to find out more information. Fairfax Co Police released the following information, Fatal Crash in Herndon:
Detectives from the Crash Reconstruction Unit are investigating a crash involving a bicycle and an SUV that occurred on Sunrise Valley Drive near Coppermine Road, on Monday, August 31, shortly after 8 p.m. The preliminary investigation suggests that two bicycles were traveling north on Sunrise Valley Drive in the right lane. Neither rider was wearing reflective clothing, nor did they have any lights on their bicycles.

A 2014 Chevrolet Suburban (SUV), driven by a 29-year-old Fairfax man, also traveling north on Sunrise Valley Drive, approached the bicycles from behind and struck one of the riders; a 38-year-old, whose address is unknown at this time. The driver of the SUV remained on the scene. The bicyclist who was struck was transported to Reston Hospital Center and was pronounced dead later that evening. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in this crash. It is still under investigation and next of kin has not yet been located.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact Crime Solvers electronically by visiting or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637)** or by calling 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
We are questioning why there was mention of the cyclists not wearing reflective clothing. Is it a good idea to wear reflective clothing? Yes, but it's not a requirement. There was no comment about whether the motorist was texting or talking on the phone or otherwise distracted. Did the motorist have his lights on? As we find out more about the crash we'll report it here.

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Fairfax Co News Release on Tysons Bike Lanes

More bike lanes are being striped this summer than any time in the past, almost doubling the existing number of bike lanes in the county. Kudos to Fairfax DOT and VDOT for making this happen.

From Fairfax County new release Improving Roads, Bike Lanes and Sidewalks in Tysons:
Drivers, bikers and pedestrians — rejoice!

The Virginia Department of Transportation has begun major road paving within much of the Tysons area. Now through the end of September, VDOT is paving (weather permitting). The work is part of VDOT Northern Virginia’s $168 million paving program this year all across the region. Additional paving projects are expected in other parts of Tysons through the end of this year.

Bike Lanes

As part of the fresh pavement in Tysons, new bike lanes and shared lane markings will be available soon after proper striping:
  • Greensboro Drive: From International Drive to Spring Hill Road
  • Westbranch Drive: From Jones Branch Drive to Westpark Drive
  • Westpark Drive: From International Drive to Jones Branch Drive
  • Park Run Drive: From Jones Branch Drive to Westpark Drive
As part of our bicycle master plan and by mutual agreement, VDOT and the county partner to identify, design and implement bike projects as part of VDOT’s repaving program.

Westbranch Drive
Greensboro Drive
Park Run Drive

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Amtrak to allow Walk-On Bicycle Service between DC and PIttsburgh

Amtrak will soon offer Walk-On Bicycle Service on the train between Washington and Pittsburgh. This will allow cyclists to walk their bikes onto the train in DC, ride to Pittsburgh, then return to DC via the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article Amtrak ready to allow roll-on bike service between Pittsburgh, D.C. (thanks to bikes@vienna for posting this info on Facebook):
With two premier bike trails parallel to the route, enthusiasts and bicycle organizations have long pressed the railroad to add the service. Currently, bikes must be dismantled and packed in boxes and can only be loaded on and off trains at staffed stations, of which there are none between here and Washington, D.C.

 “The expansion of bike service will take place as early as next week,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods confirmed on Thursday.

Reservations will be required and the railroad will charge a $25 fee for the service, even though passengers will be responsible for rolling their bikes onto the trains, securing them, and rolling them off. Only standard-sized bikes will be permitted. The service will be available at all stations on the route, which extends from Chicago to Washington.
Kudos again to Virginia Bicycling Federation who have advocated for this service for many years. They took part in an earlier test that was key in proving that walk-on service could work.

Nine other Amtrak trains currently offer Walk-On Bicycle Service:

Number of Spots Bicycle Reservation Required Checked Service Available Bicycle Fee
Amtrak Cascades 10 per train Yes Select Stations $5
Capitol Corridor 6 per train No No --
San Joaquin 6 per train No Select Stations --
Pacific Surfliner 6 per train Yes Select Stations --
Downstate Illinois Services 4 per train Yes No $10
Blue Water (trains 364 and 365 only) 4 per train Yes No $10
Missouri River Runner 4 per train Yes No $10
(accepted at BRK, POR and BON stations only)
8 per train Yes No $5
Piedmont 6 per train Yes No --

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