Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fairfax Times article on proposed I-66 trail

FABB riders on the Custis Trail
A discussion of the proposed I-66 trail is the subject of the Fairfax Times article by Kali Schumitz, Proposed I-66 trail sparks debate: New artery would expand opportunities for cyclists. The trail would provide a tremendous asset for Fairfax County residents and allow a significant percentage of the county population to take short trips by walking and biking. However, it would also impact several properties adjacent to I-66.
Cyclists in the Interstate 66 corridor are hoping that the proposed highway widening project also will create an opportunity to add new bike facilities.

However, for residents in Dunn Loring and Oakton already concerned about the highway encroaching into their yards and a community school, one proposed bike trail signifies to them another 10 feet of property that they might lose.

“There is simply no physical way to fit a bike lane in the I-66 corridor, at least through Vienna. Simply adding extra travel lanes is stressful enough,” Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Dist. 34) wrote on his Ox Road South blog, expressing the concerns of his constituents. “There’s no point in reducing the right of way take for new lanes, if you’re simply going to take it for a bike path.”
Sen. Peterson opposes the multi-use trail, which he constantly refers to as a bike lane. In an op-ed article in the Reston Connection he said " Why do we have to accommodate ten lanes, plus a bike lane? We need to get I-66 right. Yes, the solution should be multi-modal, with buses and trains playing a major role." Without safe, convenient bicycle and pedestrian access to those buses and trains, the project will not be multi-modal.

We were also quoted in the article:
Bruce Wright, chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, said his organization is working with VDOT to ensure that the project includes bike facilities that were planned for in the county’s bicycle master plan and other planning documents.

For example, this includes adding bike and pedestrian facilities to bridges across I-66 that would be replaced due to the road widening. A similar effort was made when the 495 Express Lanes were being constructed.

“This is a great opportunity to provide safe, convenient bike and pedestrian access,” Wright said.

The biggest point of contention is a potential major trail that runs parallel to I-66, like the Custis Trail in Arlington County, which connects the Washington & Old Dominion Trail to the Key Bridge in Rosslyn.

Wright said the high number of both commuters and recreational users of the W&OD and the Custis Trail show that there is great demand for these types of major trails.

“What we really need are better first-class trails for everyone,” he said.

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New Bike-related laws effective July 1

Among new Virginia laws that went into effect on July 1 are two that are bicycle-related. 46.2-816 was modified to ensure that motorists don't follow a bicyclist too closely by removing a single word, "motor" before the second occurrence of the word vehicle:
 46.2-816. Following too closely. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vehicles and the traffic on, and conditions of, the highway at the time.
The second law, 46.2-804, now allows a motorist to safely pass a bicyclist by crossing the solid yellow line. The change is official recognition of common behavior by motorists:
46.2-804. Special regulations applicable on highways laned for traffic. Wherever a highway is marked with double traffic lines consisting of two immediately adjacent solid yellow lines, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of such lines, except (i) when turning left or (ii) in order to pass a pedestrian or a device moved by human power, including a bicycle, skateboard, or foot-scooter, provided such movement can be made safely;

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Board of Supervisors to review Draft Bicycle Parking Guidelines

Fairfax County bicycle program staff recently presented the draft Bicycle Parking Guidelines to the Board of Supervisors. According to the slide presentation from the Board's Transportation Committee meeting on May 19, the Board will review and comment on the guidelines and then the county "will begin the public process to have elements of the guide adopted into PFM [Public Facilities Manual] as standard."

The guidelines are split into urban and non-urban. It's difficult in a large county like Fairfax to apply a single standard. The urban guidelines are very similar to Arlington County bicycle parking standards.

FABB has been advocating for these guidelines for many years. In 2007 we met with Supervisor Smyth to ask for her support for county bike parking guidelines. Later that year she asked the Board to "direct staff to investigate and report within three months how other jurisdictions are addressing these issues and develop specific standards for the County to use as part of the land development process, and to further examine how these standards could best be introduced whether through adoption of a Board Policy, an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, or incorporation into the Public Facilities Manual." Her motion was supported unanimously. It has been a long process but we're finally getting close to having real bicycle parking standards in Fairfax.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New VDOT Hot Line report form

VDOT recently updated their Hot Line report form. It allows easier identification of a road or trail problem in an updated interface. We just used it to report a tree that is blocking the trail along Sunrise Valley Dr. That trail is part of the suggested detour for when the W&OD Trail will be closed on Sunday July 5.

A tree fell into the roadway. We assume that a VDOT crew was called to clear the road. What they neglected to do was cut the tree back far enough to also clear the trail. It's difficult to imagine how the workers could justify leaving the large tree blocking the trail. We're hoping it's cleared soon.

In our report we mentioned that it would be useful if the new form included options for reporting problems associated with bike lanes, trails and sidewalks, some of which are maintained by VDOT. This is the list of possible problems in the current form:
I need a road repaired
I need something removed from a road
I need signs or traffic devices repaired
I need new signs or traffic devices installed
I need information
I want to submit a claim
They could add "I need to report a road/trail/sidewalk repaired." and "I need something removed from a road/trail/sidewalk."

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New bike lanes on Kingstowne Village Parkway

New bike lanes will soon be striped on Kingstowne Village Parkway as part of VDOT's summer repaving schedule. Thanks to everyone who supported the project and thanks to VDOT for using this opportunity to create dedicated space for cyclists while making the road safer for everyone, at no additional cost. See our earlier coverage of meetings to discuss this project.

 From VDOT's news release:

New striping for bike lanes from Hayfield to Beulah

Image from VDOT
ALEXANDRIA—The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin paving the entire three-mile length of Kingstowne Village Parkway, from South Van Dorn Street to Beulah Street, on July 7, weather permitting.

Drivers can expect daytime lane closures 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. The work is expected to take about five weeks to complete.

During the repaving and restriping, crews will add a bicycle lane in each direction in place of one travel lane between Hayfield Road and Beulah Street. This “road diet” practice has been used successfully on several roads in northern Virginia, where in certain locations elements such as left-turn lanes and bicycle lanes can replace travel lanes to help reduce speeding, improve mobility for cyclists, and increase safety for all users.

Kingstowne Village Parkway is one of about 20 road segments receiving bicycle enhancements during this year’s surfacing and restriping. VDOT’s traffic engineers partnered with county staff to identify segments that were scheduled for paving and would be ideal for improvements such as road diets, bike lanes and sharrows. See more details.

This work is part of VDOT Northern Virginia’s $168 million paving program this year.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova


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Monday, June 29, 2015

W&OD Trail to be closed in Reston on July 5

As part of the World Police & Fire Games the W&OD Trail will be closed for an hour on Sunday, July 5 from 7-8am. The trail is being used for holding the half marathon race (the website has very little info about the race). See the press release below for more details.

The suggested alternate routes for trail users, Sunset Hills Road, Wiehle Ave, and Sunrise Valley Drive are not particularly bike-friendly. There is only a concrete sidewalk along Sunset Hills Road. Experienced cyclists will likely choose to ride in the road although traffic can be fast and drivers aggressive. The trail along Wiehle Ave is OK, and there is a poorly maintained trail along Sunrise Valley Drive. Best to either avoid the area during that time, or plan to watch the race.

From the W&OD Trail Management:
Dear W&OD Trail Users,

The W&OD Trail will be closed between Old Reston Avenue and Sunrise Valley Drive (Mile Markers 18 and 16) on Sunday, July 5th between the hours of 7 AM and 8 AM. This closure is to accommodate the World Police & Fire Games Half Marathon that is being held in Fairfax County. There will be approximately 360 participants for the half marathon and we anticipate minimal impacts during the one hour closure. Fairfax County Police and event staff will direct trail users to alternate routes (like Sunset Hills Road to Wiehle Avenue to Sunrise Valley Drive) but please plan accordingly should you be in the area on that day and time.

We encourage our trail patrons to use this chance to cheer on the athletes during these Games. The World Police & Fire Games are a spectacular international sporting event held every two years; offering 12,000 professional public safety employees from 70 countries an opportunity to showcase their athletic skills in over 60 sporting events being held here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

For more information on the World Police & Fire Games please go to on event schedules and locations.

Please feel free to contact the W&OD Trail office at (703) 729-0596 or via email at if you have further questions on the trail closure.

We appreciate your patience!

W&OD Trail Management

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Metro Building More Bike and Ride Facilities

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) recently announced that Bike & Ride facilities are coming to East Falls Church and Vienna stations. By the end of this year, riders to these two metro stations will have a more secure way to store their bikes.  Each new facility will include capacity for up to 100 bikes, docking space for oversized bikes, enclosed space out of the weather, security features, including steel mesh walls, cameras and lighting, and emergency egress door, phone and intercom. 

Photo courtesy of WMATA

The East Falls Church facility is being constructed on the edge of the Kiss and Ride lot and the Vienna facility will be located within the existing north parking garage.  For more information about these projects, visit or call 202-637-7000.

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