Monday, February 27, 2017
 

Pedestrian Killed in Reston

TSAs along Reston Parkway
According to the police report, a woman trying to cross Reston Parkway at South Lakes Drive was killed by a person driving a car on Thursday, Feb. 23 around 6:20 p.m. The speed limit on Reston Parkway in this very residential area is 45 mph.

According to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, 2013 Edition Area III Reston, Amended through 10-20-2015, Reston Parkway should have a speed limit of 30-35 mph in the Transit Station Area (TSA). As you can see from the map, one of the TSAs along Reston Parkway extends to South Lakes Drive.

As noted in the Post article in today's paper, As traffic deaths soar, cities pursue lower speed limits to eliminate fatalities, speed kills. In order to achieve a vision of zero traffic deaths, motorists need to slow down. Unlike several other jurisdictions in the area, Fairfax County has yet to take the Vision Zero pledge. We hope they soon will.

Speed kills
We plan to ask Supervisor Hudgins when the speed limit on Reston Parkway will be lowered to comply with the Comprehensive Plan for that area.

From the above-mentioned Comprehensive Plan:
The design guidelines for street types should be followed when providing new private or public roadway connections or when proposing improvements to the existing roadway network in Reston.

Reston Parkway is an example of a Minor Arterial-Type A in Reston, primarily carrying the longer-distance through traffic from adjacent areas such as the Town of Herndon and Loudoun County.

Curb to Curb Area:
  • Median width of approximately 8 to 22 feet (may be wider for areas with frequent and/or heavy pedestrian crossings)
  • 2-3 travel lanes per direction (11 feet for each lane)
  • 5-6 foot on-road bike lane per direction, if found desirable
    • If an on-road bike lane cannot be provided, and biking is anticipated to occur on the road, then one extra wide travel lane per direction may be desirable, adjacent to the curb, to accommodate bikes (14 feet)
    • If bike facilities are not desirable within the curb to curb area due to the nature of the road, then they should be accommodated on a shared-use path adjacent to the road
  • A target posted speed of 30-35 miles per hour within the TSAs is desirable for Reston Parkway.
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Sunday, February 26, 2017
 

Fairfax County Budget Meetings Scheduled

Overgrown Braddock Rd trail
Fairfax County is holding town hall meetings to allow citizens to learn about the proposed budget and a chance to tell your county representatives about your priorities. See the schedule below and on the county town hall meetings page.

According to the County Executive Summary of the FY 2018 Advertised Budget Plan: "Significant capital investment requirements continue to be deferred, such as County and Parks infrastructure replacement and upgrades, revitalization maintenance, and trails and sidewalks."

We encourage cyclists to attend one of these meetings and tell county reps that our trails are in very poor condition and we shouldn't ignore needed maintenance any longer. If you can't attend a meeting consider writing to your County Supervisor and Chairman Bulova, everyone's Supervisor.

Here are the remaining town hall meeting dates:

Town Hall Meeting

Location

Date

Hunter Mill District Community Meeting Frying Pan Park, Visitors Center - 2739 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA 20171 Saturday, March 4 - 9:00 am
Providence Community Budget Meeting Providence Community Center - 3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031 - First Floor Multi-Purpose Rooms Wednesday, March 8 - 7:00 pm
Sully District Budget Town Hall Meeting Rocky Run Middle School - 4400 Stringfellow Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151 Wednesday, March 8 - 7:00 pm
Mason District Budget Town Hall Meeting Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA  22003 - Main Community RoomMason Thursday, March 9 - 7:00 pm
McLean Budget Public Meeting McLean Community Center - 1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, VA 22101 Thursday, March 16 - 7:30 pm
Springfield District Budget Town Hall Meeting West Springfield Government Center - 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield - Community Room Monday, March 20 - 7:00 pm
Lee District Budget Town Hall Meeting Franconia Governmental Center - 6121 Franconia  Road, Alexandria, VA  22310 Wednesday, March 22 - 7:00 pm
Braddock District Budget Town Hall Meeting Robinson Secondary School - Recital Hall - 5035 Sideburn Road, Fairfax, VA 22032 Monday, March 27 - 7:30 pm

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Public Hearing on Reston Transportation Funding

At their meeting on Tuesday, February 28 the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on funding of transportation projects in Reston. Most of the road projects include facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians. Funding is also being sought to help create a grid of streets through the commercial areas around the Dulles Toll Road, including the Metro station areas, that will provide better on-road alternatives for bicyclists.

FABB is not taking a position on the funding source or the worthiness of the various projects, several of which include widening already wide roads. However, if the projects are built, they must contain safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The public hearing will be held at the Board Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, sometime after 4:30 p.m.

One of the major projects is the Soapstone Connector, an extension of Soapstone Dr north across the Toll Road to Sunset Hills Road. This would also extend the bike lanes along Soapstone Dr to provide better access across the Toll Road and to the Reston Town Center and Wiehle Metro stations. There is some opposition to the bike lanes on the bridge.

Soapstone Connector sections
Cyclists are encouraged to attend the public hearing to testify in support of bike facilities as part of these projects. In the past it was all too common that bike and pedestrian facilities were eliminated or reduced in order to save money (Route 28). The Board and staff have a long-term transportation vision that includes safe, connected bike facilities but they need your support. If you can't attend the hearing you can contact Supervisor Hudgins to tell her you support bike facilities as part of these projects.

List of the Reston road projects:
  • Dulles Toll Road Crossing at Soapstone Overpass – Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road 
  • Dulles Toll Road Town Center Parkway Underpass – Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road 
  • Fox Mill Road Widening – Reston Parkway to Monroe Street
  • Monroe Street Widening – West Ox Road to Town of Herndon 
  • Pinecrest Road Extension – South Lakes Drive to Sunrise Valley Drive 
  • Reston Parkway Widening – South Lakes Drive to Dulles Toll Road 
  • Fairfax County Parkway - Dulles Toll Road to West Ox Road Widening 
  • Fairfax County Parkway at Sunrise Valley Drive (Interchange) 
  • South Lakes Drive Overpass–SunriseValleyDrive to Sunset Hills Road 
  • West Ox Road Widening – Lawyers Road to Centreville Road
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New Bikeshare Station Opens in Reston

A bike share station was recently installed at the intersection of North Shore Dr and Village Dr, across from Lake Anne Village Center in Reston. Along with the nearby station at the entrance to Crescent Apartments, there are now two bikeshare stations in the Lake Anne area and a total of 12 stations in Reston. Fifteen stations are planned for Reston.

Capital Bikeshare publishes a map of all Metro DC bikeshare stations that shows the location of each station along with an icon indicating the number of bikes available. See the Fairfax County page Bikeshare Launches in Reston and Tysons; Here’s How it Works for more info about the system.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
 

Bike-related Bills Update 22 February

Below is an update based on the latest Virginia Bicycling Federation's reports on bills that could affect bicyclists in the 2017 Va legislative session. Bills that have failed indicated by strikethrough.

SB 860 Use of handheld personal communications devices while driving; penalty. Would prohibit usage of handheld personal communication devices while driving. Filed by Sen. Surovell. Update 19 Jan - Failed by a vote of 7-6 along party lines, with Republicans all voting against.

SB 1207 Electric personal delivery devices. Allows for the operation of electric personal delivery devices on the sidewalks and shared-use paths and across roadways on crosswalks in the Commonwealth unless otherwise prohibited by a locality. The bill directs that such devices shall not be considered vehicles and are exempt from the motor carrier provisions of Title 46.2 (Motor Vehicles). Filed by Sen. DeSteph. Update 26 Jan - Passed Senate Transportation Subcommittee 12-0. Update 22 Feb - Passed both Home and Senate. Awaiting signature by Governor who made a suggested change that was sent back to the Senate.

SB 1223 Riding bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, etc., while intoxicated; penalty, making it a Class 2 Misdemeanor to ride a bicycle, SegWay, moped, or electric power assisted bicycle on a highway while intoxicated. Filed by Sen. Baker. Update 19 Jan - An additional bill being watched by VBF. Update 25 Jan - Failed by a vote of 7-6 along party lines, with Republicans all voting against.

SB 1338 Bicycle lane; penalty for driver to pass another vehicle using lane. Filed by Sen. Surovell. Bill number added. Update 25 Jan - Amended bill passes Senate Transportation Subcommittee 8-5. Update 22 Feb - Passed by full Senate 22-18. Failed to pass House Transportation Subcommittee 3-4.

SB 1339 Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user. Filed by Sen. Surovell. Update 25 Jan - Heavily amended (reduced penalties) bill passes Senate Transportation Subcommittee 9-4. Update 22 Feb - Passed Senate 21-19. Failed to pass House Criminal Law Subcommittee by voice vote.

HB 1504 Issuance of a driver's license or learner's permit; minimum standards for vision tests; and HB 1514 Health care practitioners; reporting disabilities of drivers. Two bills attempting to get drivers with poor vision off the road that was filed at the request of Dr. Ed Wortham, an ophthalmologist and the father of Carrie Wortham, who was killed in September 2015 by a driver with poor vision who drove into her as she was cycling on Rt. 33. Filed by Del. Fowler. Update 25 Jan - HB 1504 Amended bill passes House Transportation  Committee 6-0. HB 1514
Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (9-Y 1-N). Update 22 Feb - HB 1504 Passed Senate 40-0, signed by Governor. HB 1514 Passed House 95-0, passed Senate 37-3.

HB1633 Careless driving; cause of injury to vulnerable road user. which creates a lower criminality threshold and higher penalties for drivers who injure pedestrians and cyclists. Filed by Del. Rip Sullivan and co-sponsored by Del. Jim LeMunyon. Update 22 Feb - Failed to pass House Criminal Law Subcommittee by voice vote.

HB 1834 Distracted driving; penalty. Adds a “Distracted Driving” offense to the section of the Code that prohibits Reckless Driving (46.2-868).  This will add a lesser infraction to the code for infractions that are not as severe as to warrant “Reckless Driving” which has traditionally been considered a very severe charge in this state. Filed by Del. Anderson. Update 25 Jan - Being re-written. Update 22 Feb - Passed Criminal Law Subcommittee 11-0, Failed to pass Courts of Justice Committee 9-10 (apparently someone switched their vote from Y to N when the bill moved from the subcommittee to the committee).

HB 2016 Electric personal delivery devices; operation on sidewalks and shared-use paths. This bill anticipates having wheeled drones delivering merchandise in the future. Filed by Del. Villanueva. Update 22 Feb - Passed House 97-0, passed Senate 40-0. Amended in Senate.

HB 2023 Highway maintenance payments; bicycle lanes. The bill to not reduce highway maintenance payments to municipalities that have implemented road diets. Filed by Del. Villanueva. Update 19 Jan - Reported out of Transportation Committee 22-0. Update 22 Feb - Passed House 97-0, passed Senate 40-0.



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Innovative 3-Foot Passing Enforcement

Enforcing Virginia's three-foot passing law can be difficult. When cyclists complain to police about problems like motorists passing them too closely, the usual response is that there's nothing they can do. Unless an officer sees the infraction, the only evidence is usually the cyclists' word versus the motorists'. Having video footage can help but often cameras on bikes are only mounted on either the rear or front, missing potentially useful viewpoints.

Despite what many police say, even without video of the event it is possible to report the incident. See FABB's How to Report an Aggressive/Reckless Driver info.

Police in West Midlands, a county in northwest England, are using an innovative way to enforce their safe passing law. Using front and rear-facing video cameras, police ride along roads where cyclists can expect close passes, recording infractions and working with other officers to stop the offenders. Fairfax police could use this method as well:
Operation Close Pass

In September 2016, the West Midlands Police force, the UK’s second largest, launched Operation Close Pass. Initiated by officers concerned with the safety of cyclists, its purpose was to address unsafe overtakes and passing distances by motorists. Using Cycliq's Fly6 and Fly12 all-in-one bike cameras and safety lights, officers recorded drivers from an on-bike viewpoint.


Operation Close Pass was praised by cyclists and media alike and attracted a lot of attention in the national press. Afterwards, The Road Danger Reduction Forum also gave an award to the West Midlands Police for 'Give Space, Be Safe'. More importantly, there was an immediate impact on local drivers as can be read on the West Midlands Police’s own 'Behind the badge' blog. Equipped with Fly6 and Fly12, one team of officers rode around traffic hot-spots and informed their close-by patrol car colleagues by radio of any infractions. Offending drivers were pulled over and offered the option of formal proceedings; namely a fine or, dependent on the severity of the offense, a road-side education on the vulnerability of cyclists and road rules.

West Midlands Police PC Chris Brock said, "The Cycliq cameras we have been using are invaluable in capturing the evidence necessary to make #Opclosepass such a success. The high definition images from the front and rear cameras enabled us to record a continuous stream of footage to evidence the offences disclosed. The associated Cycliq App allows us to show offenders their misdemeanors on the spot, making it very difficult for drivers to dispute them. Due to the footage captured during numerous Police operations in the West Midlands, Cycliq's on-board bike cameras have aided in the prosecution and education of over 200 drivers to date.”

Praised by many

"Within a week cyclists were contacting us to tell us things had had not only improved, but improved considerably. There were still close passes, always will be, 'can’t get them all', but they have become a rarity rather than commonplace." says PC Chris Brock.

This change in driver's behaviour around cyclists just shows that raising awareness for safe passing distances can have a significant impact.

Intended to educate, not prosecute

Overall, the response from offenders was very positive. This campaign did not have the intent to prosecute as many drivers as possible, but rather educate them. Awareness is necessary to be able to assess the situation around cyclists and then decide on safe overtakes. Only 1% of the offenders were actually given 'Traffic Process Reports', and quite often this was due to other violations (i.e. on the phone while driving, driving without insurance, and oh, the lady putting her dog back in its cage).

More UK police forces to replicate the operation

We understand that in addition to WMP, now the Greater Manchester, Somerset & Avon, Scottish and North Wales police stations all have Cycliq products to assist them with helping to make the roads safer for everyone. In addition, more police forces are looking to introducing the close pass scheme as can be read on Cycling Weekly. In fact, the Greater Manchester Police force has just launched their own Close Pass initiative.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
 

Comments Needed on Virginia Transportation Plan

VTrans is the Virginia statewide multimodal transportation plan. The Draft 2025 Plan contains project-level recommendations. See the NoVa District recommendations. Comments are being solicited on these recommendations until March 10.

We have not had the time to delve into the recommendations in detail and would appreciate any help in reviewing the document and developing comments.

From the Assistant Secretary of Transportation:
On behalf of the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment

Dear Interested Citizen,

The movement of people and goods is important for Virginia’s vitality and competitiveness. As we plan for a pipeline of short-range improvements to 2025, we are also scenario planning for 2040. We need to understand your ideas and concerns regarding transportation planning across our state.

Every four years, the Code of Virginia directs the Commonwealth Transportation Board, with assistance from the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI), to conduct a comprehensive review of transportation needs in a Statewide Transportation Plan – VTrans. The development of VTrans2040 was initiated in spring 2014. The 2025 Virginia Multimodal Transportation Plan (VMTP) is part of the overall VTrans plan. As part of the development of the VMTP, a comprehensive statewide needs assessment was completed. The VMTP Needs Assessment includes multimodal transportation capacity and operations needs at three travel market scales and included a statewide assessment of safety needs.

The assessment led to draft 2025 Recommendations as follows:
  • Over 800 statewide needs identified in the Needs Assessment were consolidated across travel markets, 
  • The resulting 170 total consolidated needs statewide were evaluated and divided into 3 Tiers,
  • Tiering was completed by combining a data-driven “criticality assessment” of the consolidated Needs with an outreach process, in which regional and local stakeholders and the public correlated each Need with VTrans goals and both the importance and urgency of each Need to individual regions, 
  • The resulting Tiered 2025 Needs were shared with the public in the CTB Fall 2016 Public Meetings, and
  • The Tier 1 needs were compared to existing plans and programs to identify projects to meet the needs, and in some cases, new project ideas were drafted.
The Draft 2025 Recommendations for Tier 1 needs are currently being presented to all MPO and/or PDC regions in Virginia. All the materials from these meetings are available at http://www.vtrans2040.com/Pages/Recommendations.aspx.

Since this is the first time VTrans has included project-level recommendations in a Multimodal Transportation Plan, we are eager to receive feedback on the Tier 1 needs that address the VTrans Vision, Goals, Objectives and Guiding Principles (found here).

Please share your comments on the Draft 2025 recommendations using this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VMTP2025 (A link is also provided on the vtrans2040.com page).
The survey will take about ten minutes to complete.

Comments will be gathered through March 10, 2017.

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