Wednesday, October 29, 2014

News about the adoption of the Fairfax County Bike Plan

Several outlets covered the Board adoption of the bike plan:
Photo: WABA
Fairfax, hub of traffic, adopts master plan for bikes from the Washington Post: "Fairfax County is moving to make cycling a bigger part of its landscape, with a master plan that would allow for more than 1,000 miles of new cycling routes over the next 30 years. The plan, which would quadruple the mileage of existing bike paths and lanes, was unanimously approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night. It is part of the county’s effort to redefine a jurisdiction long known as a hub for traffic congestion."

Fairfax County Bike Master Plan Passes Unanimously! from WABA.  Thanks to Greg Billing, WABA's Advocacy Coordinator, for testifying in support of the bike plan at the public hearing: "Building a bike-friendly community starts with a plan and strong commitment from elected officials. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors made a important endorsement of bicycling for recreation and transportation. Chairman Sharon Bulova said, 'bicycling is not only for recreation, but for transportation' citing the full bike racks at the new County bike parking facility at the Wiehle Ave Metro Station."

Fairfax County Adopts its First Bicycle Master Plan, the Fairfax County News Release: "These new facilities will take the next 10 to 30 years to install or complete. However, many on-road lanes can be created just by reconfiguring existing road markings. In fact, almost all of the county’s existing on-road bike lanes were installed at no cost through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s annual repaving program."

Bike Lanes May Soon Get A Boost In Fairfax County from WAMU, which contains two quotes; from one of the 17 people who signed up to speak in support of the plan, and from a person who wandered into the meeting, didn't sign up to speak, and wasn't shy in saying he hadn't read the plan.
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Sharrows placed on Lawyers Road in Reston

Photo: Charlie Bobbish
Sharrows were recently placed on Lawyers Road between Twin Branches Rd and the beginning of bike lanes near Myrtle Lane. This is a stretch of narrow road with heavy traffic that many cyclists use to connect the Lawyers Rd bike lanes with Twin Branches Rd and Hunter Station Rd. Thanks to VDOT for responding to requests from cyclist, and thanks to area cyclists who took the time to contact VDOT and ask for the markings.

Sharrows, also known as Shared Lane Markings, are intended to let motorist know to expect cyclists in the road, and to guide cyclists as to where they should be riding. Here is info on use of sharrows from the national standard on traffic markings, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:
Image from the Arlington PAL campaign
The Shared Lane Marking shown in Figure 9C-9 may be used to:
  1. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist's impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
  2. Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
  3. Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
  4. Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
  5. Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.

Sharrows being installed on Lawyers Rd
Photo: Jeff Anderson
02 The Shared Lane Marking should not be placed on roadways that have a speed limit above 35 mph.


03 Shared Lane Markings shall not be used on shoulders or in designated bicycle lanes.

04 If used in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking, Shared Lane Markings should be placed so that the centers of the markings are at least 11 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

05 If used on a street without on-street parking that has an outside travel lane that is less than 14 feet wide, the centers of the Shared Lane Markings should be at least 4 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.

06 If used, the Shared Lane Marking should be placed immediately after an intersection and spaced at intervals not greater than 250 feet thereafter.


07 Section 9B.06 describes a Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign that may be used in addition to or instead of the Shared Lane Marking to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.

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VDOT wants feedback on signal at W&OD Trail and Belmont Ridge

RRFB at Belmont Ridge
Photo: Friends of the W&OD Trail
Cyclists are encouraged to take a new survey from VDOT seeking input on the traffic signal installed in April 2013 at the W&OD Trail/Belmont Ridge intersection. If you ride through that intersection and have thoughts about the effectiveness of the signal, consider taking the survey. From VDOT:
VDOT is now seeking W&OD trail user opinions on the experimental Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) system that was installed at the intersection of the W&OD Trail and Belmont Ridge Rd in April 2013. We are hoping that you would be able to assist VDOT by distributing the survey link to your club members. Survey responses will help VDOT gauge the effectiveness of the RRFB system and help decision-makers assess the prospects of installing RRFB systems at other locations in the future.

The survey is very brief (should only take a couple minutes to complete) and is open to receive responses until November 30th 2014. Survey Monkey is the host and the link is SSL encrypted:

We are looking forward to receiving feedback from FABB members!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fairfax County now has a Bicycle Master Plan - Update

See press coverage of the bike plan adoption below.

At their meeting today the Fairfax County Board of Suprvisors unanimously adopted the county's first-ever bicycle master plan. The plan is now officially incorporated into the Transportation component of the Comprehensive Plan. Thanks to the Board and the Planning Commission for their unanimous support of the plan. A special thanks to everyone who took the time to attend the final public hearings and who testified in support of the plan. Thanks also to the over 850 people who signed the FABB/WABA petitions.

The process started in 2009 with Supervisor McKay's motion for the Board to endorse the concept of a bicycle master plan. Thank you Supervisor McKay! Thanks also to county staff for their hard work on getting the plan completed and incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.

It helped greatly that the plan was supported by several groups including the Trails and Sidewalks Committee, Transportation Advisory Commission, Environmental Quality Advisory Council, Partnership for Healthier Fairfax, the Towns of Herndon and Vienna, Reston Association, WABA, and George Mason University.

As stated in the Staff Report, "The bicycle facility and policy recommendations included in this Comprehensive Plan amendment represent a shift in how bicycle planning and design will be approached in Fairfax County. Moving forward, it is assumed and expected that bicycles will be treated as valid users of the roadway and accommodated as a necessary element of all roadway improvement projects."

However, that won't happen without funding for the bicycle program that includes increased staff and a dedicated funding source as recommended in Chapter 6 of the plan. It also won't happen without cyclists speaking out in favor of inclusion of bike facilities in future road projects. Our work has really just begun:)


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Fairfax Co Parkway Trail repairs update

The latest info from VDOT about the Fairfax County Parkway Trail repairs:

Fairfax CountyParkway Trail

Direction: Rte. 286 N/B Fairfax County Parkway.
Where:  From Franklin Farm Road to West Ox Road.
When: Monday 10/27/14 thru Friday 10/31/14 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
(weather permitting)
What: Temporary Bike Trail closure.
Why: Maintenance repairs.
Contact Info: Erwin Milian: 571-237-5211
Emergency Contact: Sam Ghobadian: 571-722-5315

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Final bike plan public hearing Tuesday afternoon

bmpcoverOn Tuesday the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is holding the final public hearing on the Bicycle Master Plan. Thanks to everyone who attended the Planning Commission hearing where the plan was unanimously supported.

This is the end of a five year process of developing the county's first bike plan. The hearing on Tuesday, October 28 will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center Board Auditorium. located to the right of the main entrance. The public hearings begin at 3:30 p.m. and the bike plan hearing is ninth on the list.

It's impossible to say when the bike plan hearing will begin; the other hearings will likely take more than an hour. We will be tweeting status of the prior public hearings on the FABB twitter feed and Facebook account. The hearings are also televised on FFX Channel 16. Looking on the positive side, sitting through the hearings is always an interesting way to experience local politics.

Several of us from FABB and other organizations plan to speak. We'd like you to join us; just being in the room shows your support for the plan. As we did at the Planning Commission hearing, we'll ask supporters to stand during the FABB testimony. Some of us plan to ride to the hearing and bring our helmets into the meeting room. There is bike parking at the entrance to the building.

We hope to see you at the hearing.


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Connector Trail opens Saturday - Update

Meadowlark Park connector trail from W&OD Trail
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is owned and managed by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the same organization that owns the W&OD Trail. The two parks are within a mile of each other. They will soon be connected by a new paved trail.

On Saturday October 25th at 10:30 Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) will host a ribbon cutting for the W&OD to Meadowlark Connector Trail. They will also be dedicating an interpretive sign donated by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The connector trail is near mile marker 14.5; between Vienna and Hunter Mill Road.

Rails to Trails Conservancy is holding a ride that begins at the Connector trail. The ride begins after the ribbon-cutting and follows a 12-mile route from the Connector trail to Herndon, with a stop at Green Lizard Cycling before returning.

See detailed plans for the trail.

Update: A large crowd attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday. After the ceremony we rode the 1.25 miles to Meadowlark Gardens, including some very steep but short segments of the park perimeter trail that is now paved. We heard that additional bike parking is being installed at the park. Here are some photos from the event:

Looking from the W&OD Trail toward the new trail section and bridge

The newly paved park perimeter trail

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