Saturday, December 10, 2016
 

2016 FABB Year-in-Review

The past twelve months have been momentous ones for FABB. Our advocacy group reached a major landmark when it became an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit in March during one of its busiest and most productive years ever. Please consider a tax-deductible end-of-year donation to FABB to help us go even farther in 2017. For those who have already made a donation, we offer our most sincere appreciation and our assurance that your dollars go a long way.

Come Celebrate With Us. Please join us on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, to celebrate our continuing progress in making bicycling better in Fairfax County and to recognize some of our members, partners, and new found friends for their contributions to making the past year so productive. The celebration starts at 7:00 pm at the Mad Fox Brewing Company, 444 W Broad St in Falls Church. There will be finger food and a cash bar.

The following is a summary of major FABB- and bike-related milestones during the past year.

New Board and Name. The newly established FABB Board of Directors began its work in January and has been very active all year. Board officers are Jeffrey Anderson, President; Sonya Breehey, Vice President; Steve Ward, Secretary; Howard Albers, Treasurer; and At-Large Members Bruce Wright, Alan Young, and Douglas Stewart. FABB also made a change to its name, becoming the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling to better reflect our goal of strengthening our advocacy by working more closely with other bicycling and related groups.  

Local Outreach. To engage more Fairfax cyclists and bicycling supporters, FABB began rotating its monthly meetings between its usual Vienna venue and all of the county’s districts. These meetings’ successfully focused on local projects, pressing needs and advocacy opportunities. Many of our discussions in the districts, such as those in Braddock, Lee, and Dranesville, were complemented by presentations and discussion by the districts’ supervisors or members of their staff.

Alliances. FABB has worked hard to join with like-minded organizations to promote better bicycling throughout the Greater Washington region. We believe our voices are more powerful when we collaborate with others. FABB continues to work with WABA, our former sponsor, and long-time ally Reston Bicycle Club. We started cooperating with a wide range of other groups, including the Potomac Pedalers, Active Prince William, Sports Backers of Richmond, People for Bikes, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE), the recently formed Capital Trails Coalition, and local bike shops, particularly The Bike Lane. FABB continues to work closely with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation Bicycle Program, and this year teamed up for a benefit event with the county, Celebrate Fairfax, Visit Fairfax, and the Workhouse Arts Center. FABB also is engaged with the Fairfax County Police Department on enforcement and education efforts.

National Bike Summit. In early March FABB members attended this three-day League of American Bicyclists event in Washington, DC. They attended advocacy workshops and networked with other Virginia advocates (BikeWalk RVA, Virginia Bicycling Federation, BikeArlington, etc.) and other groups from around the country.

Capital Bikeshare. FABB has been active in advocating for and then promoting the arrival of Capital Bikeshare to Fairfax County. The Bikeshare system, which launched in late October, allows a person to check out a bike and ride short to moderate distances from station to station. Twenty-nine Bikeshare stations have been installed in Tysons and Reston. Plans are now underway to expand the network to Falls Church.

Capital Bikeshare ribbon cutting.
Events. FABB participated in so many events in 2016 that we cannot do justice to them in this annual review. Instead, we encourage you to check out the FABB blog for details. Here, however, are some of the highlights. During April and May we were out in force to support Bike to Work Day pit stops, help WABA with New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat, and represent bicycling at Fairfax County’s SpringFest. In July FABB supported the “Bike for Your Right” Richmond to DC Ride to demonstrate our area’s strong support for bicycling in the Commonwealth. We worked with the Potomac Pedalers and Active Prince William to promote bicycling at Fairfax County’s first Brewfest, a celebration of regional craft breweries, at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton in August. During the fall, FABB conducted a social ride to introduce area riders to Meadowlark Gardens Botanical Park and NoVi (Northern Vienna) Trail network. We also promoted the People for Bikes Draft Meetup networking event.
Our fantastic FABB Clips volunteers.

Clips. Our most important event and major fundraiser was the New Belgium Brewing Company’s Clips Beer and Film Tour, which FABB volunteers and The Bike Lane helped bring back to Reston Town Center in September. Crowds of visitors got to try some of New Belgium’s more exotic beers while enjoying short films celebrating the brewery’s twenty-fifth anniversary.


Kidical Mass ride. 
Youth Programs. FABB continues to support programs that encourage bicycling among children and was pleased to see the continued growth of events such as Bike to School Day in May. In 2016 nearly 70 Fairfax County elementary and middle schools participated in the event. Fairfax County Public Schools encouraged increased ridership by handing out backpack tags to participants at the elementary schools and cinch sacks at the middle schools. Fairfax County Police Department bike patrol officers led three bike trains to WolfTrap Elementary in Hunter Mill District while other officers assisted at Hunter Woods and Sunrise Valley Elementary Schools in Reston. At Dogwood Elementary, riders received assistance from the Reston Bike Club with minor maintenance and helmet fit.

Later in May students at Vienna area elementary schools participated in the annual Walk Bike Challenge Week and clocked a combined 6,473 trips to school by foot, bike, skateboard and scooter. Of those trips, 1,250 were by bicycle. This was the 4th year in a row students have exceeded 5,000 trips, and the second time they’ve topped 6,000.

Public hearing.
Infrastructure Projects and Hearings. FABB continued to lead efforts to ensure that new transportation projects include bicycling facilities. In 2016 our members and other supporters came through big time in attending public meetings and sending comments to VDOT and public officials. The number of local projects and proposals FABB covered this year was extensive.

The I-66 Outside the Beltway improvements program now includes a corridor-wide bikeway and pedestrian plan that, according to VDOT, was developed because of substantial public interest. Grade-separated ramp crossings for the Route 7 bridge over the Dulles Toll Road are now under construction.

Fairfax County added more than 15 miles of new and upgraded bicycle lanes through the summer repaving program in Braddock, Mason, Mt. Vernon, and Lee Districts. Hearings and planning this year included bike lanes in Annandale, Braddock Road, Hunter Mill, and Little River Turnpike, improved bike access to the Vienna Metrorail Station, a bridge on the W&OD Trail over Wiehle Avenue in Reston, W&OD Trail lighting in Herndon, and facilities for the Embark Richmond Highway project. In addition, two parallel trails on each side of the highway are part of the plans for the Route 7 Widening project from Reston to Tysons. Attention is now being turned to improving bicycling infrastructure along the Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways.

SafeTrack. FABB has promoted bicycle commuting in response to public transportation disruptions caused by Metro's SafeTrack repair program, which started in early June and will continue into early 2017. There was an observable increase in biking as commuters took their bikes to avoid SafeTrack delays.

Vienna Named Bicycle Friendly Community. The Town of Vienna was designated a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Bronze, the lowest of five levels of bike friendliness, indicates that important steps are being taken by the community in the five areas of Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation. Along with Reston, Vienna has become the second bicycle friendly community in Fairfax.

Bike/Pedestrian Staff. Nicole Wynands and Lauren Delmare joined the county’s bicycle and pedestrian programs this year. As of this writing Fairfax County is trying to hire a Pedestrian & Bicycle Program Manager to oversee the bicycle program managed by Adam Lind and pedestrian program managed by Chris Wells.

New Bike-Related Law in 2016. In July Virginia joined Maryland and the District in having a law that helps protect cyclists from “dooring.” The dooring law requires drivers to wait for a reasonable opportunity to open vehicle doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic. A violation constitutes a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $50.

FABB Board President Honored. Jeff Anderson was honored this year by Volunteer Fairfax as the Hunter Mill District Community Champion for leading FABB's Safe Routes to School work, which encourages more kids to bike and walk to school.

Finally, thanks to all of our FABB members and supporters who helped make 2016 so productive. As an all-volunteer organization, FABB relies on supporters like you to donate their time to improve bicycling in our neighborhoods and around the County. Please visit our volunteer webpage to learn about specific opportunities and get in touch with us. We’ll find the right fit for you.

Warmest wishes for everyone to have a safe, happy, and prosperous 2017.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
 

Lowering Highway Fatalities - VDOT Safety Plan Includes Bikes and Pedestrians

FABB members Kelley Westenhoff and Alan Young provided the following report on the Virginia Strategic Highway Safety Plan Regional Safety Roadshow on December 1, 2016. The big news is that bicycles and pedestrians are now part of the areas of emphasis in the safety plan, although VDOT officials admitted that these areas suffer from underreporting and data gaps. 


The Roadshow seeks to inform the public and solicit citizen feedback on the Safety Plan, which is to be presented to the legislature next year. This new 5-year plan is Virginia's answer to the national Vision Zero movement. The plan's goal is to reduce fatalities and the fatality rate by 2% per year and serious injuries and the serious injury rate by 5% per year. 

Current Safety Plan
The VDOT effort is encouraging, but the plan is complicated with hundreds of actions to be completed in the six primary areas of emphasis (speeding, young drivers, occupant protection, alcohol-related incidents, roadway departure, and intersections) and the bicycling and pedestrian areas. On the plus side, there are two dedicated pots of money for highway safety. The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds infrastructure projects while the Highway Safety Plan funds programs and activities that affect behavior (for example, Click It or Ticket, education programs, and PSA campaigns).

The plan is based on data collected by VDOT on fatal and severe injury crashes, which the department then used to create heat maps showing where and what kinds of crashes have occurred. The data is further analyzed to determine work priorities for reaching safety goals. 

The data for the Northern Virginia region for 2010-2015 shows that from a total of 6,572 crashes there were 235 bicycle crashes and 747 pedestrian crashes. Intersections are a major problem, if not the major problem, in our region for all traffic, including bicycles and pedestrians. Young, aging, distracted and impaired drivers are the next most significant problem areas for crashes.

VDOT officials stated that while bicycle and pedestrian incidents are a small percentage of overall crashes, VDOT broke them out as a separate category to make them more visible and to emphasize the importance of studying improvements for ped/bike infrastructure and safety. In the Bicycle Emphasis Area recommendations to identify where to apply bicycle safety countermeasures, enforcement, and bicyclist and motorist education have been developed. VDOT officials recognize that better data on bicycling is needed and said an effort is underway to use information available in emergency response data to fill this gap. 

VDOT is looking for volunteers to serve on statewide and regional safety committees. If you would like to participate and help insure that Virginia increases the attention given to bicycle and pedestrian safety, please contact FABB. We can help with matching your interests with VDOT’s needs and with support for your participation. You can make a big difference!


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Monday, December 5, 2016
 

Jingle Bell Family Ride on Saturday at 11am

Kidical Mass Reston is holding another fun family ride on Saturday. The unique aspect of this ride is that adults will have the option of using one of the new Capital Bikeshare bikes for the ride to the nearby Reston Town Center on a first come, first served basis. From the Jingle Bell Family Ride Facebook event page:
Saturday December 10 from 11 a.m. to Noon
Reston YMCA, 12196 Sunset Hills Rd

Get in the holiday spirit and join us for some festive family fun!

Wear your warmest Christmas attire and listen to sounds of the season as we ride along the W&OD to the Reston Town Center Christmas tree.

Hot chocolate and treats to follow the ride.

Children need to bring their own bikes but there will be a few bikeshare bikes available for adults on a first come, first serve basis. Free 24h bikeshare memberships will be provided.

Ride at your own risk. Participants under the age of 15 are legally required to wear a helmet.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016
 

Public Hearings on Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project

On Monday and Wednesday the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will host hearings to allow the public to review and provide comments on the preliminary design plans and Environmental Assessment for the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening Project. The project involves adding an eastbound travel lane on I-66 from just east of the Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) to Fairfax Drive/Glebe Road (Exit 71).

The hearings will be held as follows: 

Monday, December 5, 2016
Washington-Lee High School Cafeteria
1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22201

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School Cafetorium
7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043

All hearing times are from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m., with a brief presentation beginning at 7 p.m.


If unable to attend, you can review project information and leave comments at www.Transform66.org.


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Wednesday, November 30, 2016
 

FHWA's Dan Goodman Receives 2016 Professional of the Year Honor

Dan Goodman
Dan Goodman was one of the principal authors of Fairfax County's Bicycle Master Plan.  During development of the plan Dan put in long hours holding advisory group meetings, conducting many, many public meetings, and working closely with FABB to gather info for developing out Bicycle Master Plan. At that time Dan worked for Toole Design Group.

We were pleased to see that in September Dan was honored by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) as 2017 Professional of the Year for his work in his current position as Transportation Specialist in the FHWA's Office of Human Environment. Congratulations Dan!

From FHWA:
HEPH's Goodman Receives Professional Award

Dan Goodman, Transportation Specialist in the Office of Human Environment (HEPH) received the Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals (APBP) 2016 Professional of the Year – Public Sector Award, during the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place Conference held in Vancouver, Canada in September.

FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau noted in the Fast Lane blog that Goodman “served a pivotal role in updating key policies and developing critical guidance for walking and bicycling in the U.S, and led the development of several key documents, including the FHWA Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, the Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures, Achieving Multimodal Networks: Applying Design Flexibility and Reducing Conflicts and Incorporating On-Road Bicycle Networks into Resurfacing Projects.”

“He contributed to critical changes to public policy related to walking and bicycling, including a revision of the federal controlling design criteria to allow greater design flexibility,” said Nadeau. “This kind of flexibility will make it easier for communities to construct bike lanes and road reconfigurations (also known as ‘road diets’) for years to come.”
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Dec. 2 Deadline for Comments on Hunter Mill Bike Lanes

On November 14 Adam Lind, the county bike coordinator, gave a presentation on a proposal to modify the lane striping on roads in Reston that will be repaved in 2017. The county is accepting comments on the proposal until December 2. We support the county's efforts to make Reston a better place to bike, especially the proposal for a road diet on Colts Neck Road where at least two people have been killed trying to cross the road. One option is to reduce the travel lanes from 4 to 2 with bike lanes, making the road safer for everyone.

From the project page 2017 Proposed Hunter Mill Bike Lanes: "The proposed improvements are limited to changes that can be made with roadway striping as part of the repaving process." The following roads are impacted:
  • Glade Drive: Glade Bank Way to Twin Branches Road
  • Twin Branches Road: Lawyers Road to South Lakes Drive
  • Colts Neck Road: Reston Parkway to Sunrise Valley Drive
  • North Shore Drive: Ring Road to Oak Spring Way
The presentation from the Nov. 14 meeting is online.

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Wiehle Station Bike Room Closed Dec. 5-9

Due to construction in front of the bike room and the free parking area at the Wiehe-Reston East Metro station, those bike parking areas will be closed next week, Dec. 5-9. Temporary bike parking will be provided on the plaza, and bike valet will also be available. See the announcement below from the county bike coordinator:
This is a notice that the bike room WILL BE CLOSED FROM DECEMBER 5TH-DECEMBER 9TH.

Sidewalk construction will be underway in front of both the free bike parking room and the bike parking member area. Please remove your bikes and anything else you need prior to Monday morning as there will be no access for multiple days once construction starts.

FCDOT will be providing parking options on the plaza level of the metro station next to the Bikeshare Station. Please do not park your bike anywhere else on site as the lock will be cut and it will be put into storage on G2 level (you can reclaim your bike at no cost if this happens and we will provide more info before the end of the week on who to contact).

We are also in the process of hiring Two Wheel Valet to provide valet bicycle parking from 7am-9pm each day of the week that the bike room is closed. This will provide people on site to watch over your bicycles from the hours of 7am-9pm. More details to come.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly and we apologize for this inconvenience.

Thank you,

Adam Lind
Bicycle Program Coordinator
Fairfax County Department of Transportation
T: 703-877-5783 TTY: 711 F: 703-877-5949
An issue that will surface during this closure is the number of bike that have been left in the free bike parking area for many, many months. We occasionally mark bikes in that area to determine which bikes are left for extended periods of time, and we estimate that as many as half of the spaces are taken up by those bikes, leaving much less parking for commuters who need to use the parking on a regular basis. There is always the option to pay for access to the secure bike room ($75/year), but the county needs to address the issue of bike storage in the free parking area.

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