Friday, June 29, 2007

Williamsburg bike lanes

We just finished riding Bike Virginia 2007 with 2,000 other cyclists who descended upon the historic Williamsburg/Yorktown area for 5 days of bike touring. It was an excellent tour, well-organized as always. This was the 20th anniversary of Bike Virginia.

Much to my surprise, Williamsburg has many miles of bike lanes; 44 miles in a relatively small three county area. Most are wide shoulders with a single white stripe creating a 3-5 foot bike lane, often with a bike lane symbol painted in the lane. If Williamsburg can do it, why can't the rest of Virginia? After a little searching on the web we came across the article Majestic town: How Williamsburg leads on wheels
According to Williamsburg planning director Reed Nester, the area has successfully “institutionalized“ bike/ped in all thinking. Developers automatically know today that every street must have a bike lane and sidewalk to get Planning and Zoning approval, and contractors consistently figure in the cost of eight feet of bike lane in every re-paving bid.
The key is to make bike planning part of the daily thinking of planners, engineers, and government officials. Fairfax County has started that process with the hiring of a bike coordinator. Now it's up to us to continue to urge them to make bicycling an integral part of our transportation network.

Update: Williamsburg has a very active bike club, the Williamsburg Area Bicyclists. They sponsor many rides and they advocate for better bike facilities in the Williamsburg area. They are featured in this VDOT Bike Planning and Design document under Grass Roots Support.

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