Friday, November 30, 2007
Rolling Road widening projectVDOT plans to widen Rolling Road between Old Keane Mill Rd and just north of the Fairfax County Parkway. The project was approved many years ago but was never built. Now that funding is available, the project is being reactivated. See the VDOT Rolling Road Project web page for additional information.
Rolling Road is an important north/south connecting route for bicyclists. It's critical that adequate on-road bike facilities be part of the project. Cyclists are encouraged to become familiar with this stretch of Rolling Road and be prepared to comment at an upcoming public hearing, possibly planned for February 2008.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Bike PowerThey do things differently in Portland, Oregon. They do things on bike that aren't done elsewhere, like moving whole households with the help of volunteer cyclists who bring their trailers and have a moving party. The group Shift to Bikes (“Putting people together for bike fun) organizes the moves, about one a month. See how it's done on the bike move video.
Monday, November 19, 2007
MCA HOT Lanes ResolutionThe McLean Citizens Association thinks there should be better bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the planned HOT lanes bridges. They passed a resolution that states that VDOT and the private contractor should build the facilities indicated on the Fairfax County Trails Plan, which includes mutli-use trails and bike lanes on several bridges. Read the Sun Gazette article about the HOT lanes resolution.
Let the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors know that now is the time to overcome that barrier by providing adequate bicycle facilities on the bridges. VDOT should follow the Trails Plan that shows on-road bike routes on four of the bridges, and dual multi-use trails on several others. Contact Chairman Connolly and other Board members
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Skinny on Using a Bicycle to Fight Global WarmingA recent story on CNN [Experts promote the global warming diet] offers a good discussion about how substituting even thirty minutes a day of walking or biking for driving can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The key is making it a part of a routine. Set yourself a goal of biking to work twice a week and keep track. One of the fears coming from some quarters is that fighting global warming requires sacrifice. Not really. Seems to me the sacrifice is continuing to drive everywhere and letting your body and mind degenerate.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Bike parkingAs I'm sure most people have noticed, there is very little secure, conveniently located bike parking in Fairfax. One reason is that Fairfax County does not have a bike parking regulation. When a new development is proposed, there are requirements for vehicle parking, for sidewalks, for open space, and many other facilities but none for bike parking. With encouragement from FABB, Fairfax County Supervisor Smyth of the Providence District will soon request that the Board ask staff to develop guidelines for bike parking as well as looking into the need for other bike facilities such as showers and lockers.
This is an important development and we're very thankful for Supervisor Smyth's support. We will need support from Fairfax cyclists when this comes before the Board. Most other local jurisdictions have bike parking requirements. Arlington Co, Alexandria, and DC all have regulations and they are referenced on the FABB website under Cyclists Resources, References. Inverted U racks are the standard. They allow two bikes to be parked side by side. The frame of the bike can be easily locked using a secure U lock. The Arlington Co site has a link to Bicycle Parking Guidelines developed by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals that shows examples of both good and bad racks.
If the county develops bike parking requirements, they will not be applied retroactively. It's up to the county and the cycling community to work with property owners to encourage them to install racks. Over the years I have approached many businesses to ask them to install racks. Most are sympathetic, and many eventually install a few racks. It's a low cost, direct approach to getting bike parking. Here are a few examples.
We recently rode to the new Woodland Park Crossing development on Sunrise Valley Dr just west of Monroe St. There was no place to park our bikes and we could find no racks in the development. We contacted the county and eventually were put in touch with the property manager. She agreed to meet with us and Charlie Strunk, the Fairfax Co bike coordinator, to discuss the type and location of bike racks. She agreed to install 8 racks (16 bikes) in the first phase and will install more if needed, especially if employees need racks and they are using the public racks.
We worked with the Reston Town Center Association to have several inverted-U type racks installed at several locations in the Town Center, and GMU recently installed 70 new inverted-U racks around campus. As we've said before, we can make a difference. The next time you can't find a rack, why not find out who is responsible for the property and ask for a rack?
* Special thanks goes to John Brunow of bikes@vienna and a founding member of FABB. When the Vienna Town Green was being planned, John suggested that several inverted U racks be placed in a prominent location on the plaza, adjacent to the W&OD Trail. Better yet, he paid for the racks and the installation. Next time you are in Vienna, check out the racks, and drop in to bikes@vienna on Church St and thank John for his generosity.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
VDOT Six Year Program public hearingsFABB attended the VDOT Six Year Program hearings held on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at the Fairfax County Government Center. We testified before the Secretary of Transportation, Pierce Homer, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board members about the need for better bicycle facilities on Virginia roads. While we commended VDOT on the new policy for using 2% of road maintenance for paving shoulders and for the on-road bike facility on Stringfellow Road, we noted several areas of concern.
Fairfax County has requested VDOT to restripe Gallows Road to create bike lanes from the Dunn Loring Metro station to Gallows Branch Rd. in Tysons. Funding has been available for several years and yet VDOT has found many reason for NOT installing the lanes, and their cost estimate for just the design for the work is much too high. We asked that VDOT “...have a more cooperative and flexible attitude when it comes to retrofitting existing roads with bike lanes.”
We mentioned the need for bike facilities on the bridges over the Beltway that will be re-built as part of the HOT lanes project. We also discussed the idea of dedicated funds for maintenance of bike facilities; trails, bike lanes, and road shoulders. See the full FABB testimony.
More than half of the speakers discussed bicycle and pedestrian issues in Northern Virginia. Among the speakers was Allen Muchnick of the Virginia Bicycling Federation who discussed the “Virginia Bicycling Federation Proposals For Effective VDOT Bicycle And Pedestrian Programs At The Statewide And District Levels” as described at the bottom of the VBF home page. Stewart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth mentioned the need for a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly Route 7 and Route 123 in Tysons. Roger Deitrich of the Sierra Club noted the need for more transit-oriented development which facilitates bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly communities.
See the VDOT News Release about the meetings. Public comments will be accepted until November 22, 2007 at Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.gov.