Monday, August 25, 2008

BikeWalk Virginia 2007 Bike/Ped Benchmark Study

According to the BikeWalk Virginia 2007 Bike/Ped Benchmark Study, Fairfax County has a Bicycle Plan, a Bicycle Advisory Committee, a Pedestrian Plan, and a Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The county does have a Trails Plan and a Trails Committee, but these are far from being true bicycle and pedestrian plans or bicycle and pedestrian advisory committees. The Trails Plan is a map of planned trails and bike lanes. It is called a plan, but does not contain the many aspects of a true bicycle plan.

A true bike plan should contain an assessment of current bicycling conditions. It should contain guidelines for development of bicycle facilities, including goals and objectives for on-road bike routes, bike parking, bike facilities in large residential and commercial developments. There should be an education and safety component. It should also contain a prioritized list of recommendations for future facilities, including a bike network. The only one of these contained in the county Trails Plan is the bike network, developed over 6 years ago by volunteers on the Trails Committee.

The Trails Committee consists of representatives from each supervisor district, from county government, from the horse community, from WABA, and others. While there are several bicyclists on the committee, it is not what most people consider to be a bicycle advisory committee. With the various groups represented on the committee, bicycling is only one of many often conflicting interests.

FABB is very interested in Fairfax County developing a true bicycle master plan and having a bicycle advisory committee. Our main goal this year is to encourage the county to begin the development of a comprehensive bicycle master plan. Only then will the county and VDOT be able to move forward with a well-defined road map for improving bicycle conditions in the county.

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