Thursday, September 18, 2008

Final Tyson Plan to Board of Supervisors

The Tysons Task force, on which I served for 3 1/2 years, has finalized their report and will present it to the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 22. The draft plan (PDF) is available on the County website. The plan contains many references to the need for making Tysons more bicycle-friendly:

"Pedestrian and Bicycle Network: Specific guidelines for the treatment of the pedestrian and bicycle amenities should be developed. Many of these elements (e.g., designated bike lanes and sidewalks, buffers from the automobile, etc) are addressed in the urban design guidelines section related to streets and streetscape in Chapter 8. As the grid of streets is refined, careful thought should be given to how pedestrians and bicycles are integrated into the street grid. The pedestrian and bicycle network should be more detailed closer to the transit stations, with routes separated from automobile traffic."

"In addition to an easily accessible bicycle and pedestrian network, a number of facility improvements will encourage people to walk or cycle more. A number of these improvements are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement. Some are policy-driven and others are simply providing facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists such as bicycle racks at appropriate locations and pedestrian countdown signals at specific intersections to encourage nonmotorized travel and to make it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists."

The plan will be accompanied by a second document which is an overview of the task for recommendations:

"Use 'complete streets' design principles. Complete streets will be designed to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities will safely move along and across a complete street."

"Create extensive bicycle lanes and facilities. Residents and workers will be able to travel by bicycle on dedicated on-road facilities, making use of bike racks, bike lockers and other facilities at residential, retail, and commercial areas."

Public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will be held on the plan recommendations and when those dates are announced we will post them here.

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What is to stop them from saying, "yeah, that would be nice, but we don't have the money for that now - we need the roads now" and just dropping parts of this?
The Comprehensive Plan will have to contain language that ties any re-development to specific transportation improvements, including bike lanes. Rather than using words like "should" and "could" the words "will" and "must" need to be used. While the task force has provided a final report, a great deal of work is now required to ensure that the language of the report is supported by the Plan language.

When the final Plan language comes before the Board and the Planning Commission, cyclists will need to review the documents and speak out for better bike facilities. FABB will be monitoring this work as it moves forward and we'll post info on our site when appropriate.

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