Wednesday, March 26, 2008
 

VDOT proposes to lower speed limit on Route 1

First the good news. VDOT has plans to lower the speed limit on Route 1, probably the most dangerous road for pedestrians and bicyclists in Fairfax County. According to this article on pedestrian improvements on Route 1, in 2007 five pedestrians were killed along the road. The biggest factor in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities is speed. Fatality rates rise rapidly as the speed of traffic increases.

VDOT is to be commended for proposing to lower the speed limit on this dangerous road. It will take more than lowering the speed however. Traffic calming measures are needed to limit speed, since the road is currently designed for higher speeds. One effective traffic calming measure is the addition of bike lanes, which are designated for Route 1 on the County Trails Plan. Bike lanes were used recently as a traffic calming measure on Old Chesterbrook Road from Westmoreland Street to Longfellow Road in McLean.

Now the bad news. VDOT forgot to tell Fairfax County about the change, and the Fairfax County Board wasn't happy. They passed a motion at their last meeting voicing their concern that VDOT should communicate better with the county on a road affecting so many residents. Now the project is on hold. While we understand the Board's concern, we strongly support VDOT's position. See our letter of support to VDOT for the speed reduction.

We urge cyclists to write to the two supervisors in whose district the road is located, Supervisor Hyland, Supervisor McKay, other members of the Board, and the VDOT District Traffic Engineer and ask them to support lower speeds on Route 1.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008
 

Cyclefest 2008

FABB plans to have a table at Cyclefest 2008, a day of bike-related events sponsored by The Bike Lane, located in Burke and in May, Reston Town Center. The event will be held at Wakefield Park on Sunday, April 6, 2008. The Fairfax County Bike Coordinator, Charlie Strunk, will also be there to discuss the county bike program and the county bike map planned for release on Bike to Work Day.

From the Cyclefest page, “Enjoy a day completely dedicated to the sport of cycling. You will be able to demo the latest Trek, Lemond, Gary Fisher mountain and road bikes. Attend seminars including yoga for cyclists, core training for the cyclist, commuting basics, adventure racing 101, road and mountain bike clinics, bike fit and maintenance sessions, bike travel trips, and much more.”
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Thursday, March 20, 2008
 

Bicycles Welcome Here

The first annual Bike to Mason Day got a good plug in The Mason Gazette article entitled Bicycles Welcome Here: Campus Culture Adapts to ‘Greener’ Mode of Transportation. We've been helping plan the event, which is scheduled for Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, 2008. As we said in the article, there is a great potential for cycling to and on the George Mason University campus. The campus Transportation Department is fully supporting the growth of bicycling to relieve the parking and traffic problems, and to help reduce the university's carbon footprint.

For cycling to grow, we need more and better bike facilities to allow students to safely get to campus on bike. Charlie Strunk, the county bike coordinator, is working toward that end, with a goal of increasing the number of bike lanes from 10 to 100 in the next 5 years.

We're optimistic that during Bike to Mason Day many GMU students, faculty, and staff will discover the benefits of biking to campus.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008
 

Road I

The League of American Bicyclists' Bike Ed program “ is a set of curricula for adults and children and the certified instructors that teach it. BikeEd classes are taught across the United States by certified League Cycling Instructors (LCI).” We think it is important that bicycle education be part of our advocacy work. One way to do that is to learn how to teach bicycle safety to others by becoming a League Cycling Instructor.

A pre-requisite for the League Cycling Instructor seminar is the Road I class. I recently took the Road I course offered by Fairfax County entitled Cycling with Confidence taught by Allen Muchnick, a League Cycling Instructor. It is a 9 hour course, about 2/3 of which is classroom instruction, the rest is on the bike. “The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual.”

While I was familiar with most of the topics covered in class, it was very useful to practice bike handling skills, both on a closed course with obstacles, and on the road in traffic. As is stressed in the class, “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” Many useful riding techniques are discussed and practiced and I recommend the course to all cyclists. For the more advanced cyclists, Allen will teach a Road II course this Fall. Email Allen for more information or visit the Fairfax County adult ed site to register for a class.
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Friday, March 14, 2008
 

Subtle bike safety message

Found on the Wash Cycle, Do the Test. It may not seem related to bike safety but watch until the end; it's subtle and funny.
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Final Tysons plan being developed

Many people attended the public workshops held to discuss the future of the Tysons Corner area on Feb. 27 & 28. As was noted in an earlier post, most participants said they want to be able to ride bicycles into and throughout Tysons. Without parking for motor vehicles at any of the four planned Metro stations, bicycle access and parking is critical to making Tysons successful in the future.

The Tysons Task Force is now finalizing plans for Tysons. The consultants PB Placemaking and Cambridge Systematics are developing a final preferred alternative that includes a proposed street network. According to the consultants, that street network should: “Include street cross section recommendations that address separated bike and pedestrian lanes. Include a circulation and street design element in the urban design guidelines based on best practices.”

It is critical at this stage of the process that a bicycle circulation network be developed to ensure that the design of the street network allows cyclists to reach Tysons from surrounding neighborhoods and move throughout Tysons safely.

The next chance for public participation will be the public hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. We will let you know when those date are set. In the meantime, as a member of the task force, we will continue to try to ensure that Tysons becomes a bicycle-friendly place.

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Monday, March 10, 2008
 

Bike lanes in Reston Metro Access Group recommendations

The draft report of the Reston Metro Access Group was released at the February 26 meeting. Among the ped/bike priorities are several bike lanes near the Reston Parkway station. These are among the 1st Priority projects, listed on page 13 from Preliminary Prioritization of Improvements:
  • Bike lanes on Town Center Pkwy from Sunset Hills Rd to Baron Cameron Ave
  • Bike lanes on Sunset Hills Rd from Town Center Pkwy to Station Entrance
  • Construct bike trail on E side of Wiehle Ave from Station Entrance to Fairway Dr
  • Construct bike path from southern Wiehle Ave station entrance to Sunrise Valley Dr
  • Construct shared bus/bike lanes on the proposed Soapstone connector
  • Construct bike connection from W&OD trail to Bluemont Way at the Reston Town Center Transit Station
The draft documents can be found on the RMAG meeting page. We will be meeting with the consultant tomorrow morning to discuss the priorities and several projects that should be included in the list: Bike access along Soapstone Lane and Colts Neck Road, a grade-separated crossing of Reston Parkway on the south side of the Dulles Toll Rd, and others. The next meeting of the full group is scheduled for March 25.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008
 

National Bike Summit notes

Thanks to support from WABA, we were able to attend the National Bike Summit this year. Bicycle advocates from around the country heard about the latest advocacy efforts in the cycling world and lobbied Congress for better bicycle facilities. Some highlights from the conference:

Humana Inc., a large health care provide, recently established Freewheelin', a bike sharing program for their 8,500 employees in Louisville, Ky. 1,600 people signed up for the program in the first two days. Read more at the 1 World 2 Wheels blog and Paul DeMaio's Bike Sharing blog.

2 Mile Challenge is a program started by Clif Bar to encourage more people to get out of their cars and ride their bikes. Stressing the fact that 40% of all trips are 2 miles or less, they offer several challenges for cyclists to encourage them to take more of those trips by bike. They practice what they preach, offering employees a $500 subsidy for bike commuting. They developed a good, simple, short video that highlights many of the reasons to ride:



Portland: Several advocates from Portland, OR discussed steps they have taken to make Portland the most bike-friendly community in the U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a former Portland city commissioner, welcomed cyclists and urged us to fight harder for our fair share of transportation funding. Scott Bricker of Bicycle Transportation Alliance discussed their efforts to get more people on bikes through development of a blueprint for better bicycling in Portland and a recent emphasis on developing bicycle boulevards. Dan Bower of the Office of Transportation discussed the Smart Trips program. Each year they focus on a section of the city. They try to reach each household at least 5 times, providing them with information on alternative transportation options.

Other highlights were the talk by DC Councilman Tommy Wells who introduced the bike parking bill and who is working with city developers to ensure they include bike access and parking in new developments. Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong said that he is working with Humana to try to provide 1,000 bikes for use at the two political conventions this summer.

Speaking of Portland, the Bike Portland blog contains a good summary of the summit,that ended with a bike tour this morning.

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Monday, March 3, 2008
 

Bikes on Fairfax buses

As we've mentioned before, as of October 2007, all Fairfax Connector buses were outfitted with racks for carrying bikes. The racks provide a great way for commuters and others to extend their range when using a bike for getting around. As you can see on the right, even the small-wheel Bike Friday can be accommodated (from Reston's 2007 Bike to Work Day event.)

The racks are being used: the latest figures show they were used a total of 379 times in February 2008. If you haven't tried them out yet, why not see if they can help you get around. To plan a trip, check out the WMATA Trip Planner, which includes Fairfax Connector buses. Enter from and to locations and the Planner will tell you the specific bus stop location, time of pickup, and bus to catch. To learn more about using the racks, see the Using Bike Racks on Connector page.
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