Friday, February 20, 2009

Tysons bike plan presented to Planning Commission

The Tysons Bike Plan was presented to the Fairfax County Planning Commission Tysons Corner Committee last night.

To show an example of good bicycle integration, we noted that Copenhagen, with a well-planned bicycle infrastructure, had a bicycle mode share of 36% in 2006.

We discussed the need for bicycle connections to surrounding neighborhoods to overcome barriers such as the Dulles Toll Road and I-495 to allow access from the north and east.

We discussed the map of planned bike lanes (above) that closely matches bike lanes shown in the Transportation component of the Straw Man Draft of Comprehensive Plan Text (pdf document, pages 49-57). The bike plan includes two proposed transit/bike/ped crossings of the Beltway, proposed by the Tysons Task Force, that will allow cyclists in McLean and Pimmit Hills to finally be able to safely bicycle into Tysons.

The biggest challenge: what facility is appropriate for Routes 7 and 123. Route 7 is being widened from 6 to 8 lanes with no bike accommodations. The sidewalks will be filled with people accessing Metro. As the Route 7 and 123 corridors will be the heart of the newly planned Tysons, bike access is needed. The current design for Route 7 is very bike- and pedestrian-unfriendly. A shared bus/bike lane would be one solution.

Along with a network of bike routes, support infrastructure such as bike parking, changing facilities, and showers is needed. The EPA Bike Room is an excellent example for employers in Tysons, where employees have keyed access to a room with lockers, bike racks, changing and shower facilities. The Arlington County Bicycle Storage Facility Requirements (pdf) are an appropriate model for Tysons Corner.

We also discussed the possibility of having a bike station, a small storefront that provides services such as bike parking, changing room and showers, bike rental, bike accessories for sale, and bike repair. See photos of the Cherry Creek Bike Rack, a bike station in Denver.

Finally we discussed how bike sharing could reduce motor vehicle traffic with bike trips, especially short trips from Metro to work or lunchtime trips. The Vélib' system in Paris is the best example, with 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 stations.

A copy of the presentation is online.

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Bruce, these plans sound very promising. As a commercial landlord in the area, how can we make our office buildings more bike friendly? Are you available for a phone conversation?

Secure, covered and conveniently located bike parking will help encourage more people to bike. Changing and shower facilities are a great asset for those who have longer commutes and want to shower before work. Having a place to hang wet bike clothes is important as well.

I'll be glad to discuss this further. Please send an email message to chairman (at) fabb-bikes (dot) org.

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