Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keep Tysons Moving event

We attended the Keep Tysons Moving event recently at the Capital One building just inside the Beltway off Route 123. Not exactly a bike-friendly area. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on all the construction projects in the Tysons area and to discuss the various alternatives to driving along. The main projects in the area are the HOT lanes project, construction of the four Tysons Metro stations, and widening of Route 7.

We had a table with information about bicycling in Fairfax. Several people wanted to know about bike routes into Tysons and what was being done to make Tysons more bike-friendly. While there are several bike routes into Tysons, not much is being done to make conditions better in the near term. Route 7 is only getting worse now that the service roads are being removed.

While we support most aspects of the new Tysons plan, in our opinion the biggest flaw in the plan is the lack of bicycle accommodations on Routes 7 and 123. Between Route 123 and the Dulles Toll Road there are no bike facilities planned for Route 7. Cyclists will either ride on the road or contend with pedestrians on the sidewalks, which is always a bad idea, especially in a congested area near transit.

At the Keep Tysons Moving event we learned that as part of the VDOT MegaProjects Employer Solutions, the bicycle commuter benefit for Tysons employees is doubled to $40/month (100% VDOT MegaProject match of the $20/mon employer benefit). If you work in Tysons and commute by bike, and you're employer is not providing the bicycle commuter benefit, this is a great incentive for implementing it.

When this was announced, the program manager pondered why anyone would want to commute by bike to Tysons. Now that's certainly a strong endorsement of bike commuter from the team that is trying to get people out of their cars.

From the MegaProjects web page on Commuter Solutions, it seems like Northern Virginia is a cycling paradise: "Most communities in Northern Virginia have been built with bikers and walkers in mind—there are paths, trails and bike lanes all across the region."

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