Friday, August 6, 2010

Lack of bike parking in Fairfax County

Bike coordinator's office
In the past week we've had bike-related meetings at three locations in Fairfax County, the bike coordinator's office, Visit Fairfax, and Northern Virginia Regional Commission. There was no visitor bike parking at any of the locations. Worse, at the bike coordinator's office, where we had parking in front of the building, we were told, through an all employee message sent while we were meeting to discuss the Tysons bicycle plan, that we had to move our bikes immediately. Two of us had locked the bikes to the only places we could find to securely attach them, to the hand railings of the wide staircase leading to the building. We were told to "please promptly relocate your bikes to the bike rack located in the garage."

Visit Fairfax building
The garage has three levels with one rack and no signs. I guess visitors are expected to ride around the building and through the garage in search of this lone rack. We did find the rack, a grill type rack with a bike parked parallel, taking up all of one side of the rack (which is the only way to use a u-lock with such a rack).

The coordinator has been trying to get inverted u-racks installed since his office moved to the building; it's unfortunate it's taken so long.

NVRC building
At Visit Fairfax, located in Tysons on Jones Branch Dr, there is no bike parking available anywhere. We used the light fixture out front. At NVRC it's the same situation, so we used the wheelchair ramp railing. A single inverted u-rack costs around $300 installed, a small price to pay to offer parking for visitors and to avoid having bikes randomly parked to fixed objects in front of the building.

There are many examples of either lack of bicycle parking or incorrectly installed racks in the county. Fairfax County has never had a bike parking requirement at new buildings. Supervisor Smyth asked staff to prepare bike parking guidelines in 2007; they are still in draft form and haven't had an outside review. Once the final draft is ready, it will take time for the requirements to become official policy; they can't come soon enough.



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