Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Draft State Bicycle Policy Plan comments

VDOT recently released the Draft State Bicycle Policy Plan. The Plan is intended to strengthen implementation of the 2004 Policy for Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations. The Plan will go a long way toward making Virginia more bicycle-friendly. We applaud the effort that has gone into producing the draft plan and recommendations and we look forward to its implementation throughout the Commonwealth.

Recommendations from the Plan we strongly support that could have a major impact on future bicycle facilities include:
  1. Semi-annual review the bike policy implementation (Action 1.2b)
  2. Allowing narrow travel lanes (down to 10 feet) to provide space for bike lanes (Action 1.3a). This is currently done in Arlington Co. and elsewhere with little impact on road capacity.
  3. Reviewing lane widths and capacity during new construction, reconstruction and resurfacing projects to provide space for bicyclists (Road Diets, Action 1.3b). This could lead to more projects similar to the one that created the Lawyers Rd. bike lanes.
  4. Improving routine maintenance by VDOT of state-maintained bicycle routes, shared use paths, paved shoulders, bicycle lanes, and other existing bicycle facilities (Action 1.7c).
  5. Better use of shoulder paving funds (Action 1.8a).
FABB submitted detailed comments on the Plan to VDOT. We have the following general comments:
  • Each VDOT District should have a bicycle advisory committee. This will improve communication between VDOT and area bicyclists and give bicyclists an opportunity to provide feedback on current problems and planned projects.
  • VDOT should provide recommendations on bike parking and shower and changing facilities at buildings owned or occupied by the Commonwealth of Virginia. VDOT should also encourage use of bicycles by state employees to be a model for businesses and other organizations.
  • VDOT should encourage more people to use bicycles for short trips by providing public service announcements, fact sheets, and other encouragement materials.
  • VDOT should track and make better use of the 2% of maintenance funds dedicated to providing paved shoulders for bicyclists. Two-foot shoulders are not sufficient for bicycle travel. The minimum should be increased to three feet, with four feet being the preferred width.
Comments can be submitted via e-mail to vabiking@vdot.virginia.gov until Friday, Sept. 17, 2010. See FABB VDOT Bike Plan Comments for our detailed comments.

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