Arlington bikeshare demand mapmap showing potential demand.
Connolly and FimianThe major contested Congressional race in Fairfax is between Congressman Connolly and Keith Fimian, the two major candidates. During his political career Congressman Connolly has been very supportive of bicycle infrastructure funding. As Chairman of the Fairfax Co Board of Supervisors he authored the Comprehensive Bicycle Initiative that created the first bicycle coordinator position and developed the first bicycle route map of the county.
As a Congressman, he along with 23 of his colleagues sent a letter supporting Secretary LaHood's USDOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation which includes "considering walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes." He's also supported implementation of new experimental bicycle facilities in the MUTCD and an increase in funding for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects in the Surface Transportation Authorization bill.
On Oct. 21 we asked Mr. Fimian for his views on bicycling as a form of transportation. We haven't received a response. We've searched his website for information on bicycling and transportation and "Transportation" isn't listed under Issues. This morning Fimian and Connolly debated on the WTOP Politics Program. During the interview Fimian stated that we would be much better off if we didn't spend money on bicycle trails. Once the broadcast is online we'll try to find a direct quote.
If you have additional information about the two candidates' positions on bicycle issues, please leave a comment.
Update: The Connolly/Fimian debate on the Politics Program is now online. There was an exchange (with about 12:05 left in the program) regarding raising the Federal gas tax:
Mark Plotkin: "Isn't it time to raise the Federal gas tax of 18.4 cents to help fund transportation in your district?"
Mr. Fimian: "Listen, the problem is that massive amount of tax money is gone and they spent it on a transportation museum and flowers in the median and bike paths."
Congressman Connolly: "I'm on record favoring raising the gas tax."
VDOT N. Va. District office is movingThe VDOT N. Va. District office is currently located just west of Rt 28 off Rt 50 on Avion Parkway in Chantilly. It's not a bike- or transit-friendly location to say the least. We've biked there on many occasions and the most difficult stretch is along Rt 50 under Rt 28.
On Nov. 1 the N. Va. District office will be moving to new offices located off West Ox Dr. just north of the intersection of Fairfax Co Parkway and Rt 29. The address is 4975 Alliance Drive Fairfax, VA 22030. We hear new bike racks will be in place, although we've also heard they are the infamous "wave racks" that are not recommended by most jurisdictions. There is only one contact point with the bike and most people who want to use a U-lock use the racks as a very complicated U-rack, parking parallel to the rack instead of perpendicular, reducing the rack capacity from many (5-11) to 2. Sigh.
The Fx Co Parkway trail passes directly in front of the offices on West Ox Rd. This is one of several sections where the trail is diverted off of the Parkway because a decision was made long ago to not purchase needed right of way or to not spend the money to build the trail over a major intersection. As a side note we've tried for several years to get wayfinding signs placed on the Parkway trail and have had no luck.
The new VDOT location is slightly more bike-friendly. For Fairfax residents, it's more centrally located and it's close to Fairfax County government offices. Here's info from VDOT about the move:
VDOT Northern Virginia
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
We are located near the intersection of the Fairfax County Parkway, Route 29 and West Ox Road (next to Fairfax County's Public Safety Transportation Operations Center and across the street from Costco). We will share this new building with several other Virginia agencies including State Police, Department of Fire Programs, and Department of Emergency Management.
All VDOT employees located in the new office will have new telephone numbers.
Smart Cycling: League President Andy Clarke visits The Bike LaneSmart Cycling: Promoting Fun, Fitness and the Environment, on November 18 at The Bike Lane in Reston. From The Bike Lane website:
Where: 11943 Democracy Drive Reston VA 20190 (map)
Join us for a visit from Andy Clarke – one of cycling’s most popular and engaging speakers – He will be speaking at The Bike Lane on November 18 at 7 pm. Clarke just edited a new book, Smart Cycling: Promoting Fun, Fitness and the Environment. He’ll be answering questions, signing copies of his new book, and discussing how the League is building a Bicycle Friendly America!
The book covers everything from how to get started on a bike to advanced training. It was published by Human Kinetics, and includes chapters on how to choose the right bike and gear, essential basic cycling skills, the rules of the road, maintenance and quick repairs, safety strategies, commuting and group riding. Smart Cycling is a great resource for parents, teachers, students and new and returning riders. Please RSVP to email@example.com and let us know you’re coming (or just show up, if your schedule allows it). We look forward to seeing you
FABB at NGANational Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is consolidating operations and moving staff from three current locations; Reston, VA, DC, and Bethesda, MD. The move is part of the Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Act of 2005. Fairfax County is conducting commuter workshops at these locations to let employees know about various options for getting to work. FABB was invited to attend the first workshop that was held at the Reston office today.
The new NGA location is referred to as NGA Campus East. It's located less than 3 miles from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. Given the number of employees coming to the new site, a mini-bike sharing system seems like an ideal solution to moving people from the station to the campus. It could be implemented with station location on the NGA campus, in Springfield, and at the Metro station.With 8,000 new employees commuting into the new offices, traffic and parking, which is limited, will be a nighmare.
Along with county bike program staff, we discussed various bike routes to the campus with employees who live within easy bike commuting distance of the new site. The Fairfax Co Parkway/Franconia-Springfield Parkway trails are just north of the new site. A new trail is being built across the Parkway on Rolling Road, and trails and bike lanes will lead into the site from both the Rolling Road and Backlick Road entrances. Saris Stack Racks are being installed in the parking garage. Bike lanes or a shared use path are still needed along Backlick Rd, the most direct route into the complex from the Metro station.
Bicycling conditions in this area have been notoriously dangerous in the past. It's encouraging that there is an acknowledgment that bicycling can be part of the solution for moving people in that area, and that some new facilities are being planned for the move. I-95 still presents a significant barrier to bicycle travel in that area and more options are needed for crossing. We plan to check out the new location in the near future.
Falls Church bicycle and Safe Routes to School plansPedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Calming Strategic Implementation Plan. The plan will:
• Afford accessibility for all pedestrians
• Provide safe streets and crossings
• Promote a culture of walking and biking
• Identify continuous sustained funding, tools, and leadership for implementing pedestrian and bicycle improvements
Data collection is expected to be completed in 2010. Community meetings will be scheduled this winter/early spring. Additional comments can be sent to Wendy Block Sanford - firstname.lastname@example.org.
FABB receives grant for bike light giveaway, bike racks, and bike commuting seminars
Last year FABB received a grant from Transurban for our first bike light giveaways. Many people depend on bicycles for transportation and must ride at night. Providing front and rear lights helps ensure they will be visible and safe. Last year we installed approximately 160 sets of lights at four bike light giveaways.
This year FABB again applied for funds to purchase lights. We expanded our application to include funds for the bike racks that will be installed in places lacking adequate bike parking along the HOT lanes corridor. We will also be conducting bike commuting seminars at large corporations in the corridor. At the seminars we talk about bikes and other gear needed for commuting, clothing strategies, safe cycling skills, and bike route map resources.
Thanks to Transurban for supporting bicycling in Fairfax.
High school bike busCheck out this video of high school kids in Orlando, FL who started a bike bus to school. Includes some great quotes: "It's better than riding the bus." "It's better than driving a car because if I drive a car I need to get a job and I become a slave to my car." "If I ride a bike I feel better throughout the day. School's worth going to because I get to ride my bike to school." "Riding a bike gives you so much freedom; you don't have to wait for the bus, or wait for your parents, it's just you and your bike. You just pedal the speed you want." Let's hope this is a sign of things to come. (From GreaterGreaterWashington)
Update: The Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna has a bike train, Wolfie's Bike Train, which will be running again this Wednesday.
Labels: bike bus
Bike parking at Kilmer Middle SchoolFacebook page, yesterday FABB and others toured Tysons by bike to check out existing, and possible future locations for, bike facilities in Tysons. The tour began at Kilmer Middle School on Wolftrap Rd near Gallows Rd, just south of Tysons. We had heard that the new bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting Wolftrap Rd made it much easier for kids living in the neighborhoods to the west of the bridge to bike and walk to school and that there was demand for new bike parking.
As you can see from the photo, bikes were parked everywhere in front of the school The rack, in the center of the photo, was completely full and there were bikes locked to all the benches in front. Fortunately the school administration is supportive and allows the bikes to be parked there.
According to the dean of students, who is a cyclist, the school is working with the bike coordinator to add more bike parking. The dean also provides bike safety information for the biking students. This is a perfect example of how a small investment in infrastructure can make a significant difference in getting kids out of cars or buses and onto bikes, and the Safe Routes to School program is a way for other schools to find the money for these investments.
Encouraging more kids to walk and bike to schoolThis week members of FABB and some concerned parents met with Supervisor Hudgins to discuss how Fairfax County and the Fairfax school system can be more supportive of kids walking and biking to school. From past experience we know that the benefits of walking and biking to school are rarely if ever mentioned to parents by the school system. The problems associated with driving kids to school, such as increased congestion and air pollution, are also not discussed.
Instead we build kiss-and-ride lots to facilitate this behavior, making traffic at schools worse. According to one teacher who bikes to school, the most dangerous place for him to ride is the immediate area around the school. In one study it's been estimated that around 21-27% of morning traffic is attributed to parents driving their children to school.
There is a misconception that by encouraging kids to use active transportation that the schools will be liable if a student is injured on the way to school. According to 10 Tips for Safe Routes to School Programs and Liability,
Supervisor Hudgins is very supportive of more kids having the option of safely walking or biking to school and of the SRTS program.With her help we hope to provide a briefing on SRTS to the Board of Supervisors and the school board in the near future. We also hope to identify a school in the Hunter Mill District for implementation of a SRTS program. With new CDC report indicating that one in three adults will have diabetes by 2050, isn't it time that we made it possible for kids to get more exercise by the simple act of walking or biking to school?
TIGER II grants awarded - No bike sharing in FairfaxSecretary LaHood announced projects to be funded through the TIGER II grants. Fairfax County joined DC and Arlington County in a request by MWCOG to expand bike sharing in the region. Fairfax planned to have several stations in the Reston area. The MWCOG application was not among those selected for funding.
A complete list of capital grant recipients and a complete list of planning grant recipients. The biggest bike/ped winner appears to be the East Bay Pedestrian and Bicycle Network. The $43.3 million project, of which $10.2 will come from TIGER funds "will close several critical gaps in the nearly 200-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail system serving the 2.5 million residents of Contra Costa and Alameda counties in California. The project will separate bicycle and pedestrian traffic from automobile traffic, and connect to transit facilities."
Other bike/ped-related projects include the Razorback Regional Greenway (Benton & Washington Counties), the Woodside Boulevard Complete Street Initiative, and the New Haven Downtown Crossing project.
See the final MWCOG application, A Regional Bike-sharing System for the National Capital Region.
New York City bike commute videoNew York City's streets are undergoing a major transformation. Bike facilities are being implemented throughout the city, and the number of cyclists is increasing dramatically. This video of a StreetFilm employee's 11-mile commute to work shows some of the bike facilities that are being developed.
Arlington BAC meeting summaryTheWashCycle posted a summary of the August Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. Items of interest include:
Arlington Co Police Department's Sgt. John Ravinaskas of Arlington Enforcement and Bikes: He summarized recent citations to cyclists and answered questions about cyclists getting points on their licenses and access to crash reports. "He will provide further data, from his crime analyst, responding to various questions raised by BAC members, including the number of accidents caused by cars hitting bikes.
Discussion continued on how cyclists are treated in courts and if cyclists can receive points on their license. Sgt. Ravinaskas responded that it depends on how the clerk codes the citation and that cyclists should not receive points on their license. If they do, the clerk coded it wrong so it is important to check the transcripts.
A BAC member inquired about a recent accident on Lee and Cleveland involving a cyclist's death and that the police report was not accessible. Sgt. Ravinaskas responded that unless one is involved in the accident, there is no access to the report, as it is not public information."
David Goodman's staff report: "The county will be hiring a consultant to assess the bike routing in the Columbia Pike area. Furthermore, VDOT has provided them with their preliminary paving plan for 2011 which includes Glebe Road from Military to Lee Highway.
Dave Patton reported that there will be an in-house meeting regarding sharrows and their use. He also noted that the Pentagon’s support of the Boundary Channel Drive project remains an open issue."
FABB will hold our monthly meeting tomorrow (Wed.) night at 7:30pm at Patrick Henry Library in Vienna.
Labels: arlington county
Wakefield bike/ped bridge closed again this weekWe just received this notice from Fairfax County:
Planners focus on what younger generations want for RichmondThat's the title of an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about what the city is doing to attract young professionals:
And they're willing to help create it by building trails in James River Park, flocking to art galleries throughout the city every first Friday, or gathering along the riverfront for the three-day Richmond Folk Festival.
The James is central to Chesterfield's riverfront plan, which envisions greenways for biking and hiking along the river, as well as along the Appomattox River in the southern end of the county. "We're looking at some major river corridors," said Mike Golden, director of parks and recreation in Chesterfield.
One unifying objective for the region is creating more opportunities for trails for bicycling, running and hiking. The Virginia Capital Trail is under construction on a 50-mile stretch from Williamsburg to Shockoe Bottom.
Recent bike-related newsWe read a number of bike and smart growth blogs. After returning from a trip to Vermont, where we had some glorious weather and great bike riding, it took a while to get caught up on our reading. Below are a number of links we found that might be of interest:
- Dulles Airport must reduce its carbon "toeprint"—One way would be to develop a bike trail along the Dulles Toll Rd that would allow some of the 36,000 people who work there to go by bike. From GreaterGreaterWashington.
- "Why do we allow these deaths to occur?" - A Q&A with Peter Jacobsen—Jacobsen is the researcher behind the widely regarded and influential "Safety in Numbers" concept. He is now involved with the "Vision Zero" traffic safety philosophy. From Bike Portland.
- Car Free City is a Ride Lexington County Takes on a Bike—Formerly known as Bicycle City, Car Free City is being developed in Gaston, SC, located just south of Columbia. Originally from Bike Portland.
- Kiwi commuters go green with new bike monorail—Google recently invested in this new pedal-powered transportation system, known as the Shweeb. Some have said it could be used in Tysons as another way to get around.
- The Invisible Cyclists of Los Angeles—Includes a section titled "Less Money = Less Choice + More Danger." FABB plans to hold bike light giveaways this Fall to reach out so those who depend on bikes for transportation and often ride at night without lights. Originally from Bike Portland.
- Plan to reduce sprawl will boost health, environment—"Oil dependency, climate change and health-care costs are but three of a growing list of ills, rapidly becoming crises, that give us reason to look again at how we build our communities and what policy can do about it. American suburbanization did not happen by accident; it was heavily subsidized by federal and state dollars, most powerfully in the form of highway funds. The first step to a solution is to reduce incentives for sprawl, including new highways or highway lanes. If we have learned one thing from the suburban experiment, it is that you can't grow a green economy on blacktop." From the Washington Post.
DC bike plan revisted after 5 yearsTheWashCycle has a good post about the ten year DC Bicycle Master Plan 5 years after implementation. The plan has some specific goals that can be tracked over the years, and it appears that DC government has done a good job of keeping on track at the halfway point.
- Signed bike routes - 100 miles 64 miles
- Bicycle lanes - 50 miles 49.1 miles
- Met Branch Trail - 100% complete 50% complete
- Anacostia Riverwalk - 100% complete 25% complete
- Improved bridge access - 5 bridges improved 6 bridges improved (7 if you count Wilson)
- Bike parking - 1000 spaces 1450 spaces (less if you subtract the 3800 removed parking meters, which is not entirely DDOT's fault)
- Bike parking in public space - all garages in compliance survey not completed
- Update DC policy to accommodate cyclists - Ensure inclusion of bikes in comp plan, long range transportation plan, and roadway design guide Done, except for courier licensing
- Train DDOT staff - train staff on bike planning Done
- Education - Educate motorists and cyclists Biannual Street Smart Campaign
- Youth Education - Conduct bike/ped education in schools WABA contracted to perform this
- Bike Map - Distribute 100,000 bike maps 75,000 maps distributed
Archaeological Display to open on the Mason Neck Bike TrailFairfax County is home to many historical sites, and many are accessible by bike. The county recently received Transportation Enhancement funds for a map of civil war sites. At least their application was approved; we're not sure if they've actually received the funds.
On Sunday at 3:30pm the David Archaeological Interpretive Site Display will open on the Mason Neck Bike Trail:
Labels: mason neck trail
Great Parks, Great CommunitiesFairfax County park planning effort now underway. A public meeting is scheduled tonight, Oct. 14, at the South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria starting at 7pm. This is the last of four regional meetings held by the Park Authority. Sorry for the short notice.
As we saw with the Wolftrap bridge connection, parks trails can play a vital role in providing much needed community bicycle connections. The park authority is getting much better about considering non-motorized connections to the parks themselves as well. Local residents should have the option of biking the short distance to a local park, but that's not often possible.
It's encouraging to see that the first 3 comments from the public that are listed in the report relate to connectivity:
- Provide more trail connections between parks
- Improve access to parks from neighborhoods
- Add accessible trails for all ages and abilities
Labels: park authority
International Walk to School DayInternational Walk to School Day. Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna celebrated the event, but there was little official support elsewhere in the school system.
Today the Post published an article on walking to school, Walking to school is a step in the right direction:
"The sum total and type of benefits that will come when more kids bike and walk to school is amazing," says Blumenthal, who is also president of the Bikes Belong Foundation. "It's not just that kids will be healthier... In many parts of the U.S., 20 percent of morning traffic is one parent driving one or two kids to school."
There's money available for this program, and Fairfax public schools, the largest school system in the state, should be participating. As far as we know, currently only one school is receiving SRTS funding, Lynbrook Elementary School in Springfield.
Safety in numbers for cyclistsMore evidence is showing that as the number of bicyclists increases, the crash rate does not show a corresponding increase.
Much of the ridership increase is due to cities' investments in bicycle-specific infrastructure. But the efficacy of that infrastructure for safety is often questioned. And there's one theory—based on a growing body of data—that suggests that a few painted lines on the road, bike racks, and traffic lights form only part of the safety equation. And maybe a smaller part than we tend to assume.
The phenomenon, dubbed "safety in numbers," was first identified in 2003, in an academic paper by public health researcher Peter Jacobsen [PDF]. After being asked by officials in Pasadena, Calif., if their city "was a dangerous place to bicycle," Jacobsen began looking at crash data from various communities where bicycle ridership had fluctuated over time.
What he found surprised him: The number of crashes involving bikes correlated with the number of riders in a community. As ridership fluctuated, so did the crash rate. More riders, fewer crashes; fewer riders, more crashes.
Suggestions for Tysons bike facilitiesAs we mentioned in an earlier post, an interactive mapping tool is now available for bicyclists who are familiar with the Tysons area to provide feedback to the contractors who are developing the Tysons Bicycle Plan, on bike facilities that are needed there. The BikeTysons site uses the Community Walk software to allow users to add routes and markers showing where bike facilities are needed.
Cyclists have been adding many suggestions to the map. Others can then comment on those suggestions. Log in using BikeTysons as the username and password. To enter a route, click on Start a Path and then enter points. You can then add a comment to the line by clicking on one of the endpoints, "Promote to Marker", then adding the comment.
The presentation given at the Sept. 30 public meeting is now available on the FABB Tysons Bike Plan page.
Tysons redevelopment in the Wall Street JournalHow SoHo Can Save the Suburbs: Smart 'edge cities' are turning their shuttered malls and aging office parks into hip hotspots describes attempts to transform Tysons and other similar places into more livable, walkable, bikeable communities:
Now developers and landowners are seeking to make it more walkable, with a more integrated mix of uses. In June, the county's Board of Supervisors adopted a comprehensive plan that would transform Tysons Corner into a "24-hour urban center where people live, work and play." Its hallmarks will be green construction, access to public transportation and abundant public amenities, like parks and bicycle trails—something that sounds very much like a real city.
New York streets transformed to serve peopleCheck out this new video on some of the things NYC is doing to transform it's streets:
Labels: new york city
Getting home on two wheelsAs two-wheeled commutes grow in popularity, buyers look for bike-accessible homes mentions efforts in DC and Montgomery County to improve their bike parking regulations:
Labels: bike parking
Proposed $4M Cut to VA Bike-Ped Project FundingWe received this message from Virginia Bicycling Federation today about proposed cuts to Transportation Enhancement funding for bike/ped projects in Virginia. Please write to the Commonwealth Transportation Board to ask them to oppose this proposed policy change:
Send a Letter by October 19 to Oppose Changes
Bike Club/Race Team President:
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is proposing major policy changes to the Transportation Enhancement (TE) fund that could severely cut funding for bike and pedestrian projects in Virginia. I need you and your members to take a few minutes and send an email or note to the CTB and stop this before it's too late.
We need you to send a note to the CTB opposing this by October 19.
Please ask the Chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton (SEAN.CONNAUGHTON@GOVERNOR.VIRGINIA.GOV) and the entire Board to oppose these changes. Let them know that you want these funds to be used for core bike and pedestrian projects, not to develop scenic highway programs or to pay for tourist brochures.
I have attached a sample note at the end of this email.
Each year, a portion of the federal Surface Transportation Program funds are set -aside for transportation enhancement projects. TE funds are one of the primary sources of funding for bikepaths, sidewalks and trail in Virginia. Normally, this amounts to $15 - $20 million per year
The CTB annually receives 150 - 200 requests for proejects each year but can only fund around 100 of these requests.
In July, the Governor asked that $4M - nearly a quarter of the available funds - be spent on, "high priority statewide initiatives (tourism based initiatives, etc." to build tourist centers, and funding programs such as promoting scenic roads and cultural attractions.
The VBF doesn’t oppose promoting tourism, but Virginia already budgets over $18M for the Virginia Tourism Corporation to do this. They don't need our TE funds to print more brochures.
Please share this with your members and ask them to send a note today.
Thanks for taking the time to make a difference.
VA Bicycling Federation
PO Box 7282
Richmond, VA 23221
Here's a sample note send to the Board:
Secretary Sean Connaugton and
Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 233219
Mr. Secretary and Members of the CTB:
Please share this message with the entire CTB.
I urge the Commonwealth Transportation Board to oppose the proposed changes to the Transportation Enhancement Funding policy but instead prioritize these funds on key projects which build facilities to promote walking, cycling and alternatives to driving our cars.
Riding bicycles and walking benefits the Commonwealth in many ways including:
- health benefits;
- reduced health care costs;
- increasing the number of children who can safely walk or ride their bikes to school;
- decreased smog and air pollution;
- decreased dependence on foreign oil;
- less congestion on our roads by getting people out of their cars;
- tourism income by attracting visitors to ride and hike in Virginia;
- increased revenues by attracting businesses and individuals to relocate to our Virginia and
- a better quality of life for everyone
As a resident of Virginia, I want to have choices in transportation and the Transportation Enhancement Fund should be used to fund alternative transportation facilities.
Please prioritize these limited funds on key projects that benefit the Commonwealth and citizens by moving people, not paper.
Update: We just sent a message to the above email address and it bounced. We're searching for a better address for the VA Transportation Secretary.
Update II: The correct address appears to be SEAN.CONNAUGHTON@GOVERNOR.VIRGINIA.GOV. We converted it to lower case and that apparently made a difference. I thought email addresses were case insensitive.
Wakefield bridge reopening delayedHere's the latest on the Wakefield bike/ped bridge construction:
If we hear any more news we'll post it here. If you hear other news, please leave a comment.