Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Herrity says bike coordinator job is "political statement position"

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity is continuing his fight to abolish Fairfax County's bike coordinator position. While other Supervisors hope to retain our quality of life and continue providing services for county residents, Herrity singled out the bike coordinator position for elimination in the article Supervisors hope to hold line on budget:
"I think there are still areas that we can become more efficient," Herrity said. For example, he said the county should eliminate what he called "political statement positions," such as the bicycle coordinator.
Herrity made a similar statement about eliminating both the environmental coordinator and the bike coordinator in his November newsletter. Below is a letter we sent to Supervisor Herrity, Chairman Bulova, and Supervisor Hudgins last week:
Dear Supervisor Herrity,

I was disappointed to read in your November newsletter that you think Fairfax County should not have a bicycle coordinator. The coordinator works with VDOT to develop low-cost safe on- and off-road bike facilities. He reviews site plans to ensure adequate bike parking and safe bike access are provided. He produced the county bicycle route map, one of the most popular maps published by the county and a key safety tool for bicyclists. He worked with transit officials to get bike racks on all Connector buses. He is leading the effort to develop the first ever bicycle master plan for the county which will improve safety and access for all county residents.

Every large city and populous county in the country has a bicycle coordinator. It is a critical position as local government’s take a hard look at how to address the inequity of the increased risks imposed upon those who cannot afford to drive, are without driver’s licenses or those who choose to travel by alternative modes. Local governments are realizing that they have been bearing the health and safety costs of not providing alternative transportation options which have resulted from the design of their infrastructure that blocks these options. The recent no-cost improvement on Lawyers Road which included bike lanes, decreased the crash rate for cars by 30%. We should be working to seek more of these low-cost options that benefit all residents.

The bike coordinator plays a critical role in safe transportation for all county residents. As you know, the Transportation Advisory Commission agrees, awarding Charlie Strunk the 2009 Transportation Achievement Award at your Board meeting in June 2010. Instead of eliminating the bike coordinator position the county should be doing more to make Fairfax a safer place for biking and encouraging more people to use bikes for transportation so that the roads are safer for all. Please reconsider your position and support the bike coordinator position for the sake of the safety of county residents.


Bruce Wright
Chairman, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB)
We've also written to Supervisor Herrity about the shameful condition of the Jack Herrity Parkway (aka Fairfax County Parkway) trail. Herrity claims we have a good, connected trail system in the county and we don't need to spend any more money on bike infrastructure. See a photo of one section of the trail in this blog post. We never received a response to our earlier message.

Please consider writing to Supervisor Herrity to let him know what you think about eliminating the bike coordinator position.

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