Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nov-Dec 2011 FABB News

A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

County Bicycle Master Plan Subarea Meetings

Fairfax County recently held meetings in the Clifton and Reston-Herndon areas to hear from cyclists about what bicycle improvements are needed. As part of the County Bicycle Master Plan process, meetings are being held around the county. Six more subarea meetings are planned over the coming months. The next meeting will cover the Mt. Vernon area on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the South County Government Center. See the County Bike Plan website for details, including a map of the 8 geographic areas.

The meetings are a good opportunity for you to point out barriers to your travel by bike, suggest improving bicycle education in schools, and discuss your most important destinations, dangerous intersections, and where bike parking is needed. Comments from the meetings will be used to develop the final plan, which will set the stage for bicycling in the county for the next 20-30 years. The next meeting of the Master Plan Advisory Committee is on November 16. FABB has members on the committee and if you have ideas you would like us to pass on, please let us know.

County Celebrates International Walk and Bike to School Day

On October 5,  Fairfax County Public Schools celebrated International Walk and Bike to School Day for the first time. In the past, only a few individual schools were involved. FABB, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Trails for Youth, and others advocated that the county celebrate the event throughout the school system. We worked with FCPS staff to develop promotional materials to help get the word out about the event. Twenty-seven schools participated this year, holding various activities for walkers and bikers. See the map of schools that participated. For news on Safe Routes to School activities in Fairfax visit the Safe Routes to School - Fairfax Facebook page.

Virginia State Bicycle Policy Plan released

VDOT published its Virginia State Bicycle Policy Plan in October. The two main goals of the plan are:
  • Increase the use of bicycling in Virginia to include a full and diverse range of the population for all trip purposes „
  • Improve safety and comfort of bicyclists throughout Virginia and reduce bicycling crashes
FABB provided extensive comments on the plan in September 2010. Most of our comments were included in the final report. Highlights from the plan include narrowing travel lanes to 10 feet to create bike lanes or wider outside lanes, extending VDOT projects to link to nearby bike facilities, and doing a better job of inventorying bike facilities and counting bicyclists so that future progress can be tracked. The plan contains lots of good information and it is worth spending some time reading it. See the FABB blog entry for more information.  

Regional Call to Action

WABA is holding its Regional Call to Action Summit on Thursday, Nov. 3. WABA recently met with Fairfax cyclists to gather information for the Regional Call to Action report. Suggestions from the meeting along with comments from FABB, will be published during the Call to Action Summit. This information will also be used by FABB as additional input to the County Bicycle Master Plan. Visit the WABA summit page for details about the summit and to register.

League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Bicycle Friendly Program

LAB recently recognized George Mason University as a bronze level Bicycle Friendly University. GMU has made great progress in recent years. They hold Bike to Mason Day each year. This year they are also holding regular Bike to Campus days coordinated by the GMU bicycle program. They also hold occasional bike commuter and safety classes on campus.

Staff can apply for the bicycle benefit and receive $20/month toward purchase of bike supplies and maintenance. Patriot Circle and George Mason Blvd now have bike lanes or shared lane markings. Covered bike parking with inverted U racks is available in many locations.

In a separate action, Reston failed to receive recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community, but they were given an honorable mention, which is encouraging. On the plus side, Reston has a few miles of bike lanes on Lawyers Road that VDOT installed as part of a road diet. VDOT is also adding bike lanes on Soapstone Drive as part of another road diet. Reston holds a very successful Bike to Work Day that FABB members help organize each year. The Reston Bike Club holds numerous group rides throughout the year.

However, Reston needs to do much more to become truly bike friendly. Along with the Honorable Mention designation comes a list of actions the community can take to improve their bike friendly ranking. These actions include improving bike parking, adding bike lanes and paved shoulders to major roads, provide better bicycling education and encouragement, and starting a bicycle count program. The Reston Pedestrian & Bicycling Advisory Committee plans to use this feedback to plan future projects.

Bike Light Giveaways

FABB will be giving away bike lights again this fall. The main goal is to enhance the safety of service workers who depend on bicycles for transportation and who often travel at night without lights. If you know a good place to hold a giveaway and want to help organize it or assist in installing the lights, please contact us. This is a very worthwhile service to the community.

VDOT Six Year Plan Public Hearing

On October 25 FABB testified before the Commonwealth Transportation Board on future transportation projects in Virginia. We discussed the need for developing transportation projects that also contribute to our quality of life. More county residents want to walk and bike for short trips, and often VDOT projects have a negative impact on those modes. We noted that poorly maintained roads and trails have a significant impact on cyclists’ safety. We asked that adequate funding be provided for bike and ped projects in preparation for development associated with the new Silver Line stations in Tysons. See our complete testimony on the Six-Year Improvement Program.
FABB FACTS - In the Reston-Herndon area 45% of all non-commute trips are less than 3 miles and can easily be taken by bicycle. Of commuting trips, 18% are less than 3 miles.


November 3, Thursday - WABA’s Regional Call to Action Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Waterview Conference Center, 1919 N Lynn St, Arlington, VA 22209.

November 16, Wednesday - Fairfax County Bicycle Plan Advisory Committee Meeting, 1:00-3:30 p.m., Fairfax County DOT office, 4050 Legato Rd, Suite 400 (4th floor).

November 16, Wednesday - FABB monthly meeting from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail. All are welcome. For more information contact Bruce Wright at

November 17, Thursday - Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan area meeting - Mt. Vernon, Rose Hill, Ft. Belvoir, Mason Neck, Huntington areas. The meeting is from 5:30-8:00 p.m., South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA, Conference Room 221 A-B, 2nd Floor. Residents of these areas should attend and let the planners know what is needed to make the areas more bike friendly.

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network. Visit us on the web at, on Facebook and on Twitter. FABB News provides periodic updates on Fairfax County bicycling issues, along with occasional updates and action alerts on breaking news. We encourage all FABB supporters to join WABA at Donations to FABB are tax deductible. If you would like to support our advocacy work in Fairfax, you can donate by sending a check made out to WABA/FABB to WABA, 2599 Ontario Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20009 or donate online.



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