Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Report on Great Falls-McLean Bike Plan Meeting

Around 20 people attended the Great Falls-McLean Bike Plan Meeting on Monday evening. Supervisor Foust attended and spent some time talking to cyclists and checking out the marked up maps. Dan Goodman of Toole Design Group gave an overview of the planning process and fielded questions from the audience. Some of the comments made during the meeting:
  • The plan needs to include access to areas outside of FFX Co such as DC and Maryland. Access to Chain Bridge is poor and many cyclists use it to get to the C&O Canal towpath and the Capital Crescent Trail.
  • Street sweeping of on-road bike routes is critical.
  • Motorists and bicyclists need better education regarding existing bike laws and the rules of the road.
  • Many roads in the area will be very difficult to retrofit with bike facilities Shared lane markings could be used on these roads.
The audience then broke into groups that made comments on the various maps showing segments of the study area. 

The area is a popular destination for many cyclists. The low population density and scenic roads makes for interesting riding conditions although most of the roads have no paved shoulders. It will be difficult to add new bike facilities in the future given the limited right of way.

The summary of the meeting will soon be available on the project website. The Burke-Springfield area will be the focus of the next bike plan area meeting, sometime in late January.

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Bikers in the great falls area need to come to the realization that they are not lance armstrong, nobody wants them on the road, and they should consider full frontal lobe lobotomies if their lives outside of zealously hogging roads to "teach drivers a lesson" are this dull. Pool your money into a big pot and build your own little bike path. There isn't enough room for you and cars on these tight roads and somebody could be killed. Is it really worth the "cause"? First-world problems..
You personally may not want to see cyclists on the road but in Virginia, and in all other states in the nation, bicyclists have the same rights to using our roads as do motorists. We all pay for our roads; gas taxes and other user fees pay for about half of the cost of building our highways. Most of our local roads are paid for by everyone.

Trail supporters have tried to build trails for many years in the Great Falls area. There are almost no paved trails and paved trails have been fought by some land owners. It only takes one property owner to say no and a trail will not be built.

If you encounter a cyclist on the road, as you would any other slow moving vehicle, slow down and pass when it's safe. If cyclists only rode on trails, they wouldn't ride because we don't have a connected trail system. No one is trying to "teach drivers a lesson." Motorists are required by law to share the road with bicyclists.

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