Thursday, February 16, 2012

Annandale-Falls Church area bike plan meeting report

Last night cyclists from the Annandale and Falls Church area gathered at the Mason District office to hear about the countywide bicycle master plan. After a presentation by Bob Patten of Toole Design Group, cyclists marked up detailed maps of the area to highlight existing routes, popular destinations, and barriers to travel.

This was the sixth of eight meetings focused on different parts of the county. The Annandale-Falls Church bike plan area is located inside the Beltway south of I-66. There are several major barriers to bike travel: I-66 in the north, the Beltway, I-395, and Lake Barcroft. The bridges over the Beltway are being rebuilt as part of the HOT lanes project and many will have bicycle facilities, the roads leading to those bridges have few if any bike accommodations.

There was discussion of the lack of trail maintenance and the problem of identifying which agency or group is responsible for local trails. VDOT does maintain some paved trails in their right of way but the County is responsible for most, and there is almost no money available for repaving or repair. One way to find out who should maintain a specific trail you can contact the bike program office.

VDOT Snow Map
During the discussion, the VDOT NoVa district Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Cindy Engelhart noted that the new VDOT snow map shows the location of all VDOT maintained roads. This is an interesting interactive mapping tool used to show the plowing status of all roads in Fairfax County that are maintained by VDOT. By hovering over the neighborhood icon all streets maintained by VDOT are highlighted according to their plowing status: Plowed, In Progress, Not Started (or No Event in black). Those streets not highlighted are maintained by others, either the county or homeowner associations.

An interesting statistic mentioned during the briefing is that most commuting trips (92,000) are greater than 3 miles in length (87%) but 34% of all other trips (272,000) are less than 3 miles, trips that with good bike facilities can easily be made by bike.

Marking up bike plan map
The Annandale area is not flat and one cyclist suggested showing elevation on bike route maps which can be valuable information for cyclists planning a trip. Currently Google Map bike directions does factor in elevation when calculating routes.

To see notes and information from the other bike plan meetings visit the bike plan Materials & Resources page.

After the bike plan meeting we held the monthly FABB meeting. One of our goals this year is to move the meeting location to different parts of the county. This was a good opportunity to do that, participate in the bike plan meeting, and meet some new cyclists.

FABB meeting
County bike coordinator Charlie Strunk reported that the contract for building bike lanes on Gallows Road from the W&OD trail north into Tysons to Old Courthouse Road was awarded. The project will be completed this year. The county bike route map is being updated and a draft of the map is currently being reviewed. Printed copies should be available by Bike to Work Day on May 18.

FABB member Douglas Stewart passed around a report assessing various bike routes between GMU and the Vienna Metro station. The next step is to work with the City of Fairfax to sign the route and make any needed improvements.

FABB is now a RoadID affiliate. If you visit the FABB homepage and click on the RoadID icon (or click on the icon on the left), 10% of any RoadID products you purchase within 60 days will be donated to FABB. We also have a new rack card. Thanks to TYTRAN, the Tysons transportation group with whom we're coordinating the Tysons Bike Group meetings, for helping us with the printing costs of the card.

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