Friday, March 2, 2012
March-April FABB Newsletter
MARCH-APRIL 2012 FABB News
A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
County Bicycle Master Plan Subarea Meetings
The County is halfway through the bicycle planning process, which is expected to end in June 2012. The final two subarea meetings are planned for March. The Centreville/Chantilly/Bull Run/Oak Hill/Fair Oaks/Fair Lakes/Westfields meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday March 6 at the Sully District Government Center, 4900 Stonecroft Boulevard, Chantilly. The Central Fairfax meeting, which includes the City of Falls Church and George Mason University, will be scheduled for later in the month.
Most subarea meetings have been well-attended. FABB members serve on the master plan advisory committee and have attended each subarea meeting. To see presentations and read a summary of comments made at the meetings visit the Bicycle Plan Materials & Resources page. See also FABB blog entries about the bicycle plan. A draft bicycle route network is being developed and will be finalized over the next couple of months. A countywide public meeting to present the draft plan is slated for May or June. Please provide input on the plan by attending one of the remaining public meetings or by filling out the online survey. Deadline for filling out the survey is March 31. The plan will set the stage for bicycling in the County for the next 30 years and getting projects into the plan is extremely important.
Disappointing 2012 Virginia Legislative Session
Bicycle-related legislation proposed this year for Virginia was modest. The two major bicycle-related bills would have required motorists to exercise due care when approaching a bicyclist or pedestrian (HB 784) and would have prevented motorists from following bicyclists too closely (HB 785). Unfortunately both bills were defeated by a House Transportation Committee. Northern Virginia’s member of the committee, Del. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean), cast the deciding vote in each case. Cyclists can write to Del. Comstock to express disappointment with her votes.
Biking to School
One of FABB’s major goals is to increase the number of children who can bike and walk to school. Until recently the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system did not have a clear policy regarding whether kids are allowed to bike to school. Some school principals banned students from biking even if parents wanted their kids to bike. FABB, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), and Trails for Youth worked with FCPS officials and the School Board to change the policy. In January, the School Board modified the bike-to-school policy so that parents, not principals, can decide whether their kids can bike to school. Another positive development: Two local elementary schools (Terra Centre in Burke and Cunningham in Vienna) have received 2012 funding from VDOT’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.
FABB member Jeff Anderson was instrumental in changing the FCPS bike policy. Jeff founded Wolfie's Bike Train at Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna and was recently profiled in the VDOT SRTS newsletter. Stay tuned for Bike to School Day opportunities on May 9.
New Bike Racks in Vienna
Last year FABB received funding from the Transurban Community Grant Program to conduct bike commuter seminars, hold bike light giveaways, and install bike parking. After hard work by FABB, the Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee, and others, the first 3 racks were installed in Vienna in February. Red Mango, a frozen yogurt shop located at 431 W Maple Ave, received two U-racks, and Maple Ave Market, located at 128 E Maple Ave, received one. Check out the racks and thank these businesses for being bike-friendly.
Fairfax County Parkway Trail Assessment
Proper maintenance of facilities is a critical safety issue for cyclists who are vulnerable to uneven pavement and potholes. Over the past few years we've documented the deterioration of the Fairfax County Parkway trail. There are many sections where large cracks have appeared and grass grows through the cracks. Contractors have unearthed sections of the trail without repaving them properly. The trail has subsided in some places where it abuts concrete bridges, leaving large gaps that can pop a tire. The trail also diverts from the Parkway, most notably at I-66 and Route 123, without proper way finding signage.
The Parkway will be repaved in the near future. Repaving and signing the adjacent Parkway trail has been a priority for FABB for several years. We've been told that VDOT may have the funds this year to repave at least some sections of the trail.
FABB volunteers are conducting a reconnaissance of the trail. We're documenting degraded pavement, muddy areas, subsided asphalt at bridges, and other problems by riding the trail, taking pictures, and collecting GPS points. We hope to complete the work in the next couple of weeks, in time for VDOT to develop priorities for repaving. Ideally the entire trail should be repaved. If that is not possible, our work should ensure that sections in most need of repair will be repaved first.
Support FABB via Road ID
FABB now is a member of the Road ID Affiliate Program. If you access Road ID via the FABB website, FABB earns a 10 percent commission when you buy a Road ID product online. Also, the FABB logo is available for engraving on the Road ID dog tag. For more details see the FABB donation page.
FABB Fact: “Cities with a greater supply of bike paths and lanes have significantly higher bike commute rates even when controlling for land use, climate, socioeconomic factors, gasoline prices, public transport supply, and cycling safety.” (from “Cycling to work in 90 large American cities: new evidence on the role of bike paths and lanes” by Ralph Buehler and John Pucher.)
March 6, Tuesday—Is Bike Sharing Feasible in Tysons?
At the Tysons Bike Group meeting Charlie Denney of Alta Planning will discuss what is needed for bike sharing to be successful in a place like Tysons. Alta Bicycle Share, an affiliate of Alta Planning, runs Capital Bikeshare in DC. The meeting is at noon at PwC. All are welcome but space is limited. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 6, Tuesday—Centreville/Chantilly/Bull Run/Oak Hill/Fair Oaks/Fair Lakes/Westfields area bike plan meeting
Help set the course for making Fairfax County a bicycle-friendly community. The meeting is at the Sully District Government Center, 4900 Stonecroft Boulevard, Chantilly. The meeting is 6:30-9:00 p.m. with a presentation at 7:00 p.m. This is your chance to let the County know what improvements are needed in your area.
March 20, Tuesday—National Women's Cycling Forum
In the United States in 2009, women accounted for only 24 percent of bike trips, a much smaller percentage than men. But that trend is shifting. The National Women's Cycling Forum will be the first national gathering specifically dedicated to raising awareness about and discussing how to engage more women in bicycling. Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street, NW, Washington, DC, 2-4:00 p.m. Free, but registration is required.
March 21, Wednesday—FABB Monthly Meeting
Monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Ave E, Vienna, near the W&OD Trail. Cindy Engelhart, VDOT NoVa District Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator is scheduled to be our speaker. All are welcome. For more information contact Bruce Wright at email@example.com.
March 21-23—National Bike Summit
A few members of FABB will be attending this gathering of bike advocates from around the country. For more information visit the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit page.
March 31, Saturday—Senior Transportation Summit
FABB Chairman Bruce Wright will speak about how to get around Reston by bike, with an emphasis on senior cycling. Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, 9:00 a.m.- noon. The event is sponsored by Reston for a Lifetime.
April 10-12—Board of Supervisors Budget Hearings
FABB will ask the Board to reinstate operating funds for the bike program. These funds were cut two years ago and have not been replaced. We also will ask for more staff support for the bike program and for funds to implement the Tysons and Countywide Bicycle Master Plans. FABB urges you to contact your County supervisor to request that operating funds for bicycling projects be restored. You can find contact information for your supervisor at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/government/board/about-the-board-of-supervisors.htm
April 18, Wednesday—FABB Monthly Meeting
Monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Ave E, Vienna, near the W&OD Trail. Tom Biesiadny, Director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, is our invited guest speaker. All are welcome. For more information contact Bruce Wright firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come see us at these community events:
April 19, Thursday—Vienna Green Expo, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Vienna Community Center.
April 24, Thursday—USGS Earth Day Expo, 10:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Reston.
April 28, Saturday—Paul’s Ride for Life (7:00 a.m. start) and Cyclefest, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Reston Town Center.
Plan ahead for Bike to School Day (May 9) & Bike to Work Day (May 18)!
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 www.fabb-bikes.org, 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 www.waba.org. Donations to FABB are tax deductible. If you would like to support our advocacy work in Fairfax, you can donate online or send a check made out to FABB/WABA to FABB, PO Box 3752, Reston, VA 20195.
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