Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reston Association Board approves Bicycle-Friendly Community Action Plan

Last year the League of American Bicyclists awarded Reston an honorable mention in their Bicycle-Friendly Community program. Along with the award came feedback from LAB that included long and short term recommendations for becoming more bicycle-friendly. The recommendations were grouped by the five E's, Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning.

The Reston Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee used the feedback to develop an Action Plan. At their May 24 meeting the Reston Association Board approved the Bicycle Friendly Community Action Plan for Reston. This is a major accomplishment for the ped/bike committee and the Board. Below is the final approved Action Plan. It can serve as an excellent model for other Fairfax communities:

Bicycle Friendly Community Action Plan for Reston

Communities across the globe are managing diverse issues such as pollution, congestion, traffic safety, accessibility, social inclusion, and economic growth. Increasing urbanization is generating extra demand for quality public spaces and recreation opportunities. A renewed emphasis on security and the costs of dealing with the emerging epidemics of obesity and physical inactivity are stretching limited resources even further.

Solutions to these many challenges are equally diverse and complex. This Action Plan recognizes one policy initiative that addresses these challenges and contributes to many of the solutions necessary to improve the quality of life in Reston; increasing the percentage of trips made by bicycle by making Reston more bicyclefriendly. Reston Association recognizes that increasing bicycle use can:
Improve the environment by reducing the impact on residents of pollution and noise, limiting greenhouse gases, and improving the quality of public spaces.

Reduce congestion by shifting short trips (the majority of trips in communities) out of cars. This will also make communities more accessible for public transport, walking, essential car travel, emergency services, and deliveries.

Save lives by creating safer conditions for bicyclists and as a direct consequence improve the safety of all other road users. Research shows that increasing the number of bicyclists on the street improves bicycle safety.

Increase opportunities for residents of all ages to participate socially and economically in the community, regardless income or ability. Greater choice of travel modes also increases independence, especially among seniors and children.

Boost the economy by creating a community that is an attractive destination for new residents, tourists and businesses.

Enhance recreational opportunities, especially for children, and further contribute to the quality of life in the community.

Save funds by increasing the efficient use of public space, reducing the need for costly new road infrastructure, preventing crashes, improving the health of the community, and increasing the use of public transport.

Enhance public safety and security by increasing the number of “eyes on the street” and providing more options for movement in the event of emergencies, natural disasters, and major public events. Improve the health and well being of the population by promoting routine physical activity.
In an effort to demonstrate its commitment to improving conditions for and realize the benefits of bicycling in the community, Reston Association’s Board of Directors formally adopted, during its meeting of May 24, 2012 the following Bicycle Friendly Community Action Plan for Reston:
1. Adopt a target level of bicycle use (e.g. percent of trips) and safety to be achieved within a specific timeframe, and improve data collection necessary to monitor progress.

2. Establish information programs to promote bicycling for all purposes, and to communicate the many benefits of bicycling to residents and businesses (e.g. with bicycle maps, public relations campaigns, neighborhood rides, a ride with the RA President)

3. Make the Reston Association (RA) a model employer by encouraging bicycle use among employees (e.g. by providing parking, showers and lockers, and providing access to a bicycle fleet).

4. Ensure all RA policies, plans, and programs are updated and implemented to take advantage of every opportunity to create a more bicycle‐friendly community. Staff in all departments should be offered training to better enable them to complete this task.

5. Encourage the Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee to submit to the Board a regular status report for completing the items in this Action Plan.
In addition, the Reston Association will advocate to federal, state and county officials the importance of:
1. Providing safe and convenient bicycle access to all parts of the community through a signed network of on‐ and off‐street facilities, low‐speed streets, and secure parking. Local cyclists should be involved in identifying maintenance needs and ongoing improvements.

2. Educating all road users to share the road and interact safely to increase the confidence of bicyclists.

3. Enforcing traffic laws to improve the safety and comfort of all road users, with a particular focus on behaviors and attitudes that cause motor vehicle/bicycle crashes.

4. Developing special programs to encourage bicycle use for neighborhoods where significant segments of the population do not drive (e.g. through Safe Routes to Schools programs) and where short trips are most common.

5. Promoting intermodal travel between public transport and bicycles, e.g. by improving parking at transit, and improving access to rail and public transport vehicles.
ATTEST: This Bicycle Friendly Community Action Plan for Reston was adopted by the Reston Association Board of Directors at its Regular Meeting of May 24, 2012.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fairfax Police bike safety video

The latest bike safety video from Fairfax County police is entitled Bike Safety Equipment and Traffic Rules. The 2 1/2 minute video covers basic equipment used for safe bicycling. Helmet fit is stressed, taking up over a minute of the video. The helmet worn by the officer seems a bit loose to me.

Rather than spend so much time on helmets and helmet fit I would prefer they stressed the importance of proper bike handling skills to avoid crashes in the first place. Under the 5 layers of bicycle safety, use of a helmet is listed last (Passive safety): "This is actually the least effective layer. Helmets and gloves protect your most vulnerable body parts as a last resort in case of the very rare failure of Layers 1 through 4, but they do nothing to help you avoid crashes."

The basics of the ABC Quick Check are briefly discussed. Following the rules of the road is the last segment. According to the officer, "If you're on a bicycle on the street you're a motor vehicle" which is incorrect. The definition of a bicycle in Virginia code states that "a bicycle shall be a vehicle while operated on the highway" not a motor vehicle. I know, picky, picky.

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SuperNoVa transportation study comment period ends June 8

According to the SuperNoVa website, "the Commonwealth of Virginia has embarked on an ambitious effort to develop a Transit and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) vision for the Super NoVa region. This vision will lay out the strategy for improving mobility for the region in the short-, mid-, and long-term through a combination of transit and TDM enhancements.

"The Super NoVa region for this study is defined as Northern Virginia as well as an area extending to Caroline County on the south, Culpeper County on the west, and Frederick County to the northwest."

Integration of bicycling and transit allows many trips to transit centers to be taken by bike. Secure, covered bike parking at transit centers is needed. Bike racks on buses and bike storage on light rail facilitate combining bikes and transit.

Given the large size of the region, and the long commuting distances of many residents, bicycling may not be a realistic option for long trips where transit is not available. However, most trips taken in the region are relatively short: trips to school, to the local park&ride lot or transit center, running errands on the weekend, shuttling kids to ball games. Many of these trips could be taken by bike.

The comment period for this phase of the SuperNoVa study ends on June 8. The best way to comment is to fill out the SuperNoVa survey. Please consider taking a few minutes to answer the brief survey and let the study team know about the needs of bicyclists.

Among the options listed for improving transit service is "Improve sidewalks/bikeways." We added under Other: "Provide incentives for bicyclists."

For question 7. What are your top 3 priorities for transit service and facility and/or TDM program improvements in the region in the future? we listed the following:

1. Improved integration of bicycling and transit
2. Covered, secure bicycle parking at transit centers
3. Incentives for bicyclists who commute/travel by bike

Finally, for question 9. Is there any other information you think is important for the study team to have as they develop the Super NoVa Transit/TDM Vision Plan? our response was:

"Bicycling is a realistic option for many short trips, including trips to transit centers. It requires safe bicycle access to stations/centers and secure, covered bike parking. Promotions and incentives help raise awareness of these options and encourages more people to consider bicycling."

See a presentation from an earlier meeting.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pohick Stream Valley Trail ribbon-cutting on Saturday

Saturday June 2 is National Trails Day. One way to celebrate is to join a ride from the Burke VRE station to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Pohick Stream Valley Trail. The group will meet at 9:30 a.m. and leave at 9:40. For more information, call the Park Authority Public Information Office at 703-324-8662.

According to the Park Authority, the trail connects to "the Burke VRE station with Burke Lake Road and the Burke Village Shopping Center. The project included construction of two sections of asphalt trail and one stream crossing. One section connects the VRE station with a newly constructed trail and existing Park Authority and Burke Conservancy trails in Pohick Stream Valley Park.

"Another section connects the park trail with Burke Lake Road and Burke Road to the east via a new bridge. The completed trail provides more than two miles of contiguous stream valley trail with several public and private trails connecting the VRE station, the shopping center and several residential communities. It is an example of the success found in partnerships which result in new opportunities for recreation and an alternative route to key public transportation destinations."

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crash on W&OD Trail at Wiehle Ave

Photo: Jeff Anderson
One of the most dangerous road crossings on the W&OD Trail is at Wiehle Ave. Today a bicyclist in the crosswalk was struck by a motorist. The bicyclist was taken to the hospital. The motorist's windshield was smashed and the carbon road bike was likely totaled.

It appears that the crash occurred in the southbound left turn lane. Often there is a line of motorists stopped at the crosswalk and cyclists headed eastbound start to cross. The left turn signal changes first and often motorists speed to catch the light. I believe there have been several bike/car crashes in this lane. Cyclists need to remember to cross one lane at a time, and obviously motorists at this location should always be on the lookout for bicyclists, especially when there's a line of cars stopped at the crosswalk.

If we hear more about the condition of the cyclist we'll pass it on.

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Public meeting on bike facilities on Route 1

Route 1 profile showing wide curb lanes and paved trail
Federal Highway Administration is studying the widening of Route 1 from Telegraph Road to Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway. Current plans include wide outside lanes for use by bicyclists. There is opposition to the project that will impact Woodlawn National Historic Site.

Often bicycle facilities are one of the first options to be cut from a widening project to reduce the overall width. See the proposed road profile (large pdf). All project documents on the FHWA website, including a summary of comments from the 2010 public scoping meeting that includes several references to the need for better bicycling facilities in the corridor.

A public meeting on the project is planned for Tuesday, June 5, at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, VA 22315, from 6-8pm. Cyclists need to attend the meeting and speak out for safe, convenient bike facilities as part of the Route 1 project. See a Patch article about the public meeting.

See the MtVernon Patch article Mount Vernon-Area Bicyclists Could Have an Easier Commute
"Route 1 as it is now is just not adequate for bicyclists," Belle View resident Mark Murphy said. "The curb lanes are narrow and traffic is heavy and fast. There are frontage roads along some parts of Richmond Highway, but they don't run consistently."

"In my opinion, Route 1 should have striped bike lanes, but someone in VDOT did not want to promote bicycling on that high-speed roadway, and the 15 feet of space could readily be reallocated at a future time into an 11-foot travel lane plus a 4-foot bike lane," Allen Muchnick, Virginia Bicycling Federation board member.
There is a 10 foot paved trail proposed for one side of the road but it does nothing for cyclists taking short trips along the opposite side of the road. Cyclists taking longer trips generally prefer an on-road route.

According to Allen Muchnick of VBF, "Route 1 is of particular importance for bicycling nationally as a desired alignment for four long-distance bicycling routes: US Bicycle Route 1, the Adventure Cycling Association's Atlantic Coast Route, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and the East Coast Greenway. Thus, providing first-class bicycling accommodations for all types of bicyclists is particularly important for this project."

See other coverage of Route 1 topics on the FABB blog.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Law Enforcement focus group meeting today

Today we rode to the West Springfield Government Center from Reston to attend the final Bicycle Master Plan focus group meeting. We've attended all of the 5 meetings, Economic Impacts, Biking and Health, Bike Safety Education, School Transportation, and Biking and Law Enforcement Issues.

Several police officers attended today's Law Enforcement meeting. Issues discussed included the need to ensure officers have the necessary time to collect eyewitness accounts from bicyclists who may have been injured and taken to the hospital. Often police are required to submit their reports at the end of the day and don't have time for proper followup.

It was noted that there is very little discussion of bicycle laws at the police academy. Most of the time is spent discussing motor vehicle code. We discussed the stop signs on the W&OD Trail that are not valid VDOT signs and are not enforceable.

The top problems cited were: motorist and bicyclist disregard of traffic rules. Better bicycle safety education is needed along with motorist education about the rights of bicyclists. Similar recommendations were made in several of the other focus groups. Better enforcement is also needed, and not just targeted a bicyclists.

Most of the focus group meetings have been productive but they were all too short and didn't provide enough time for discussion, not only of current issues, but also possible solutions. These are complex topics and participants have busy schedules and so there's only so much that can be covered in under 2 hours. The eight area meetings, which we also attended, were longer and there was more time for discussion.

The next step in the process is to hold two countywide public meetings scheduled for June 5 (Reston) & 6 (Annandale). Then the planning team will finalize the bicycle network and policy and program recommendations and present the final plan. The goal is to complete the plan by the end of June or first of July.

The ride from Reston took about an hour and a half. The first half of the route was on the W&OD Trail to Vienna. From there I followed local streets and a short stretch of Route 50 to University Dr and on to GMU, then more local streets to the worst stretch, Rolling Road from Lake Braddock Dr to the government center.

There is a trail along Rolling Road that I decided to check out (I usually ride in the road). The trail switches between a narrow concrete sidewalk to a wide paved trail to a narrow paved trail, with lots of overgrowing vegetation and sever root damage in front of West Springfield High School. This must not be one of our award-winning trails. There was no bike rack at the government center so I stopped by Supervisor Herrity's office to request one.

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Bike Month video from Fairfax DOT

Bike Coordinator Charlie Strunk is featured in this video promoting Bike to Work Day/Bike Month. The video was taken at the Fairfax Corner Bike to Work Day pit stop, located near REI and across the street from the county government center:

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Final Bicycle Master Plan meetings scheduled

Fairfax County just announced the final two countywide public meetings on the Bicycle Master Plan. The North County meeting is June 5 in Reston and the South County meeting is June 6 in Annandale. The final draft proposed route network will be presented along with policy and program recommendations.

This is the last opportunity to ensure that recommendations you made during the development of the plan are included in the route network or policy recommendations. The plan has been under development over the past year. Several FABB members are on the plan advisory committee and FABB was represented at all of the area meetings and the thematic meetings.

Please consider attending one of the following meetings:
North County Meeting
Tuesday, June 5, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Reston Regional Library
11925 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, VA 20190

South County Meeting
Wednesday, June 6, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
George Mason Regional Library
7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Record numbers of cyclists register for Bike to Work Day

Congressman Connolly addresses the Reston crowd
FABB representatives attended all 9 Fairfax Bike to Work Day events today. We couldn't have asked for better weather, and the crowd at the Reston Town Center Pavilion was one of the largest yet. Region-wide 12,700 people registered for the event, a record number.

Congressman Connolly, Supervisor Hudgins, and Reston Association President Ken Knueven spoke to the Reston cyclists. Congressman Connolly started the Fairfax bicycle program by finding funds for the bicycle coordinator position, the bike map, and funding the program. Supervisor Hudgins suggested holding the first every Fairfax County Bike to Work Day event back in 2002 and has been a supporter of bicyclists since she was elected into office in 2000.

Two younger BTWD riders
(FABB's Rob Henenlottter in
the background)
RA President Knueven said he borrowed a bike and rode the short distance from his home near Lake Anne to the Town Center. He said it reminded him of the joys of bicycling from his youth. He plans to purchase a comfortable bike and said he will start riding to his office at the Town Center. He epitomizes the reason for holding Bike to Work Day.

Hope everyone has a great commute home.

For more photos see the FABB Flickr pool.

See our Reston Patch blog post, Bike to Work Day in Reston.

Check out the video of a ride today from the Greenbelt Pit Stop to the Downtown/Reagan Plaza Pit Stop (from WashCycle):

This was also the final day of the Vienna area Bike/Walk Challenge. See the Vienna Patch article with highlights and totals from the week, Bike/Walk Challenge Day Five: Best Day Yet!:
"Friday's grand total was 1,485 - the highest of the week. More than half of all elementary school students participated in the event.

Vienna Elementary School saw the largest ever bike count ever on Friday with 78 kids cycling to school. "We overflowed our two racks and the extra one brought over from the ball fields," said Sean McCall.

Wolf Trap Elementary's bike train had three Fairfax County Police Bike Patrol Officers and members of HPC Junior Team riding with students.

Louise Archer, the largest elementary school in Vienna, saw the most students participating this week."
Update: Kingstowne Patch article on Bike to Work Day at Franconia-Springfield pit stop.

Burke Patch article on Burke pit stop. That's FABB's Alan Young with the cellphone in hand, probably demonstrating the FABB app that aggregates FABB's social feeds. The app is being developed by his grandson and should be available at the app store in the near future.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bicyclist struck at Route 123 and South Run Oaks

Rt 123/South Run Oaks Dr intersection
A bicyclist received life-threatening injuries after being struck by a motorist in the Fairfax Station area. See the Patch article Bicyclist Struck by Car Sunday. The bicyclist was riding north on the trail parallel to Route 123/Ox Road.

According to one eyewitness who commented on the Patch article, as the cyclist was crossing South Run Oaks Dr, a motorist "was speeding in the left lane and, without signaling or braking, recklessly crossed over the right lane and into the bicyclist." Another eyewitness stated that "The bicyclist could not even anticipate being horrifically struck and thrown from his bike, as the SUV made an unpredicted and dangerous right turn, without signaling or braking, from the left northbound lane."

The bicyclist was taken to the hospital. No one has been charged in the crash. We're very concerned by the statement from police spokesman Don Gotthardt who said "The bicyclist didn't stop and the driver didn't see him," basically blaming the bicyclist and relieving the motorist of any fault. We assume the comment from the police was made after the eyewitnesses made their statements. According to the article, "No one has been charged in the collision, police said."

From the image it does not appear that there are stop signs on the trail. Even if there were, they would likely not be enforceable. There are white stripes that often indicate a stop bar on a road; not sure what they mean on this trail. Regardless, if the motorist was driving recklessly, there should be some accountability. However, Virginia is a contributory negligence state, one of only 4 such states which include Maryland, DC, and North Carolina.

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College Park "Bike 'N Ride" station opens

Bike parking at Metro stations has improved over the years. Inverted U racks have replaced the older Type III or Rally Racks at most stations. However, at places like Vienna there aren't enough racks and they are located outdoors. Bike theft at Metro stations is rampant. Bike lockers but the take up lots of space and are expensive to rent.

Yesterday WMATA opened their first Bike & Ride station at the College Park-U of MD Metro Station. Users gain access to the secure enclosed area using a BikeLink™ card that can be purchased online. Inside the facility are U racks and an experimental double-decker rack. Bikes are locked up once parked at a rack.

BikeLink™ cards cost $20 and have $20 of rental value stored on them. The cost of using the space is very reasonable, 5 cents per hour 8 am - midnight, 2 cents/hour all other times. With the lower overnight fees it's feasible to leave your bike overnight.

Check out this video featuring Justin Antos of WMATA's Office of Long Range Planning as he demonstrates using the facility:

What's especially exciting about this facility is that similar parking is planned for the Vienna and King Street stations. According to WMATA's bicycle parking census, more bikes were parked at the Vienna station than any other in the system. Kudos to WMATA for developing the system and helping bicyclists find secure, covered parking.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Drivers Ed class rides bikes

Cindy Ferek of Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, VA has her Drivers Ed students learn some of the rules of the road using bikes before they get behind the wheel. What a great idea. "I wanted to take the Drivers Education program in the classroom and put it onto bikes. The students weren't processing the information so I wanted to give them a hand's on experiential learning environment where they could go out and practice merging, right of way, yielding. We want them to learn to be cautious and courteous and safe."

By the way, Cindy was recently named National Physical Education High School Teacher of the Year.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

FABB member interview - Seniors in Motion

An interview with FABB member Kerie Hitt about bicycling for seniors, Cycling, a Transportation Mode that Can Help Older Adults Stay Healthy, is featured on the National Center on Senior Transportation website:
What types of transportation do you use?

I use a bicycle for transportation as much as possible. My bike allows an upright riding position and has wide tires, a mirror, a kickstand, front and rear lights, and a rack and bags for carrying items. I bring a lock with me so that I can secure my bike when I get to my destination. I also carry a few tools and a spare tube.

Why did you begin bicycling?

Bicycling has been a lifelong activity for me. I began cycling as a child because cycling is fun. I started on a tricycle and then progressed to a two wheeler. In elementary school, I rode to the pool and to the playground. I didn’t have a car during college, and when I lived off campus for two years, I depended on my bike to get to classes. For almost 30 years, I biked regularly to my job at the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia.

How has bicycling affected your ability to live a fuller life?

Bicycling takes me outdoors, exercises my body, and calms my mind. I like the challenge of getting around under my own power, the health benefits of cycling, and the satisfaction of being environmentally friendly. My husband and I have taken many bicycle tours around the country. Bicycling is a great way to see places whether they be national parks or urban areas. Not every bike trip around town will be an epic journey, but each one will be an adventure.

What advice do you have for others who may benefit from bicycling, but are concerned about trying an unfamiliar transportation mode?

As with any new activity, advance preparation and knowledge help you start. My main advice is to get a decent quality, practical bike that fits you and is appropriate for the intended use. Once you have a bike, have it tuned up periodically. The best place to buy a new or used bike usually is your locally-owned bike shop, not a big box store. A cheap bike might seem like a bargain at first, but it could cost you a lot over time because of difficult or impossible repair needs.

Don’t get hung up on having a fast lightweight bike. For everyday transportation, a bike like a “station wagon” is better than a bike like a “sports car.” Think outside the box and investigate crank forward bikes; 2- and 3-wheel recumbents; adult trikes; and electric assist cycles in addition to conventional bikes. These less common types offer various advantages, such as comfort for your neck, hands, and seat, and the 3-wheel models give options to people with balance problems or other health issues. Some people with Parkinson’s disease who are unable to walk can ride a bike!

If possible test ride a bike before buying it. You also could try renting a bike or using a community bike share. Familiarize yourself with trails and low traffic roads in your area suitable for riding and learn the “rules of the road” that apply to cyclists. Knowing proper riding techniques gives you more confidence and enhances your safety.

Check out the bike education programs offered by the League of American Bicyclists and your local bike advocacy group. In some areas you can find classes to teach adults how to ride if you didn’t learn as a child. “Momentum” and “Bicycle Times” are publications that focus on biking for transportation. Get on your bike and try some short trips and work up to longer ones. Finally, enjoy all the new opportunities that bicycling presents to you!

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Bike to Work Week

Vienna Patch posted an article on Bike to Work Week in this area. It's not too late to register for one of 9 Fairfax pit stops:
In Fairfax County, the celebration week, which falls in the middle of Bike Month and shortly after the inaugural National Bike to School Day, comes at a time when county officials are wrestling with how to implement infrastructure and public outreach programs with no operating budget; it is looking to neighboring Arlington County — which also hosts Bike to Work week events — as a model.
Data from the American Community Survey shows Washington, D.C., as one of the country's 70 largest bicycling cities, with 3.1 percent of the total worker population reporting they bike to work — a statistic six times greater than the national average of .5 percent.
The League attributes the "bicycle friendly" cities' successes, in part, to the degree in which it promotes bicycling through education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and engineering.
A new report on the region's bicycling trends out of The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State shows Fairfax at the bottom of many categories, including the percentage of car-free households, at 4 percent, and percentage increase in bike commuting.

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Herndon Festival bike valet

The Herndon Bike and Pedestrian Committee is organizing the bike valet again this year at the Herndon Festival which is held on May 31-June 3. Why not go by bike and avoid parking hassles. Ian MacDonald, organizer of the valet parking, is looking for volunteers to help staff the valet. He needs help during the following periods:

Friday June 1st 5pm to 11pm
Saturday June 2nd 10am to 11pm
Sunday June 3rd 11am to 6pm

Volunteers get a Herndon Volunteer Tee shirt and access to the Volunteer food at government center. Contact Ian MacDonald to let him know what hours that you are available to work.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bicyclists, motorists need to share road

David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington teamed up with Dr. Gridlock, Robert Thompson, provide roadway users with some tips in today's Post article Bicyclists, motorists need to share road. David has these tips for motorists:
  • Cyclists might be on the left side of the road (when turning left on a one way street)
  • Riding outside a bike lane is often okay.
  • If turning right across a bike lane, move into the bike lane first.
  • Bicycles are faster than you might think.
  • Don’t honk
and Robert has the same for bicyclists:
  • Be obvious, be predictable.
  • Think like a driver.
  • Wait for right-turning drivers.
  • Obey traffic laws.
  • Respect pedestrians.
Don't honk is real high on my list for motorists. If you want to get a negative reaction from a cyclist, honk. As David says, a honked horn is very loud to a bicyclist. We're not encased in a metal and glass enclosure and we're usually startled when someone honks. In my experience, 99.9% of the time a motorist honks it's because the motorist doesn't understand the rules of the road.

Embeded in the article is a good video on dooring from ddot. Notice how far an open door can extend into a bike lane.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eat to ride or ride to eat?

Ditch the car to keep the pounds off is the headline of a letter to the editor in Saturday's Post by Margaret Wohler. She uses her bike for transportation and doesn't worry too much about what she eats.
I appreciated the information given in Kathleen Parker’s May 9 op-ed column, “Eating our way into a disaster.” It did, however, only consider one side to the thinness issue by discussing caloric input of high-glycemic food. I’m a 49-year-old woman, 5-foot-6 and 113 pounds. I eat and drink whatever I want, taking in more than 2,000 calories a day. I’m able to maintain my low body weight because I gave up driving two years ago in disgust over the BP oil spill disaster.

I ride my bike for all of my personal transportation, typically cycling 150 miles a week. The mileage I previously covered in a heavy, gas-powered car is now provided by my leg muscles; I burn a lot of food.

While most people are filling up their gas tank, I’m filling up my plate, including lots of bread and potatoes. Americans indeed eat too much food and eat too thoughtlessly. Yet, if they would get out of their cars, and walk or cycle instead, they wouldn’t be so fat.

Margaret Wohler, Alexandria
The letter reminded me of a day last week when I had a craving for a pecan sticky bun. It must have contained 1,000 calories but I knew I was riding into DC and back the next day.  The bun was my breakfast, then for lunch I ate a fry bread grill cheese, an apple tart, and some fruit at the National Museum of the American Indian cafeteria.  Oh and I had some of Kerie's bread pudding.

Granted I overdid it a bit that day. However, most people who bike often, riding on some days much longer than on others, learn to listen to their bodies and to regulate their calorie intake accordingly. When expecting to burn more calories we can splurge a little and eat some normally forbidden foods.

I often recall an overweight friend who said "It's very simple, burn more calories than you take in and you'll lose weight." While it's not quite that simple, when discussing the obesity epidemic we need to remember that the problem involves much more than just nutrition.

In case you're wondering, I'm 5'9" and weigh around 145 pounds.

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Free bike rental on Bike to Work Day

Get out & Go Tours LLC of Ashburn is offering free bike rental to FABB supporters on Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 18. Reservations are required. Get out & Go offers tours of the C&O Canal, Great Allegheny Passage, the Tour of the Virginias and custom group tours. They offer bike rentals with their tours and for day use in the area. Contact Get out & Go for more information.

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Fairfax announces bike position opening

When Jeff Hermann of the FFX Co Bicycle Program left his position in July 2011, it was not filled and has been vacant since. We're glad to see that the County recently advertised the position. We're especially pleased with this Special Requirement: "Ability to ride a bicycle and possess basic understanding of bicycle equipment, operations, and repairs."

Jeff did great work on the Tysons Bicycle Master Plan but since he left the plan has been sitting on the shelf. Filling the position will go a long way toward reviving the Bicycle Program and getting the Tysons and soon to be completed Countywide Bicycle Master Plan approved and implemented. While the job duties include working on pedestrian, transit and road projects, we're hoping a large part of the job will be with the Bicycle Program.

If you or someone you know is interested in the position, the closing date is May 18. See the full job description.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

New report on biking in the DC area published

Trends and Determinants of Cycling in the Washington, DC Region by Ralph Buehler with Andrea Hamre, Dan Sonenklar, and Paul Goger was just published.
This report analyzes cycling trends, policies, and commuting in the Washington, DC area. The analysis is divided into two parts. Part 1 focuses on cycling trends and policies in Washington (DC), Alexandria (VA), Arlington County (VA), Fairfax County (VA), Montgomery County (MD), and Prince George’s County (MD) during the last two decades. The goal is to gain a better understanding of variability and determinants of cycling within one metropolitan area.

Part 2 of the report presents a multiple regression analysis of determinants of bike commuting based on data of 5,091 workers from the Washington, DC region. A series of logit, probit, and relogit (Rare Events Logistic) regressions focus on the role of bike parking, cyclist showers, and free car parking at work as determinants of the decision to cycle to work, while controlling for socio-economic factors, population density, trip distance, bikeway supply, and season of the year.

The report finds that cycling levels and cyclist safety have been increasing in the Washington region. However, cycling appears to be spatially concentrated in neighborhoods of the urban core jurisdictions. Compared to national averages for urbanized areas a larger share of bicycle trips in Washington, DC is commute or work related (41% vs. 17%). Area cyclists are predominantly male, between 25 and 40 years old, white, and from higher income groups.
Fairfax is at the bottom in most categories such as the percent of car-free households (4%) and the smallest percentage increase in bike commuting from 1990-2005. We led in cyclist fatality rates which were 2 to 4 times greater in Fairfax and Prince George’s County. On the positive side we had the most miles of paved off-street trails.

There's lots of great information in the report that I'm sure FABB will be using as we make our case for Fairfax becoming more bike-friendly.

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WAMU show on walking and biking

FABB member Jeff Anderson and his kids were featured on the WAMU radio show Metro Connection "From A To B: Families Try To Bring Back Walking, Biking To School." At about 1:45 into the program Jeff is interviewed.

I like the quote from his daughter Laurel: "I like doing it because we're not using energy and it's a lot of fun and I like getting exercise in the morning." Jeff: "We're trying to get the school system to restart their bike and pedestrian education that they used to give. So we kind of have like 10 years with kids, from what I can tell, who haven't been given the pedestrian and bike education that they used to get."

Christine Green of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership was also interviewed at about 4:25. She works to "bring all the players in the community together, that's the school system, transportation engineers, the planners, parents, the public health folks, community advocates" to help make it safer for kids to walk and bike to school.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

WABA's BikeFest

BikeFest will be held at Eastern Market from 8 p.m. to midnite on Friday. This is a chance to mingle with fellow cyclists, bid on silent auction items, check out the latest Bikebuild entries, and support WABA. Tickets are $45 for WABA members, $55 for non-members.
WABA is positively jazzed to present this year’s BikeFest and for your pleasure, we invite you to pedal back in time and relive the jazz age!

For one night only, we’re turning DC’s Eastern Market into a bicycling speakeasy, so spread the word. Whether you’re a WABA member or not, come on down! Flappers, bootleggers, every day Joes and Joans will find joy and friends of all sorts in an unhurried evening of jazz, drink, food, treats, and more as we celebrate our victories and raise some funds.

As you’re perusing (and pursuing) the silent auction items and splurging on raffle tickets, we will have some splendid hors d’oeuvres to snack on and a secret specialty drink to toss back. To complete the experience, your eyes and ears will be treated to the The Jolley Brothers and the Brian Settles Quartet… and some surprise entertainment.

Last year’s successful Bikebuild contest is back, and our competitors (Papillon Cycle, ThreePenny Bikes, and Silver Cycles) are more clever than ever. Builders are given two rules: keep it cheap and keep it creative. The winning silent steed wil be decided by vote, and each bike will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Papillon took the trophy home last year but we hear Silver Cycles and Three Penny are going to give 'em a run for their money. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on the building process.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New survey shows overwhelming support for bike facilities

As Congress debates funding for our future transportation system, America Bikes released the results of a survey that shows Americans overwhelmingly support funding for bike and pedestrian facilities. According to America Bikes:
The national survey, performed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, asked 1,003 adults in the United States about their opinions on federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths. The results were astounding — and bipartisan:
  • 83 percent of all respondents support maintaining or growing the federal funding streams that pay for sidewalks, bikeways, and bike paths.
  • 80 percent of Republican respondents and 88 percent of Democrat respondents think Congress should maintain or increase federal funds for biking and walking.
  • 91 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 support continuing or increasing biking and walking funds.
These results add critical perspective to a pressing national debate about transportation, as members of Congress conference to develop a consensus transportation bill — and some propose eliminating dedicated funding for biking and walking.
Congressman Blumenauer
The survey results were released at a press conference this morning that we attended. Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclsts introduced the speakers that included Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Durbin (D-IL) and Congressmen Blumenauer (D-OR) and Petri (R-WI). For a summary of remarks from see DC.Streetsblog.

We rode in from Reston and encountered lots of bike commuters on the W&OD and Custis Trails.

Update-May 10: Post transportation reporter Ashley Halsey III wrote an article about the survey, Advocacy group says public supports federal fuuding for bikes, pedestrians. The first quote is from well-known cycling expert, AAA's John B. Townsend II. I don't recall AAA ever being called an "advocacy group" in the many Halsey articles that quote from AAA press releases and yet those are the first two words Halsey's article on the America Bikes survey.

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Bike to School Day in Fairfax

Wolftrap ES
We just received some photos from Bike to School Day taken at several Fairfax County schools. Here's an early report from Jeff Anderson:
  • 80 at Wolftrap Elementary School - Principal Dr Blain, Charlie Strunk of FCDOT and Linda Watkins of Inova Safe Kids Coalition all rode w/ us.
  • 50 at Marshall Road ES - Two teachers rode w/ the kids
  • 40 at Oakview ES - There are 3 bikes usually and the best part was Mrs. Glazewski, the school Principal, rode her bike in from Centreville and led the bike train around the school to the bike racks!
  • 25 at Louise Archer ES - Principal was happy this happened.
Marshall Rd ES
Louise Archer ES

Oakview ES
Update May 10: See a video of Wolfie's Bike Train from Vienna Patch, Video: Students Ride for National Bike to School Day. The accompanying article summarizes the day's activities.

As a bicycle instructor I would have liked to see the kids stop at the stop sign and signal before turning. With a large group like that it's difficult for each student to stop but the danger is that kids learn to roll through stop signs.

Wolftrap Elementary has made great progress regarding kids biking to school, from biking being banned at the school seven years ago to having around 70 kids biking yesterday.

I especially like the final quote from the video: "We did it mommy!"

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Fairfax Co gets first sharrows

The first sharrows (shared lane markings) in Fairfax County were recently installed on Westmoreland St in McLean. Bike lanes were installed in the north section of that road in 2008. Because the road narrows approaching Kirby Rd to the south, the bike lanes end. This is an ideal location for sharrows and one that FABB suggested needed sharrows.

The sharrows were installed this week. While not a panacea, they do indicate to motorists that they should expect bicyclists in the road. They indicate to cyclists where it's safest to ride, not hugging the white line or curb but into the lane. On a lane that cannot be shared safely with a motorist (less than 14 feet), cyclists should ride so that motorists aren't tempted to pass unsafely in the same lane. They should either move to the adjacent lane if possible or wait until it's safe to pass.

Thanks to VDOT for placing the sharrows. It took a while for them to pass the 2009 MUTCD guidelines that allow the use of sharrows, but now we hope to see many more on our roadways. Future locations include on Old Courthouse Road at Freedom Hill Park where many cyclists ride into Tysons, and on Idylwood Road between Helena Dr and Idyll Lane, where cyclists coming from the W&OD Trail off Virginia Lane ride toward Gallows Road or Pimmit Hills (via Hurst St.).

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wolftrap Elementary bike rodeo video

Jenifer Madden has posted a good video of the Wolftrap Elementary School bike rodeo that was held on Sunday. The video is on her blog and is entitled Bike Rodeo Rustles up Kid Safety.

Trails for Youth conducted the rodeo that was paid for by a grant from Prevention Connections. Mechanics from Spokes, Etc. and bikes@vienna were on hand to check out the kid's bikes. FABB was there to hand out bike literature and discuss biking in Fairfax. FABB's Jeff Anderson, the crazy biker dad, was key to putting it together. Tomorrow he'll be leading Wolfie's Bike Train on Bike to School Day.

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VDOT hearing on W&OD Trail impacts of Route 7 project

Tomorrow, May 9 at 6pm VDOT is holding a public hearing on a road project that will affect the W&OD Trail where it intersects Route 7 and Route 9. The project "is called “Route 7 Truck-Climbing Lane and Operational Improvements” and it includes two roundabouts at the Rt.7 and Rt. 9 intersection near Clarks Gap west of Leesburg.

The W&OD Trail crosses Rt. 9 at this location and Trail users would have to cross multiple lanes of the proposed roundabouts. Instead, VDOT is proposing a realignment of the Trail including underpasses to minimize trail user/automobile conflicts. Get details and a map. The W&OD realignment is shown on the left side of the map."

The meeting will be at Loudoun County High School, 415 Dry Mill Road, SW in Leesburg, or comments may be emailed or sent to James C. Zeller, P.E. at 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, 22030 by May 19, 2012.

Sorry for the short notice. We just learned about the meeting today in an email from NVRPA.

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Bike to School Day is tomorrow

The first ever National Bike to School Day celebration is tomorrow, Wed., May 9. Several Fairfax County schools are participating. Wolfie's Bike Train will be running that day with special guest riders the Wolftrap Elementary School Principal along with the Fairfax County Dept of Transportation's Bicycle Coordinator and INOVA's Injury Prevention Coordinator. There will also be a bike train at Marshall Road Elementary. Is your school participating?

See the article on Fairfax Station Patch, Bike to School Day Kicks into Gear.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

VDOT guidance on use of sharrows

VDOT recently issued guidance on use of the Shared Lane Markings (sharrows) and Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs (BMUFL) in the Northern Virginia District. The formal title is BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE Signs and Shared Lane Markings, Northern Region Traffic Engineering Practice. It was written by Randy Dittberner, VDOT Traffic Engineer and dated April 10, 2012.

The guidance is meant to clarify how the devices should be used in our area. This is an important step in the implementation of these devices. We've heard that both devices will be installed on a few roads in Fairfax in the coming weeks. There will also be publicity to inform the public about why the devices are being used and what they mean.

From the guidance:

In order for these devices to be effective, they must not be overused, but rather limited to the locations where motor vehicle traffic, bicycle traffic, and roadway conditions combine to create the greatest need. As such, the following considerations apply when evaluating a roadway for the possible application of these devices:
  • Neither device shall be used on roadway segments with bike lanes, since a bike lane eliminates the need for these devices.
  • Neither device shall be used on roadway segments with paved shoulders 4 feet or more in width. Although cyclists are permitted to use the travel lane even where shoulders are present, these devices may inappropriately discourage some cyclists from using the shoulder.
  • Both devices should be limited to roadway segments designated by the local jurisdiction’s bicycle plan as part of its bicycle network.
  • Roadway segments with low traffic volume, less than 3,000 vehicles per day, should not need these devices, because they usually offer a sufficient cycling environment.
  • Neither device should be used on roadway segments with traffic volume greater than 30,000 vehicles per day or speed limits greater than 35 mph. Cyclists are generally permitted to use high-volume, high-speed roadways, but these devices may encourage novice cyclists to travel on a roadway above their skill level.
  • Both devices should be limited to roadway segments where travel lanes are delineated with longitudinal pavement markings or other methods. (Neither device should be used on undivided unmarked roadways.)
There is also specific guidance for the signs and sharrows:

BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE signs shall be used only where bicyclists are permitted by the Code of Virginia1 to use the full lane. The Code of Virginia permits bicyclists to use the full lane in a “substandard width lane,” which is defined as “a lane too narrow for a bicycle . . . and another vehicle to pass safely side by side within the lane.”

Where this condition is the reason for installing the sign, its use should be limited to roadway segments where the combined width of the right-most travel lane and any paved shoulder is 10.5’ or less, excluding the gutter pan, if any.

In order to avoid overuse of the signs that would reduce their impact and effectiveness, BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE signs should be limited to roadway segments used frequently by cyclists, or where cyclists report being intimidated by nearby motor vehicle traffic.
We are a little concerned that the signs only be used on roads 10.5' or less. Most of the roads in Fairfax are 11' or greater. This guidance seems to greatly reduce the number of locations where the signs could be used.

Following are examples of locations that may benefit from Shared Lane Markings:
  • Shared Lane Markings can provide guidance where there is a gap in or a terminus of an otherwise continuous bike lane, where constraints such as roadway width preclude the addition or extension of a bike lane.
  • Where on-street parking is permitted and frequently occupied, Shared Lane Markings can help cyclists choose an appropriate lane position, rather than riding too close to the doors of parked cars.
  • Where a roadway segment is wide enough for a bike lane in only one direction, the bike lane can be installed in the uphill direction and Shared Lane Markings can be used in the downhill direction, where cyclists are more likely to travel near the speed of motorists and may need to ride farther from the curb to have enough reaction time.
However, Shared Lane Markings shall not be used in any of the following situations:
  • As a substitute for a bike lane where conditions permit a bike lane to be marked
  • To provide wayfinding guidance to cyclists
  • To designate a roadway as a bicycle route
  • On a shared-use path or other facility where motor vehicle traffic is prohibited
  • In an exclusive turn lane, where they could communicate that cyclists are permitted to use the lane to travel straight through an intersection instead of using the appropriate through travel lane
The layout of Shared Lane Markings shall not vary from the figure depicted above.

When roadway segments with Shared Lane Markings are repaved, the segments should be evaluated to determine whether the pavement could be widened enough to mark a formal bike lane. Roadways with Shared Lane Markings should be a high priority for shoulder widening. If it is infeasible to widen the pavement, the segments should be evaluated to ensure that traffic and roadway geometric conditions continue to support the use of Shared Lane Markings.


A BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE sign and a Shared Lane Marking should not normally be used on the same roadway segment, unless extreme conditions, such as a documented volume of heavy cyclist traffic and severe roadway geometry, are present to a degree that using both devices together would provide a significant additional benefit to the traveling public.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Press conference on funding for bike facilities

America Bikes is a national coalition of bicycle organizations that advocates for a federal transportation law that provides adequate funding for bike facilities. They are holding a press event next Wednesday morning, May 9, on the Hill to announce new survey data about Americans' attitudes towards federal funding for sidewalks and bike lanes. A House-Senate conference committee is scheduled to begin formal negotiations on the latest Transportation Bill on May 8.

Senator Cardin (MD) and Representative Blumenauer (OR) will be at the press conference, as will Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists and others, to mark the release and discuss the importance of biking and walking for transportation.

The press conference will be on Wednesday, May 9 from 9:15 - 10:30 AM. At the House Triangle, located directly in front of the Capitol Building on the House side. The press event follows a National Bike to School Day celebration in Lincoln Park. From 7:30 - 8:30 a.m., school children will gather in Lincoln Park and ride in “bike trains” to nearby Capitol Hill public schools.

If you are not involved in Bike to School Day consider attending the press conference to ensure there is a good showing of folks with bikes. Biking and walking funds are on the line-funds that benefit bike projects in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.  Read the America Bikes press release about the event.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Fairfax County news release on National Bike Month

It's encouraging to see this news release from Fairfax County on National Bike Month:

May is National Bike Month 2012

May 4, 2012


  • Students are encouraged to bike or walk to school on Wednesday, May 9, the first national Bike to School Day.
  • Join others in biking to work on Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 18.
  • Bikes are allowed on Fairfax Connector buses, and bike lockers are available at three park and ride lots, along with . 

This month Fairfax County is encouraging residents and students to get around on two wheels instead of four.

May is Bike Month 2012, and biking to work, school or anyplace else is good for the environment, helps reduces traffic congestion, and benefits public health.

On Wednesday, May 9, students are encouraged to participate in the first national Bike to School Day by biking or walking. Marshall Road Elementary School, among others, will be joining in. Find out more about how to register or participate on the schools’ Bike to School Day page.

County residents also should consider commuting to work by bicycle on Friday, May 18 — Bike to Work Day 2012. There will be nine pit stops in Fairfax County where bike commuters can get free snacks, drinks, bicycle tune-ups. Find the pit stops locations and learn more on the county’s Bike to Work web page.

In Fairfax, .2 percent of residents commute to work by bicycle and 1.8 percent walk, according to 2010 Census estimates.

To encourage more two-wheeled commuting, Fairfax offers financial assistance to employers to create a bike benefit program for workers who commute by bike 80 percent of the time.
Bikes are allowed on Metro trains with some restrictions, and similarly, VRE allows bicycles on trains if they meet certain requirements. For those who want to ride to a train station, bike parking is available at most Metro stations, many VRE stations and the county’s Herndon-Monroe, Reston South and Sunset Hills park and ride lots.

Every Fairfax Connector bus is equipped with a bicycle rack, and there is no cost to bring a bike on board. Metrobuses also offer bike racks on every vehicle.

To plan out your ride, Fairfax created a comprehensive bike map that shows trails and routes countywide.

The county also is developing a bicycle master plan. This plan will guide the county in making improvements both on- and off-road for a more bike friendly community.

For more information about Bike to Work Day, county bike facilities, and maps, call the Fairfax County Department of Transportation at 703-324-BIKE (2453), TTY 711.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Congress urges Amtrak to provide roll-on/roll-off service to Pittsburgh

The Great Allegheny Passage has become a very popular destination for many touring cyclists. Several touring companies sponsor sagged tours, but I would guess the majority of riders are self-supported.

One of the challenges of self-supported touring is transporting your bike for one leg of the journey. Amtrak’s Capitol Limited Route between DC and Pittsburgh is one option. Currently your bike must be boxed for travel on the train. Roll-on/roll-off service would be much more convenient for cyclists and would likely attract many more passengers traveling the Passage.

We were encouraged to see that 18 members of Congress, including Representatives Connolly, Moran, and Norton, recently signed a letter to Joseph Boardman, President and CEO of Amtrak, asking that roll-on/roll-off service be provided:
May 2, 2012

Joseph H. Boardman
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Dear Mr. Boardman,

Thank you for your interest in providing enhanced bicycle service to your riders. We are encouraged by the prospects of Amtrak being able to offer roll-on / roll-off accommodations to travelers with bicycles on the Capitol Limited route and strongly urge you to move foreword with implementing these improvements as soon as possible.

As you know, the Capital Limited line parallels the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath, which together make a 335-mile bike trail that connects Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC. These trails were recently featured in the Washington Post travel section and are increasingly recognized as an international tourist destination. There are over 3.5 million visits to the Great Allegheny Passage trail system every year, many of them long distance riders who need transportation for themselves and their bicycles.

Roll-on / roll-off bicycle service is an important transportation improvement and will serve as a model for expunging this type of service nationwide. Providing these accommodations will help Amtrak attract new customers and will enhance tourism and economic development. These improvements are truly a winning proposition for everyone involved and we look forward to their successful implementation.

Thank you in advance of your attention tot his important issue. We look forward to continuing to work with you on solutions to allow this serve to begin as soon as possible, as well as long term options for dedicated rail equipment to handle bicycles efficiently and safely that help contribute to increased ridership for Amtrak, enhanced tourism, and economic development.


Bill Shuster, Earl Blumenauer, Corrine Brown, Mark S. Critz, Gerald E. Connolly, Peter DeFazio, Jeff Dunham, Mike Doyle, Bob Filner, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., Dennis J. Kucinich, Patrick Meehan, Jim Moran, Jerrold Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Laura Richardson, Tim Ryan, and Edolphus Towns, Members of Congress.

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May-June FABB Newsletter now available

A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

County Bicycle Master Plan
The final stage of the Bicycle Master Plan process is underway. FABB representatives went to all eight of the bike plan area meetings, which were very well attended. To see the area meeting 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.

Based on the existing Bicycle Route Map and cyclist input, a draft bicycle route network is being developed. However, there is more to becoming a bicycle-friendly community than bicycle route network recommendations. Our culture needs to change through bicyclist and motorist education, adequate enforcement of existing traffic laws, and fun, social bicycle events. We also need to know how many people are bicycling and how bicycle mode share is changing over time through a bicyclist counting program. Policy and program recommendations to address these needs will also be part of the final plan.

A countywide public meeting to present the draft plan is slated for June. Cyclists will then have an opportunity to comment on the plan. Once the meeting date is determined it will be announced on the project events page and on the FABB Events page. The bicycle plan will set the stage for bicycling in the County for the next 30 years. Having a comprehensive list of projects, programs, and policies in the plan is extremely important.

Fairfax County Budget
Thanks to all of you who wrote to the Board of Supervisors asking them to fund the Bicycle Program. Each Board member received more than 300 letters . FABB also testified before the Board at the budget hearings. After the hearings we met with Lee District Supervisor McKay to make our case for funding the Bicycle Program once again.

Despite the letters and testimony, the Board decided against any funding for the Bicycle Program, which means the program has no operating funds. Some money is available for projects from the Commercial & Industrial tax funds, but little money is available for such activities as bicycle education and encouragement, a bicycle counting program, and other non-infrastructure activities.

While we didn't succeed in getting funds for the program, we know that the Board heard from cyclists loud and clear that more needs to be done to make Fairfax a safer, more convenient place to bike. In our meeting with Supervisor McKay we suggested that Fairfax could benefit from a program similar to BikeArlington. At the May 1 Board of Supervisors meeting he presented a Board Matter asking staff to determine how Fairfax could implement such a program.

FABB Rides
This year we are planning several special rides and we're inviting all FABB supporters who are WABA members to join us (our insurance is through WABA). The first ride will be a social, no drop ride to the Udvar-Hazy Center the see the Space Shuttle Discovery on Saturday May 5. We plan to hold several similar rides (e.g. history of the W&OD Trail, cargo bike ride, Tysons tour, etc.) throughout the year that we'll announce on the FABB Events page.

Tour de Fat
Is DC ready for the Tour de Fat? For the first time the cycle-themed "carnival" will be held in DC this year at Yards Park on Saturday, June 16. The festival starts in the morning with a costumed bicycle parade. The day is filled with fun, bicycle-oriented activities. Tour de Fat is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Ale. They donate proceeds of Tour de Fat to local bike advocacy groups and FABB is one of the beneficiaries.

We need your help. FABB has agreed to provide volunteers to issue wristbands. We need several more volunteers in the morning (9 a.m. - 1 p.m.) and afternoon (1 p.m. - 5 p.m.). If you want to join the fun and help raise some money for FABB, please consider volunteering for Tour de Fat. To volunteer send an email to

Safe Routes to School - Bike to School Day May 9
The first ever National Bike to School Day is being celebrated around the U.S. on Wednesday, May 9. At least a dozen Fairfax County schools are participating, including Wolftrap and Marshall Road Elementary Schools, which will run bike trains that day. Is your local school participating?

FABB and other organizations participated in the Safe Routes to School National Training Course held at Herndon Middle School on April 26. The group learned strategies for developing SRTS programs in Fairfax and FABB members had a chance to network with staff from Fairfax County Public Schools, Police, VDOT, and parents and to discuss next steps for SRTS in Fairfax.

FABB reps also attended meetings on the Fairfax Co Public Schools Strategic Facilities Plan to discuss the importance of properly planning non-motorized access to our schools. We also pointed out the hidden costs and negative impact of building kiss & ride facilities. Why not take a minute to comment on the plan goals.

Fairfax County Parkway Trail
Several sections of the Fairfax Co Parkway are being repaved. VDOT held public meetings on the repaving and many cyclists turned out to argue that the adjacent trail should also be repaved. VDOT told us that the trail is not part of the repaving project, but they understand that the trail is in bad shape and needs to be repaved.

FABB members did an assessment of the trail that VDOT will use to help prioritize sections of the trail needing repaving if funds become available.

REI Donates Gear to FABB
REI donated bike panniers that will help us haul outreach literature and other materials that we use at community events where we discuss our work, answer questions, provide routing advice, and encourage cyclists to support FABB. This is our second donation from REI. Thanks to REI and especially to Rhonda Krafchin, Outreach Coordinator at REI Fairfax.

Bike Month
May is Bike Month and as you can see below, the month is packed with a long list of events. WABA is holding their major event of the year, BikeFest on Friday, May 11. This year the event will be held at Eastern Market in DC. Come on out and support the work of WABA, which is the sponsor of FABB. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and live music, and check out entries in this year's Bikebuild contest.  Register online.

Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 18. Register at and sign up for one of the 60 pit stop locations in the Metro DC area. If you're attending a Fairfax pit stop, why not invite your county Supervisor to join you?

FABB Fact: 47% of Americans say they would like more bike facilities in their communities. Source: National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior by Dawn Royal and Darby Miller-Steiger, NHTSA.

Events - For full details see the FABB Events Page

Thursday, May 3, 6:00pm - VDOT Six-Year Plan Meeting
Saturday, May 5, 9:00am - FABB ride to Udvar-Hazy Center
Sunday, May 6, 9:00am - Bike Rodeo at Wolftrap Elementary School
Wednesday, May 9 - National Bike to School Day
Thursday, May 10 - I-66 Multimodal Study Comment Period Ends
Friday, May 11, 8:00pm - WABA's BikeFest
Saturday, May 12, 3:00pm - Bike Rodeo at Oak View Elementary School
Monday, May 14- Friday, May 18 - Vienna Schools Bike/Walk Challenge Week
Wednesday, May 16, 7:30pm - FABB monthly meeting
Friday, May 18 - Bike to Work Day
Tuesday, May 22, 7:00pm - School Facility Planning Meeting
Saturday, June 16 - Tour de Fat
Wednesday, June 20, 7:30pm - FABB monthly meeting
Tuesday, June 26-29, Velo-city Global 2012

FABB BLOG - For other news and articles of interest, visit the FABB blog.

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative, sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network.
Visit us on the web.

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