Thursday, May 3, 2012
May-June FABB Newsletter now available
MAY-JUNE 2012 FABB News
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 biketoworkdaymetrodc.org 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.