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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