Sunday, March 31, 2013

Stringfellow Road meeting April 3

Stringfellow Road
On April 3 VDOT is holding a public meeting to discuss construction on Stringfellow Road. The road is being widened from two lanes to four lanes between Fair Lakes Boulevard and Route 50. Construction is expected to be completed in July 2015.

When the project was first proposed in 2007 FABB advocated that bike lanes be included on the road. Five-foot bike lanes were included in an early version of the plan but right-of-way concerns caused those lanes to be replaced by wide outside curb lanes. Even then there was strong opposition to any space on the road for bikes other than the normal travel lanes. The final road profile includes a wide outside lane, a 10-foot trail on one side and a five- to six-foot-wide sidewalk on the other.

The public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 in the library of Chantilly High School, 4201 Stringfellow Road. The construction schedule and traffic impacts will be discussed. Cyclists are encouraged to attend to find out how VDOT plans to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel along the corridor during construction. The existing paved side path is in very poor condition but is used by many cyclists and pedestrians and continued access during this project needs to be provided.

Labels: ,

(0) comments
Monday, March 25, 2013

More good news about Lawyers Road bike lanes

In 2009 VDOT changed Lawyers Road from a dangerous four lane road to a two lane road with bike lanes and a center turn lane. See our many blog entries about the project. While the new bike lanes are a great benefit for cyclists, the primary advantage of the new road is that is is a much safer road. Car crashes have significantly decreased, as have the speeds. Here is a report from VDOT that includes the latest crash statistics for the first two years after the project was implemented:
In the four years prior to the road diet, this part of Lawyers averaged 15 crashes per year. The literature suggested that we might see a crash reduction of 20% to 40%, but in fact, in the first two years after implementation, Lawyers averaged only 3 crashes per year, an 80% drop. Attached is a chart showing the crash history.

In addition to the crash reduction, the project also helped slow the worst speed offenders without negatively impacting travel time. Public support was mixed prior to the change, but after one year, 74% of survey respondents felt the change was an improvement to Lawyers Road.

Labels: , ,

(1) comments
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fairfax Co Parkway trail still unpaved

FFX Co Parkway Trail
looking south from Route 50
We heard recently that the section of Fairfax County Parkway Trail that had been closed for many months, between Route 50 and Monument Dr, was finally paved. Our source had only driven by the trail so we decided to ride there today to check it out. We also wanted to take our recumbent tandem for a spin since we haven't used it in a while.

We've written about this section of trail too many times. When we last wrote about it, nearly a month ago, VDOT had just opened it for use. It wasn't paved but at least it was open. It appeared that it would be paved any day. Well, almost no progress has been made. A long section of the trail is still unpaved.

Parkway Trail at Route 50
As you can see from the first photo, there's construction debris blowing across the trail and just beyond that is a wide eroded area. Just north of here (left photo) the trail is a mess, with trash scattered about and construction fences still up. Construction is still ongoing so we'll be pleased once the project is finally completed.

Closer to Monument Dr the trail has been paved. It's a nice, wide surface that extends down to Monument Dr.

It's unfortunate that it has taken so long to finish this trail segment. The road has been paved and open to traffic since November 2012.

Paved an unpaved sections
of the trail
We've scheduled a meeting with VDOT's Assistant District Administrator on April 9 April 10 to discuss the trail closure and how to keep it from happening on this and other trails in the future.

After checking out the trail we rode to lunch, stopped by REI to drop off some FABB rack cards, then tried to leave two used smoke alarms at the county landfill. It might have been the first time the folks at the landfill had seen customers on a recumbent tandem. They said not to worry, that we should just put the smoke alarms, that have radioactive sensors, in the trash.

Bikes parked in rack
in front of REI Fairfax Corner
It turned out to be a nice day. Unlike on the W&OD Trail, we encountered few cyclists. Running errands by bike is an easy way to get some exercise, discover new bike routes in the county, and save on gas.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Soapstone Connector meeting Wednesday

A new crossing of the Dulles Toll Road between Reston Parkway and Wiehle Ave in Reston is being studied by Fairfax County. The crossing would be an extension of Soapstone Dr which now has bike lanes that extend from Lawyers Rd to Sunrise Valley Dr.

The crossing would relieve congestion on the Reston Parkway and Wiehle Ave bridges, especially during rush hour. The new bridge would also provide easier access to the areas parallel to the Toll Road as they redevelopment. Bike-bus lanes are proposed on the bridge.

A meeting to discuss the Soapstone Connector Feasibility Study will be held on Wed., March 20 starting at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School. See a copy of the Soapstone Connector Feasibility Study.

While we would prefer a separated bicycle facility, a shared bike-bus lane should work. They have been successfully used in several cities around the world. See a streetswiki article about bike-bus lanes. There will also be "Facility accommodation for pedestrians." Unfortunately the study does not include a  bridge cross section diagram.

One concern for cyclists are the steep grades involved. The area is not flat and each of the proposed options includes 8% grades.

The bridge would eventually tie in to a planned new grid of streets that could help alleviate traffic on Sunset Hills Dr and Sunrise Valley Dr. The grid of streets and bridge would provide many more travel options through the area for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians and foster mixed-use, transit-oriented development.

It would be good for cyclists to attend this meeting (if you don't plan to attend the FABB meeting held at the same time) and speak out for bike facilities on the bridge.

Labels: ,

(0) comments
Monday, March 18, 2013

March-April FABB News

A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

Expanded Hours for W&OD Trail

Expanded hours signThe W&OD Trail is now open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. between Shirlington and Herndon. NVRPA recently installed signs along the trail showing the new hours and requirements for use after dark. This is good news for bike commuters and other people who need to use the trail at night. Most commuters currently ride on the trail after dark because they have few safe alternative routes. Technically speaking, trail users who travel from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and those who use the trail after dark west of Herndon are not complying with the requirements. These new hours are experimental and could be expanded (or restricted) in the future. If you have comments, send feedback to NVRPA.

According to the Extended Hours of Use Requirements, cyclists are required to "wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear" and to have a front and rear light. Trail users on foot are also required to have front and rear reflective clothing and they "must carry a light or wear a flashing light." This is good advice wherever you walk or bike at night!

FABB will be out on the trail over the next several weeks offering free lights to trail users. See the FABB blog for more details.

Bicycle Master Plan

TysonsPlanCoverThe county Bicycle Master Plan was completed in July 2012. We're hoping the plan goes before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this spring. In February Charlie Strunk, county Bicycle Program Manager, provided an update to the Bicycle Advisory Committee: "In these last four months FCDOT staff has been working on resolving outstanding agency comments, we have briefed the Planning Commission’s Transportation Sub-committee, and are now working with our own Long Range Planning Section and Planning and Zoning Department staff ensuring that content is in conformance with the County's Comprehensive Plan, Transportation Plan, and Virginia Code."

Fairfax County Parkway Trail now Open Between Route 50 and Fair Lakes Parkway

Due to construction of the Fairfax County Parkway overpass at Fair Lakes Parkway, the adjacent paved trail was dug up and closed for many months. Finally a replacement trail is taking shape. While parts of the new trail are not paved yet, the trail is now open. FABB tried to get the county and VDOT to provide a signed detour for trail users through a nearby neighborhood while the trail was closed, but despite numerous attempts, we were not successful. The Parkway Trail is a major commuter and recreational trail that never should have been closed without a suitable detour.

Fairfax County Parkway Water Main Construction Delayed

Fairfax Water is replacing a water main that was located under the existing Fairfax County Parkway trail just south of Fox Mill Road. The work has lasted for several years, but in contrast to the Fair Lakes project, Fairfax Water provided a detour for trail users. Construction was scheduled to be completed in 2012, but was delayed because "the original contractor was unable to complete the project and was declared in default." The new contractor expects to complete the work in summer 2014. See the Fairfax Water project page for details and a map.

Virginia Legislature Results

All bike safety bills introduced in this year's Virginia legislative session were defeated. Versions of these bills have been introduced in previous years, and we expect the bills to be introduced again next year. We hope support for the bills will continue to grow each time the bills come up and eventually they will pass. The legislature enacted a state transportation funding bill, and we will be exploring ways to use any new funds for bicycle projects, not only for road construction.

Fairfax County FY2014 Budget Released

Fairfax County is holding budget town hall meetings around the county from March 12-April 6. See a list of all scheduled meetings, which provide opportunities for citizens to discuss the proposed budget and give feedback to their county supervisors.

For the third year in a row there are no operating funds for the bicycle program in the FY2014 Fairfax County Budget. Operating funds would pay for small projects, wayfinding signage, and encouragement and education activities. On the other hand, the budget does include considerable funds for bike facilities in Tysons and Reston for improving access to the new Silver Line stations.

We plan to testify at the main public hearing before the Board of Supervisors during April 9-11 to ask for funds to implement a system for reporting aggressive drivers who harass cyclists. We will also ask for funding for BikeFairfax, an idea modeled on BikeArlington, to support bicycle safety education and encourage more people to travel by bike. See our blog post on Supervisor McKay's direction to staff to "investigate if this model would work for Fairfax County and help us achieve some of the goals of our Fairfax County Bicycle Plan."

To speak at the town hall meetings, just show up. You should sign up online to speak at the April 9-11 Board of Supervisor budget meetings.

2013 Bike to Work Day

Registration is now open for Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17. Several events will be held in Fairfax County: Burke VRE Station, Fairfax Corner, Herndon, Merrifield-Mosaic District (new), Merrifield-W&OD Trail, Collingwood Park (new), Reston, Springfield Metro at Walker Lane, Tysons Corner Center, and Vienna. We plan to have FABB reps at each of these events to provide route information, answer questions, and to ask people to sign up for our e-newsletter.

Upcoming Events

Many communities hold health and environmental fairs such as Earth Day, Arbor Day, and so forth during the spring, and we encourage everyone to ride your bikes and promote bicycling when you attend these events.

Wednesday, March 20 - FABB Monthly Meeting
Tuesday-Thursday, April 9-11 - Fairfax Co Budget Hearings
Wednesday, April 17 - FABB Monthly Meeting
Thursday, April 18 - Vienna Green Expo
Tuesday, April 23 - USGS and Freddie Mac Earth Day events
Saturday, April 27 - Paul's Ride for Life, Clean Fairfax Earth Day event, and Be Fit McLean
Wednesday, May 15 - FABB Monthly Meeting
Sunday, May 5 - Vienna Bike Safety Awareness Day
Friday, May 17 - Bike to Work Day
Saturday, June 1 - Tour de Fat


(0) comments
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Biking to the Wiehle Ave Metro Station

The following article, Biking to the Wiehle Avenue Metro Station, was posted on the Reston Patch today. Note in the comments section that two of the first three commenters joke about hitting cyclists. I don't find it amusing:
Reston bike routes from county bike map
It's been interesting watching the construction of the Wiehle Ave Metro station the past year or so. I often ride over the Toll Road bridge in the morning from my house located about a mile from the station. The trip takes less than 10 minutes. Most of Reston is located within two miles of the station, about a 15-20 minute bike ride.

Leading up to Bike to Work Day two years ago, I challenged our neighbors Del. Ken Plum and the Reston Association President Kathleen Driscoll to a commuter challenge from our neighborhood to the Reston Town Center.

I can remember waving at Ken as I passed him on the Wiehle Ave bridge; he was waiting at one of the traffic signals as I rode by on the trail. I beat Ken to the Town Center by a few minutes and we beat Kathleen, who took the connector bus, by about 20 minutes. For short trips bicycling is often faster than driving, especially when you consider the time to park and walk to your destination.

2-mile radius around Wiehle station
The Wiehle Avenue station is scheduled to begin service the end of this year. Biking to the station is one of the better options for getting there. In the massive new underground parking garage there will be 2,300 Metro parking spaces and 240 bike parking spaces in a secure bike room. Regular parking in the garage will likely be $4.75 or more per day. Cyclists can avoid that expense by paying a nominal fee for the bike parking.

What are the best bike routes to the station? The W&OD Trail is located less than one-quarter mile from the north station entrance. There is a multi-use trail that connects the W&OD Trail to the station entrance, although it needs to be repaved and widened. It also needs to be extended north to Baron Cameron. Unfortunately the shared bus/bike lanes that were recommended as part of the Reston Metro Access Group report (see chapter 3) are not being constructed on the western entrance to the station. Better bike facilities are needed in the immediate station vicinity to avoid conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians, buses, and cars.

From the south, the new bike lanes on Soapstone Dr and Lawyers Road will connect most cyclists living south of the Toll Rd and east of Reston Parkway. Those cyclists can use neighborhood streets or connecting trails to reach Lawyers or Soapstone and ride to Sunrise Valley Dr. The existing mutli-use trail along Sunrise Valley Dr will soon be upgraded. Bike lanes on Sunrise Valley Drive, recommended in the RMAG report, are a longer term travel option. Most Reston residents should be able to safely ride to the station. See the Fairfax County Bike Route map for details.

For some Metro passengers traveling to Reston, getting from the station to their destination will be a challenge. Cyclists could leave their bikes overnight in the bike parking room and retrieve them on their way to work in the morning.

Bike sharing is another possibility and is a great last-mile solution and could be implemented in Reston. The Capital Bikeshare system is very popular in DC and many people are using it as a supplement or alternative to public transit. There are also other, less costly systems like ViaCycle at George Mason University.

Bike sharing stations could be scattered around denser parts of Reston including the Village Centers, major employers, and the Town Center. Users of Capital Bikeshare pay an annual membership fee of $70. Any trips of 30 minutes or less are free. I'm a member and when I use the system I time my trips to ensure they take less than 30 minutes. Daily membership is available for $7. See the CaBi website for details.

While it's difficult for some people living here in the suburbs to consider using bicycles for transportation, there are a few of us who rely almost solely on bikes to get around. Before you say that it's not a viable solution, why not give it a try. I'm willing to ride with anyone who wants to know a safe route to the station. Contact me at

Or consider riding on Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 17.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments

Meeting tonight in Reston on Silver Line service

WMATA is holding a series of public meetings to discuss "service improvements to bus and rail coming along with the new Silver Line service to Tysons Corner and Reston.  We will be on-hand to discuss what the new service means to you, including changes to the Orange and Blue Lines, and local buses."

Tonight's meeting is in Reston, at the Hunters Woods Community Center from 5-8pm. This meeting conflicts with the VDOT public hearing on I-66 outside the beltway, so we hope cyclists are able to attend both meetings. We'll be at this Reston meeting to be available to discuss bicycle access to the new Wiehle Ave station.

The station will have 240 secure bike parking spaces in the new Reston Station development parking garage on the north side. There will also be 20 bike parking spaces on the south side. Bicycling to and from the station is by far the best option for those traveling short distances. Bike access needs to be improved but there are ways to bike to the station.

RCC Hunters Woods bike parking
The Wiehle Ave/Sunset Hills intersection is one of the most dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists and needs some safety measures, including narrowing the curb radii and widening the narrow sidewalk that connects the multi-use trail to the intersection.

Thursday, March 14, 5-8p
Reston Community Center Hunters Woods
2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, VA 20191
(Fairfax Connector: RIBS 1/3, RIBS 2 & Route 551)

Consider biking to the meeting. The community center recently installed better bike parking. As you can see from the photo on the right, when the racks are used as intended, bikes overlap. We've asked RCC management to move the racks 90 degrees.
(0) comments

VDOT public hearing tonight on I-66 outside the Beltway

Consider attending the VDOT public hearing being held tonight to discuss the Environmental Impact Statement on I-66 outside the Beltway: "The Tier 1 EIS is studying potential multimodal improvements that can address existing and future transportation needs in the Interstate 66 corridor from U.S. Route 15 in Prince William County to Interstate 495 in Fairfax County."

I-66 extends through the heart of Fairfax County. The Custis Trail should be extended from inside the Beltway along this stretch of the highway. Questions cyclists should pose include: Are bike facilities included parallel to I-66 as is required by the Fairfax Co Countywide Trails Plan? Can cyclists safely travel through I-66 intersections? Are there good connections to transit? Can cyclists access Park & Ride facilities and find good bike parking?

According to the EIS, "The identified needs to be addressed include: transportation capacity deficiencies, major points of congestion, limited travel mode choices, safety deficiencies, and lack of transportation predictability." All of these problems can be addressed with better bicycle connectivity. 

I-66 EIS Public Hearing
Thursday, March 14, 2013
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Luther Jackson Middle School
3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Labels: , ,

(0) comments

Connection article about FABB

Bicyclists Pedal Onward, Despite Legislative Losses; FABB promotes extended hours on W&OD Trail is the title of an article by Victoria Ross of The Connection. The article covers several topics, many of which were included in the latest FABB newsletter that we'll be posting shortly. The article also includes a schedule of upcoming events.


(0) comments
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Route 7 trail connection in Tysons

Back in October I wrote about the new trails on each side of the Route 7 bridge over I-495. Wide sidepaths were added to each side of Route 7 on this bridge when it was rebuilt as part of the I-495 Express Lanes/HOT Lanes project. At that time if you were headed west into Tysons from the Pimmit Hills area, the trail on the north side of the bridge came to an abrupt end at the Beltway exit ramp. See the photo on the right.

Today on the way back from a meeting near Tysons I rode across the bridge to check out this section and much to my surprise a new trail has been built that connects the bridge trail to a service road parallel to Route 7. The photo on the left is what it looks like now. I'm checking to find out who built the trail so I can thank them. This is a much-needed connection that is used by many people to travel to and from Tysons.

Earlier in the day on my way to the meeting I used the trail on the south side and met two cyclists. One of them looked as if he needed bike lights so I gave him a set of front/rear lights, a FABB legband, and a card explaining why we are handing out the lights. The card has a few of the rules of the road printed on the back. He was very grateful. A cyclist was killed in this area in 2008 while riding at night without lights, which is the main reason we started our light giveaway campaign.

Labels: , , ,

(3) comments
Monday, March 11, 2013

BikePortland article on Capital Bikeshare

Photo: BikePortland
Jonathan Maus of BikePortland was in town last week for the National Bike Summit. Jonathan used Capital Bikeshare to get around while he was in town. Portland plans to launch a bikeshare system next year.

Jonathan spent some time using the system and interviewing some of the CaBi crew including General Manager Eric Gilliland, formerly WABA's Executive Director (and an early supporter of FABB). The article, Behind the scenes of Capital Bikeshare, contains some good photos and information about the system. Here's an excerpt:
Capital Bikeshare employs 45 people; a mix of managers, mechanics, technicians and a street team (technically they're all employed by Alta Bicycle Share, the system's operator).

Most of the staff at Capital Bikeshare is made up of what are known as "rebalancers." They're in charge of making sure there are just the right number of bikes at any one of the stations at any given time. The term "rebalance" is used because they attempt to balance out the empty and full stations so users are assured either a bike to rent or a place to dock no matter where or when they need one.

Unlike a subway or bus system, where the passenger vehicles rotate through the routes consistently, there's a finite number of vehicles in a bikeshare system and a limited number of places to park them (each bike must be secured at an electronic docking station). And depending on topography, commute patterns, and special events — mass migrations of the bicycles from one part of town to another presents a challenge. The northwest part of DC, for example, is densely populated and it's on a hill. This means in the morning, thousands of people grab bikeshare bikes and roll into downtown.

"In the morning, we try to have [downtown] stations empty," explained Gilliland, "As they fill up, we sweep up the bikes and try to catch another wave of commuters."

Labels: ,

(0) comments

We need a bike trail parallel to I-66

The Custis Trail that parallels I-66 in Arlington is one of the most heavily used trails in Virginia, used by commuters and recreational cyclists. That trail should be extended along I-66 outside the Beltway.

VDOT is holding public hearings on the Environmental Impact Study on changes to I-66 between the Beltway and Route 15. According to VDOT: "Public hearings will focus on the Draft EIS, which reflects extensive traffic forecasting, analysis of how various transportation modes work in combination with others, and evaluations about possible impacts on the natural and human environments."

Cyclists are encouraged to attend the Fairfax public hearing this Thursday at Luther Jackson Middle School to find out how people who travel by bike will be accommodated by this project. Are bike facilities included parallel to I-66 as is required by the Fairfax Co Countywide Trails Plan? Can cyclists safely travel through I-66 intersections? Are there good connections to transit? Can cyclists access Park & Ride facilities and find good bike parking? If we don't make it safe and convenient for people to travel by bike, then they won't.

I-66 EIS Public Hearing
Thursday, March 14, 2013
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Luther Jackson Middle School
3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
For more info see the full Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Labels: , ,

(1) comments

Kojo Show on regions growing bike culture

The theme of the 12:00 segment of The Kojo Nnamdi Show is "Our Region's Growing Bike Culture." Guests include Shane Farthing, WABA Executive Director, and Chris Eatough of BikeArlington:
The weather's warming up, and there are more reasons than ever to get on a bike, whether it's to get to work, for exercise or for fun. New, safer green bike lanes are popping up all over our region, online interactive trip planners are making it easy to plan the safest route and Bikeshare is expanding. We talk bike safety, rules of the road and the campaign to get more women on bikes.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments
Saturday, March 9, 2013

Share the Road video from LAB and AAA

AAA and the League of American Bicyclists joined forces to produce a good video showing that "cyclists" are people: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. See the Streetsblogs post AAA Releases Bike Safety PSA at Bike Summit.

We're hopeful that AAA is sincere in their partnership with the League. AAA Mid-Atlantic has been one of the most consistently anti-bike organizations around. For details, search the term "AAA" on the WashCycle. We're hoping that the Mid-Atlantic office is just out of step with the rest of AAA.

Anyway, we like the video and hope it's seen by lots of people.

We're working on a recap of the bike summit; we'll post it any day now.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments

Bike parking at Halstead Square in Merrifield

It was a beautiful day to be out riding. We needed to run some errands so we rode from Reston to Merrifield to the Home Depot and to have lunch at Lost Dog Cafe. Lost Dog is located at Halstead Square, a new mixed-use development near Dunn Loring Metro station.

As you can see from the photo on the right, there's good bike parking conveniently located near the restaurant. U-type racks are well-spaced and installed properly.

After lunch we wanted to check out the Halstead apartments. We asked about tenant bike parking and were told that there are racks in the parking garage. What we found was disappointing. There were about 6 U-racks installed just a few inches from the wall. There should be a minimum of 24 inches between the rack and the wall.

There were a couple of bikes parked to plumbing fixture. Several bikes were double-parked. There are not enough racks and they are installed incorrectly. We were told there are racks on each level of the garage. One positive is that the garage requires key access.

According to the draft Fairfax County Guidelines for Bicycle Parking, there should be 1 long term parking space for every 5 units and 1 visitor space for every 25 units. There are 436 units so there should be 18 visitor spaces (9 U-racks) and 88 long term spaces (44 U-racks).  These requirements seem inadequate in practice. Most households have at least one bicycle, many have 2 or 3 bikes. Arlington requires 3 spaces for every 10 units (p. 33). Seattle requires 1 space for every 2 units.

On an earlier trip to Halstead Square we discussed giving them a bike-friendly award. They are making some good efforts at being bike-friendly. They have the right type of parking and provide more spaces than most similar developments. The details matter when it comes to bike parking. Racks need to be installed correctly and unfortunately in Fairfax that's rarely the case.

Labels: , ,

(1) comments
Friday, March 8, 2013

New bike shop in Herndon opens soon

Green Lizard Cycling, a new bike shop in downtown Herndon, plans to have a soft opening this weekend. We stopped by the shop today as shop staff were scurrying around getting ready for customers. I stuck my head in the store and the owner, Dave Meyer, introduced himself and told me a bit about the shop. There will be a coffee bar on the left as you enter the shop. They will sell road, hybrid, mountain, and kids bikes. They also plan to rent bikes.

Hefler Performance Coaching, a shop located nearby that does endurance athlete coaching, will move into a space in the back to the shop. They are currently located across the side street near Great Harvest Bread store.

This is a great location for a bike shop. The W&OD Trail is across the street and the bread store is nearby. Many cyclists pass through Herndon and lots of them stop by the bread store.

The Green Lizard Cycling website is just a template for now (lot's of "lorem ipsum" text). Their Facebook page has more current info. We wish Green Lizard good luck in their new venture. This is another sign of the popularity of cycling in this area.

Labels: ,

(0) comments
Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fairfax County budget meetings

Fairfax County is holding budget meetings around the county over the next couple of weeks. Below is a list of all scheduled meetings to discuss the budget and allow citizens to comment.

The FY2014 Fairfax County Budget was recently released. There appear to be no operating funds for the bicycle program. There are considerable funds for bike facilities in Tysons and Reston for improving access to the new Silver Line stations.

We plan to testify at the main public hearing before the Board of Supervisors in April (9-11) to ask for funds to implement a program for reporting aggressive drivers. We will also ask for funding for BikeFairfax, modeled on BikeArlington, to encourage more people to travel by bike. See our blog post on Supervisor McKay's direction to staff to "investigate if this model would work for Fairfax County and help us achieve some of the goals of our Fairfax County Bicycle Plan."

To speak at these town hall meetings, just show up. You can sign up online to speak at the April 9-11 Board of Supervisor budget meetings.

Town Hall Meeting



Springfield District Budget Meeting Springfield Governmental Center - 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield Wednesday, March 6 - 7:00 p.m.
McLean Budget Meeting McLean Community Center - 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean Tuesday, March 12 - 7:00 p.m.
Braddock District Budget Meeting Kings Park Library, Braddock Hall - 9000 Burke Lake Rd, Burke Wednesday, March 13 - 7:30 p.m.
Sully District Budget Meeting Rocky Run Middle School - 4400 Stringfellow Rd., Chantilly Wednesday, March 13 - 7:00 p.m.
Lee District Association Franconia Governmental Center - 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria Thursday, March 14 - 7:00 p.m.
Braddock District Budget Meeting Little Run Elementary School - 4511 Olley Lane, Fairfax Monday, March 18 - 7:30 p.m.
Mason District Budget Town Meeting Mason District Governmental Center - 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale Wednesday, March 20 - 7:00 p.m.
Hunter Mill District Budget Meeting Reston Community Center - Hunter Woods -- Rooms 3 and 4 - 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston Wednesday, March 27 - 7:00 p.m.
Braddock District Budget Meeting Robinson Secondary School (Lecture Hall) - 5035 Sideburn Rd., Fairfax Tuesday, April 2 - 7:30 p.m.
Great Falls Budget Meeting Great Falls Library - 9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls Tuesday, April 2 - 7:00 p.m.
Herndon Budget Meeting Herndon Town Council Chambers - 765 Lynn Street, Herndon Wednesday, April 3 - 7:00 p.m.
Hunter Mill District Budget Meeting Vienna Community Center - 120 Cherry St SE,  Vienna Saturday, April 6 - 10:00 a.m.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Virginia get together at National Bike Summit

We've been attending National Bike Summit events this week. Several FABB members attended the National Women's Bicycling Forum on Monday. For more info on the forum see the Women Bike Facebook page and impressions of the forum from SouthLakesMom

Later that afternoon Alta Planning hosted a get together of Virginia advocates who were in town for the summit. FABB's Fionnuala Quinn sent a note to attendees afterwards:
Mark Blacknell addresses the group
Thanks to all who attended Monday evening's event at Cuba Libre. It was a lively group gathered from Chesapeake/Norfolk, Blacksburg/Roanoke, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria. We were especially pleased at how many bike coordinators/officials from around the state were present.

Towards the end of the short evening, we held a Speed State Bike Summit with 2-minute apiece presentations (like speed dating but bikes):
In the next day or so we'll summarize some of what we heard at the summit. Thanks to Reston Bike Club for their generous support that allowed us to attend the summit.

Labels: , , , , , ,

(0) comments
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bike crashes in Fairfax County up 26%

2010 Fairfax Co Bike Crash Map
There were 106 reportable crashes involving bicyclists in 2012. That's an increase of 26% over 2011 when there were 84 reportable crashes. There were 86 crashes in 2010. We think the increase may be due in part because more people are cycling. We don't know since there is no formal bicycle count program in Fairfax. FABB has conducted some volunteer counts that show a significant increase in ridership since 2008 at one location.

PFC Bud Walker of Fairfax County police is tracking where those crashes occurred. His results are beginning to appear on the 2012 bike crash site. We are very interested in seeing the crash location map similar to the bike crash map produced in 2010. We used the online program BatchGeo to produce an unedited crash location map based on the tabular data. See the 2010 crash location tabular data and the 2011 location tabular crash data.

Once we have the final 2012 data and map we plan to spend some time analyzing the locations and crash types. We want to discuss with county leaders how this data can be used to help prioritize future bike facility improvements.

FABB recently purchased an inexpensive bike counter made by TrafficCOM. We plan to start testing it in the coming weeks and if successful, we'll start using it throughout the county. We'll be posting more about our tests.

Labels: ,

(6) comments
Sunday, March 3, 2013

Joe Dombrowski: Cycling's road forward

Northern Virginia's Joe Dombrowski, pro cyclist with Team Sky, is featured on the front page of today's Washington Post. The long article, Cycling's Road Forward: Can Joe Dombrowski Ride out of Lance Armstrong's Shadow?, describes Joe's ascent in the world of cycling. This year he will be riding with the world's number one team, Team Sky, that includes Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggens and runner up Chris Froome.

One of Joe's major events in 2011 was his epic ride with Wolfie's Bike Train during Vienna bike/walk challenge week. FABB member Jeff Anderson recruited Joe to ride with the kids. Joe set a furious pace during that ride but ended up finishing in the pack.

Joe is from Marshall, Virginia and he attended George Mason University. Skyline Drive was one of his training routes. His biggest win to date is the 2012 Girobio, the mini Giro d'Italia. Joe seems destined for a great pro cycling career and we expect the Joe Dombrowski wikipedia page to grow over time. From the Post article:
With dark-framed glasses and unassuming presence, Dombrowski looks more like a computer analyst than a world-class athlete. It wasn’t long ago that he was simply riding his bike on weekends along Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. As he kept getting faster, opportunities opened up, prompting him to leave his home near Warrenton, abandon his studies at George Mason University and uproot his life.

“It’s definitely unique when someone like that comes along because it doesn’t happen very often,” said George Hincapie, a veteran cyclist who has ridden the Tour de France 17 times.

Not long before he moved to France, Dombrowski sat in the living room of his parents’ home and explained his meteoric rise. A friend at Fauquier High School raced mountain bikes, and a teenage Dombrowski would ride trails with him for fun on weekends. When he finally entered a race, though, he was hooked. Suddenly, Dombrowski found himself on the bike every day.

“It was a dream to make it a career, but only in the sense like, you might play high school football and you’d like to play in the NFL,” he said. “You have to be realistic about it.”

Labels: ,

(0) comments
Friday, March 1, 2013

W&OD Trail use at night - UPDATE

Signs have begun appearing along the W&OD Trail listing "Extended Hours of Use Requirements." The trail is now open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. rather than from dawn to dusk.

This is good news for bike commuters and other night trail users. Most commuters currently ride on the trail after dark because there are often few safe alternative routes. I've been stopped twice by Vienna police when riding after dark. They told me to get off the trail.

There will still be problems for some commuters. 9:00 p.m. is an arbitrary time for closing the trail. How is that time different than 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. Last night I rode home from a meeting at WABA and returned after 9 p.m. According to the new regulations, I'm breaking the rules.

The regulations require that cyclists "wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear." How will this be enforced? Cyclists are currently not required to use reflective clothing when riding on the road. Cyclists are also required to have a flashing taillight, which under Viriginia code is only required when riding on a road with a speed of 35mph or greater. Both of these "regulations" are good suggestions, but it's unfortunate that a cyclist who can ride legally at night on the road would be breaking the trail rules under certain conditions.

Trail users on foot are also required to have reflective clothing front and rear and they "must carry a light or wear a flashing light." This requirement will be difficult to enforce but should be welcomed by most cyclists. It's disconcerting to come upon an unlit pedestrian at night wearing dark clothing.

FABB will be out on the trail over the next several weeks offering free lights to trail users.

It would have been nice had NVRPA asked trail users to weigh in on the regulations. It's a step in the right direction and thanks to NVRPA for making the change.

Here are the new requirements:

  • Extended hours of use will be from sunset until 9:00pm and from 5:00am to sunrise. Use of the trail outside of these hours is not permitted.
  • Bicyclists are required to wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear. All bicycles shall be equipped with at least one white headlight that is visible in clear weather from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector visible from 600 feet to the rear. Additionally, bicycles must be equipped with a taillight visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. This taillight may be affixed to the bicycle or rider and may be steady blinking.
  • Trail users on foot are required to wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear and must carry a light or wear a flashing light.
Update: March 1, 2013

W&OD Trail Announces Extended Hours

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is excited to announce that for the very first time, cyclists and pedestrians will now have access to the W&OD Trail beyond normal daylight hours. This extended hours program goes into affect as of today, March 1, 2013.

The new W&OD Trail hours are from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., from Shirlington in Arlington County, all the way to the western town limit of Herndon in Fairfax County. Previously, the trail was considered off limits once the sun set.

“I am happy to see that NVRPA sees the W&OD as the premiere bike route in the region,” said Allen Muchnick, a board member at the Virginia Bicycling Federation.
“This pilot program will help many cyclists that want to use their bikes for transportation and not just recreation.”

NVRPA has accordingly created a few new rules to ensure that the extended hours are as safe as possible for its users. For cyclists, riders are required to wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear. All bicycles must be equipped with at least one white headlight light that is visible in clear weather from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a red reflector visible from 600 feet to the rear. Additionally bicycles must be equipped with a taillight visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. This taillight may be affixed to the bicycle or rider and may be steady or blinking. Pedestrians, are required to wear reflective clothing that can be easily seen from the front and rear and must carry a light or wear a flashing light.

In addition, NVRPA notes that exceptional care should be taken when crossing highways including obeying all laws and posted signage. Trail users are also required to follow all existing rules and regulations governing the use the trail.

“As we all look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and improve both our health and environment, cycling to work is one great option. We want to be part of the solution, and help make this kind of healthy choice an option,” said NVPRA Executive Director Paul Gilbert. “Making the W&OD available during commuting hours is a significant step in the movement to encourage more non-motorized transportation.”

NVRPA has posted nearly a dozen signs along the extended hours route to help make riders and pedestrians aware of the rules governing the new hours.

Labels: , ,

(7) comments
Contact FABB via email:

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter

Subscribe to posts:
[Atom 1.0] or [RSS 2.0]

  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?