Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Did you see the ELF pass through Fairfax County this week?

The ELF is a pedal and electric-powered vehicle produced by Organic Transit, a company located in Durham, NC. Mark Stewart from Massachusetts recently flew to Durham to pick up his newly purchased vehicle and is riding it home. It sounds much like the velomobiles that passed through on the W&OD Trail two years ago.

Mark passed through Reston this week. Here's the full text of an article from, Not a car or bicycle, but a blend - an ELF vehicle:
RESTON, Virginia (AP) — A Massachusetts man is taking his car-bicycle blend "Organic Transit Vehicle" — also known as an ELF bike — on a 1,200-mile trip from North Carolina to Massachusetts this summer, turning heads as the unusual-looking green vehicle zips through city streets.

What Mark Stewart is driving looks like a cross between a bicycle and a car with solar panels, a gently humming motor and a futuristic shape. It's a "green" option for today's commuters.

"It reminds me of when I saw a Smart car the first time," said Joanne Bury as she emerged from her Reston condominium building to take a look at the vehicle. "This is incredible. What is it?"

Stewart, a 65-year-old family therapist and school psychologist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, took the summer off in order to drive his new vehicle more than 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) on trails and roads using the East Coast Greenway, a bike and pedestrian trail that runs from Canada to Key West.

Stewart began his journey by flying down to Durham, North Carolina, on July 15, and estimates that the entire trip will take about a month. He covered the first leg, from Durham to Reston, Virginia, over roughly five days, 60 miles (95 kilometers) at a time.

The ELF, or "Organic Transit Vehicle," can go for 1,800 miles (2,895 kilometers) on the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. It does not require the insurance, repair and car maintenance costs of the average vehicle. Besides the cost of the occasional new tire, the ELF runs completely off what it costs to charge its battery.

Stewart bought the ELF from Durham-based Organic Transit, which sells them for a base price of $5,000. He said he wanted to avoid the almost $1,000 delivery charge, so he decided to fly down to pick up the bike in person and learn how to operate it before taking the long trip back home.

"I spent three days in the shop hanging with the guys there and learning the vehicle," Stewart said. "This is just an unsupported solo trip up here in a vehicle that nobody else really knows."

Stewart's ELF is only about the 40th to come off the production line. While few bike shop workers have seen the contraption, the materials, such as the tires and pedals, are items on your average bicycle.

Organic Transit CEO Rob Cotter took technology from aircraft, boats and bicycles and incorporated them into a "green" 130-pound (59-kilogram) vehicle. He was consulting on bike-sharing technologies being considered by New York City when he saw there was a market for his vehicle.

"A combination of environmental catastrophes, high fuel costs, climate change and a migration of people moving to the cities all combined for a trend of people looking for an automotive alternative. But not everyone can fit a bicycle into their daily life," Cotter said.

Demand has grown significantly, and Organic Transit has opened a second factory. The company is working on its 75th bike, with more than 200 already sold or reserved with a deposit.

While the ELF is classified as a bicycle by Organic Transit, the laws surrounding such a vehicle vary. In the District of Columbia, where Stewart's GPS was taking him, the ELF is not allowed on the bike trails and paths. The city classifies it as a motorized bicycle.

"They can't operate the unit on a sidewalk, they can't park on a street and they can't operate on off-street bike trails or bike routes," said Monica Hernandez of the city's Department of Transportation. "The only thing you can do (on the street) is stop to unload or load the unit."

Stewart says so far he's only gotten looks of curiosity.

"A lot of cops have gone by me no one's said boo. They'll look, they're interested but they don't question its right to be on the road," Stewart said.

Labels: , ,

(1) comments

Fees set for Wiehle station bike room

Wiehle station bike room under construction
Photo: Fairfax County
At today's meeting the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors set the fee for use of the secure bike parking room at the Wiehle Ave Metrorail station at $75/year. From Reston Patch:
The yearly membership fee for using the secure, bike locker room will be $75, the supervisors said. The “Bike & Ride” indoor locker room, the first of its kind for the county, will accommodate over 200 bikes and include two small, repair stations and benches.

Free, unsecured bike parking will also be available in the garage, along with a future Capital Bikeshare docking station, the county says.
The county had hoped to offer a short term rental option available for 5 cents/hour during the day and 2 cents/hour at night. Over the course of a year of regular use the cost would be similar to the annual rate. However, many people like myself will not be using the facility on a daily or even weekly basis. We will want the option of a secure room for infrequent trips on Metro. To do so will require paying the $70 fee. In the future we hope an hourly rate will be possible.

Once we learn the details of how to sign up for the bike room we'll post them here.

Labels: ,

(0) comments
Monday, July 29, 2013

Fairfax County receives grant to hire Safe Routes to School Coordinator

Fairfax County Public Schools recently received a grant from the Virginia Safe Routes to School program to hire a full-time Safe Routes to School coordinator. Hiring a SRTS coordinator has been a major goal of FABB for the past several years. We worked closely with Doug O'Neill of Fairfax County Public Schools, Christine Green, the Greater Washington DC Regional Policy Manager, and members of the School Board to develop the grant proposal. Thanks to Doug and Christine for their hard work. Thanks to the School Board for their support, and thanks also to Jeff Anderson of FABB who led our effort.

The coordinator will be working with school staff, parents, FABB, and others to encourage more kids to walk and bike to school. We're hoping this will mean improved bicycle and pedestrian safety education for all county school children, more events like Walk to School and Bike to School Days, improved bicycle infrastructure, and a safer biking and walking environment around schools.

From the latest VDOT Safe Routes to School newsletter:
VDOT Awards Four Non-infrastructure Grants
Four school communities were recently awarded SRTS non-infrastructure grants. The school submitted their application for funding in December 2012, with an eye on implementing programs in the 2013-2014 school year. The grants are an important resource for school communities that intend to establish life-long walking and bicycling habits for their youth and to foster a sustainable safe routes to school culture within each community.

Fairfax County Public School, $99,300

Division-wide program with SRTS coordinator at 165 schools. Activities include local SRTS training and toolkits, walk/bike to school day activities, and program evaluation.

Lynchburg City Public Schools, $78,000

Division-wide program with SRTS coordinator at seven schools. Activities include route map development, safety curriculum, bike/walk to school days, walking club, crossing guard training, and program evaluation.

City of Galax, $54,750

Division -wide program with SRTS coordinator at three schools. Activities include "school zone" plan development, bike/walk to school day activities, bicycle library, and program evaluation.

Macy McClaugherty Elementary - Giles County Public Schools, $6,000

Single school program, activities include bicycle/pedestrian safety education and outreach, law enforcement coordination, policy development, and program evaluation.

Labels: , , ,

(1) comments
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wiehle Ave Metrorail station bike room under construction

Today Fairfax County staff are installing bike racks and other equipment in the Wiehle Ave Metrorail station bike room that is part of the Reston Station development by Comstock. The room will have secure, card-accessed parking for approximately 240 bikes. There will be racks outside the bike room available to everyone. There will also be two Fixit stations similar to, if not the same as, the Fixit station made by Dero. The fee structure and card system for accessing the bike room have not been finalized.

Here's a photo of some of the racks being installed today. The tall black racks will accommodate several bikes hung by their front wheel.  The red U racks leaning against the will each hold 2 bikes and will be lined up around the room:

We just learned today that Phase I of the Dulles Rail project, which includes the Wiehle station, will be delayed by approximately eight weeks. The original start date for Metro service was late December. The delay pushes that date back at least until late February.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FABB monthly meeting on Wed. at 7:30pm

All are welcome to attend the July FABB meeting on Wednesday evening at Patrick Henry Library in Vienna near the W&OD Trail. Below is the agenda:

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry Library, Vienna
  1. Introductions
  2. Review of June meeting minutes
  3. Fairfax Bike Summit - Jim Benton
  4. County report - Charlie Strunk, FFX Co Bike Coordinator
  5. Chairman’s report - Bruce
  6. Other business
Upcoming events (for details see the FABB Events page)
  • July 22, Monday - Jeff Speck, Understanding Urbanization, 7pm, Reston Association
  • August 4, Sunday - Tour of the Towns, Tour of Prince William County
  • August 21, Wednesday - FABB monthly meeting
  • November 2, Saturday - 2013 Fairfax Bike Summit


(0) comments
Monday, July 15, 2013

Herndon meeting on the Herndon Parkway/Van Buren St intersection project

The Town of Herndon is holding a public information meeting on proposed changes to the  intersection of Herndon Parkway and Van Buren St. The meeting is Wednesday at 6:30pm. See below for details.

A planned cycle track on the south side of Herndon Parkway ends at Van Buren St and any changes to the intersection such as additional lanes will impact cyclists.

Herndon cyclists are encouraged to attend the meeting and find out how bicyclists will be accommodated in any proposed changes.
Join the Herndon Department of Public Works staff for a public information meeting about improvements planned for the intersection at Herndon Parkway and Van Buren Street.

· Review the options
· Learn how the plans address intersection congestion
· Ask questions and provide comments

Meeting Date: July 17, 2013
Plans Available for Review: 6:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Meeting Begins: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Mary Ingram Council Chambers
765 Lynn Street
Herndon, VA

For more information please contact us at or call (703) 435-6853

Labels: , ,

(1) comments

Cyclist struck by motorist in Vienna on July 6

According to Vienna Patch, a cyclist was struck by a motorist while the cyclist was riding on Maple Ave near Courthouse Road, about a block and a half west of the W&OD Trail. Vienna Police are seeing more information on the crash:
A bicyclist hit by a driver on Maple Avenue told police the driver stopped after the accident, but left the scene without providing his information.

The man told police he was traveling west on Maple Avenue at 7 p.m. July 6 when he tried to enter the left turn lane near Courthouse Road SW.

As he entered the turn lane, a vehicle side swiped his bicycle, knocking him to the ground, according to the Vienna police report.

The driver stopped, but left the scene without exchanging information.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Vienna Police Department at 703-255-6396 or

Labels: , ,

(0) comments
Sunday, July 14, 2013

FABB Social ride wrap-up

We were lucky the predicted rain held off yesterday for the FABB Social Ride in the Vienna/Merrifield area. Fourteen of us gathered at the Mosaic District in front of Angelika Theater where families were watching cartoons on the outdoor theater screen and playing in the fountain. Thanks to Pete of Fresh Bikes for bringing a bike stand, pump, and tools to offer help to any cyclists in need. It was impressive that he hauled all the gear on his cargo bike.

Shortly after 10 the group headed south on Eskridge Rd toward the Cross  County Trail. The trail had been flooded earlier in the week but by Saturday the water had receded. The trail alternates between potholed paved sections and gravel. Given there are so few options for traveling between Gallows and Pickett Roads south of Lee Highway there's a strong argument for paving that entire section of the CCT.

At Pickett Road we saw the location of a new tunnel under Pickett that will provide a great connection across this busy road. Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority recently received a grant to help fund this connection. From there were headed north to the Vienna Metro station, then to Tapawingo Rd which is a connection to the W&OD Trail.

We turned onto Cottage St. and rode to Gallows Road and south past Dunn Loring Metro station to reach Lost Dog Cafe where most of us stopped for a good lunch.

We'd like to hold a few more Social Rides in the next couple of months. Thanks to everyone who came out to join the ride.

Labels: , , ,

(1) comments
Thursday, July 11, 2013

New bike videos from LAB

The League of American Bicyclists recently released several new educational videos. Videos are organized in three broad categories, Better Bicycling, Riding Tips, and Bikes & Gears. They are based on the principles taught in the League's Traffic Skills 101 course, much of which is contained in the online version at

While I haven't watched them all, the videos appear to be very well done. As a League Cycling Instructor I will likely use the videos in my classes in the future. From the League:
The online Smart Cycling program is designed to develop your knowledge of bicycling safety by using lessons, interactive components and videos. Here you will learn about the different types of bikes and bicycling gear. You will learn techniques for improving your ride, your rights as a bicyclist and how to ride safely on the road.
Below is the Intersection Positioning video:

Labels: , , ,

(0) comments

Another motorist on W&OD Trail posted an article today about a Florida motorist who turned onto the W&OD Trail at Columbia Pike saying that his GPS led him astray. He was escorted off the trail at Glencarlyn Park:
Image from ARLnow via Google Maps
A Florida man has been charged with reckless driving after driving nearly a mile on the W&OD trail in Arlington yesterday (Wednesday) evening.

The man was in a rental car with his wife and kids when he drove northbound onto the trail at Columbia Pike, according to Arlington police spokesman Lt. Mike Watson. After receiving numerous calls from trail users, a police officer on a motorcycle caught up with the vehicle, a Chrysler 300 sedan, in Glencarlyn Park.

According to Watson, the man claimed that a GPS navigation system on his phone directed him to use the trail. The Florida resident was issued a court summons for reckless driving and was escorted off the trail and back onto local roads, Watson told

While trying to catch up with the errant driver, police officers marveled at the fact that he didn’t realize he was driving on a bike trail.

“He must think it’s the world’s smallest two-lane highway,” one said on a police radio channel. No one was hurt during the incident.

Last month, a McLean woman was arrested after allegedly driving five miles while drunk on the W&OD trail in Fairfax County, striking and seriously injuring a 65-year-old bicyclist in the process.

Also last month, gates were installed on the Capital Crescent Trail in Northwest D.C. to prevent drivers from mistaking it for a road. No such gate was in place where the man entered the W&OD trail yesterday.
Let's hope no one suggests gates on the W&OD Trail crossings which we think would be extremely dangerous for cyclists, not to mention inconvenient for riders of unconventional bikes such as trikes, long wheelbase recumbents, tandems, and others.

Hat tip to dcist.


(0) comments
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Contributory negligence law is a "dinosaur" says MD judge

Only Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina and the District of Columbia have a law that states that if a person is injured and is only partially at fault, they cannot recover any damages if the other party is mostly at fault. This law is commonly referred to as contributory negligence. All other states use the much more fair comparative negligence which allows for comparative damages to be assessed rather than an all or nothing determination as in contributory negligence.

A Maryland court recently upheld their contributory negligence law, stating that they would not change the law since the MD legislature has refused to do so in 21 attempts over a 16 year period. One of the dissenting judges called the law a dinosaur.

Virginia cyclists have debated trying to change the law as it has been used against cyclists in crashes with motorists. However, it would require fighting significant support for retaining the law by the business community. A rep for the National Federation of Independent Business thinks comparative negligence, legal in 45 states, would be bad for business: "abandoning contributory negligence would have only led to uncertainty, rising insurance premiums and an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits for employers."

From the Post article Maryland court upholds contributory negligence law:
In a 5-2 ruling, the Court of Appeals declined to change the law of contributory negligence. Retired Judge John Eldridge noted that attempts to change the law in the Legislature have failed consistently.

“For this court to change the common law and abrogate the contributory negligence defense in negligence actions, in the face of the General Assembly’s repeated refusal to do so, would be totally inconsistent with the court’s long-standing jurisprudence,” Eldridge wrote.

The law was last reviewed by the Maryland court 30 years ago. From 1966 to 1982, the Maryland General Assembly considered 21 bills seeking to change the contributory negligence standard, and none of the measures were enacted.

Judge Glenn Harrell, writing in dissent along with recently retired Judge Robert Bell, compared the law to “a dinosaur.”

“With the force of a modern asteroid strike, this court should render, in the present case, this dinosaur extinct,” Harrell wrote.

Harrell noted that only Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina and the District of Columbia still have the law. Harrell wrote that 46 states use a comparative negligence system that reduces the damages an injured person can receive in proportion to his or her degree of fault.

“The all-or-nothing consequences of the application of contributory negligence have long been criticized by scholars and commentators,” Harrell wrote.


(0) comments

FABB Social Ride this Saturday - Merrifield/Vienna tour - Note 10am start time

Join FABB for a casual tour of the Merrifield-Vienna area. The tour will start at the Mosaic District in front of Angelika Theater. We will ride south to the Cross County Trail to the City of Fairfax Connector Trail to the Vienna Metro station, Town of Vienna, and Dunn Loring Metro station. We will ride at a slow pace as a group on local streets and trails. A section of the Cross County Trail is unpaved. The tour is approximately 12 miles. There is an optional stop at Lost Dog Cafe for an early lunch. Free registration is required.

Date: 7/13/2013 at 10 am. In the case of rain we will notify registered riders via email and a message on the FABB home page.

About the Ride:
  • Riders will depart at 10am from Angelica Theater in the Mosaic District. The ride is a combination of neighborhood streets, and multi-use trails. A section of the Cross County Trail is unpaved. 
  • The ride is a loop of about 12 miles 
  • This is a no-drop social ride at a 10-12 mph pace. There will be stops along the way. 
  • The ride is for adult WABA Members. Children 14-18 may participate if they are accompanied by an adult WABA member. 
  • FABB will provide Ride Marshals for the ride 
What to Bring:
  • Your bike 
  • Helmet (required no exceptions) 
  • Lock to secure your bike at the cafe 
  • WABA membership number 
  • Water and a snack, sunscreen 
  • Cash for purchasing an optional lunch at Lost Dog Cafe near Dunn Loring Metro station 
How to Get There?

The Angelika Theater is located in the new Mosaic District near the intersection of Gallows Road and Lee Highway in Merrifield. Angelika Theater is located at 2911 District Ave, Fairfax , VA 22031. It's a short ride from the Dunn Loring Metro station. Take Prosperity Ave to left on Merrilee Dr which turns into Eskridge Rd after crossing Lee Hwy. Turn left on Strawberry Lane. Angelika Theater is on your right. If you cannot bike to the start, there is free parking nearby.

Optional Lunch/Brunch:

Please indicate whether you plan to stop at Lost Dog Cafe after the ride.

Labels: , , , , ,

(3) comments

Virginia bike news

Arrests made in Reston trail assault - A number of assaults occurred on Reston trails earlier this summer. Police speculated that they were linked. According to Reston Patch, arrests were made in one of the attacks. "Police have charged one adult and three juveniles in connection with the June 7 robbery and assault near Pinecrest Road. The adult, Ali Lewis, 19 of Freetown Court, Reston was charged with robbery on June 21, Fairfax County Police said."

Richmond Region Ride Center receives $50,000 donation - The ride center is located at Pocahontas State Park located just southwest of Richmond. The center will eventually include 50 miles of off-road trails. "An additional $490,000 would be needed for a new trail head with expanded parking, a restroom and event staging area." According to a recent study, the trail improvements will have an annual economic impact of $4.5 Million and create 51 new jobs."

Reston Town Center Grand Prix nixed for 2014 - According to Reston Patch, "Boston Properties, owner of the property, told Evolution Cycling Club, which operates the annual event, that ongoing construction and new residential and retail openings coming up made the race unworkable for the future."

Labels: ,

(0) comments

Police news release on bicycle and pedestrian safety

Fairfax Police sent out the following news release yesterday on bicycle and pedestrian safety. As we reported in our latest newsletter, we recently met with police to discuss this issue. We're a bit disappointed in the release, copied below.

It states that "An 18-month study of reportable bicycle crashes shows that at least a quarter of the bicyclists were not wearing reflective clothing at the time of the crash; five bicyclists were reported to have been drinking alcohol and about 44% were performing an improper action such as: operating on the wrong side of the road, failing to maintain proper control or disregarding a stop or yield sign." 

Wearing reflective clothing, always a good idea, is not required by law. The discussion focuses soley on actions of the bicyclists. What about motorists? In more than half of all bike/motorist crashes (57%), motorists were at fault. Shouldn't there be some mention of motorist's actions that cause crashes such as speeding, distracted driving, failing to maintain proper control, disregarding a stop or yield sign, drinking? We'll relay our concerns to our police contacts.

Here's a copy of the news release:

Police Stress Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety this Month

The Traffic Division of the Operations Support Bureau and the Patrol Division of the Fairfax County Police Department urge motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians to be vigilant this July.

The number of cyclists involved in crashes increased from 85 in 2011 to 106 in 2012. So far in 2013, there have been 45. An 18-month study of reportable bicycle crashes shows that at least a quarter of the bicyclists were not wearing reflective clothing at the time of the crash; five bicyclists were reported to have been drinking alcohol and about 44% were performing an improper action such as: operating on the wrong side of the road, failing to maintain proper control or disregarding a stop or yield sign. Police are working with private cycling groups around the region to increase public education efforts on bicycle safety issues.

The police department reports an increase in pedestrians involved in crashes as well. There were 201 in 2012; up from 185 in 2011. So far this year, there have been 98. Police urge pedestrians to learn more about safety issues at

To learn more about bicycle safety laws, check

Labels: ,

(2) comments
Monday, July 8, 2013

July-August FABB Newsletter now available

A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

2013 Fairfax Bike Summit on Bicycle-Friendly Tysons

pict0043-706398Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is planning its 2013 Fairfax Bike Summit, which will focus on “Tysons: A Bicycle-Friendly Community.” The summit will be held at George Mason University on Saturday, November 2, and is open to everyone from interested citizens to community leaders. The registration fee will be $25. Program details and registration information will be available at

Fairfax County is undertaking a major transformation of Tysons in an effort to create livable, walkable, automobile-independent neighborhoods. Four new Metrorail Silver Line stations are part of the foundation of that transformation.

The goals of the summit are to:
  • Discuss the importance of bicycling to the future of Tysons
  • Expand community understanding of bike transportation options
  • Explain community-wide benefits of bicycling
  • Encourage bicycling transportation options for all ages
The success of the Tysons transformation could influence transit-oriented developments across Fairfax County for the next 40 years. From Merrifield to Springfield, Huntington to Reston, bicycle-oriented transportation options must be integral parts of future developments.

The summit is staged by Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, in partnership with George Mason University, Fairfax County, and the City of Fairfax. If you are interested in volunteering or exhibiting at the summit, contact us at Hope to see you there!

FABB Benefits from Tour de Fat

FABB once again volunteered at Tour de Fat, which was a great success this year. The bike festival raised over $20,000 for local bike groups, which included over $2,000 for FABB to further our advocacy goals. Thanks to New Belgium Brewery, WABA, and everyone who participated in Tour de Fat.

Meeting with Fairfax County Police to Discuss Bicycle Safety

FABB recently met with Deputy County Executive Rohrer and Capt. Cullen and Lt. Grinnan of the Fairfax County Police Department Traffic Division to discuss how FABB can work with Fairfax County police to improve bicycle safety. Shane Farthing of WABA also attended. Our primary goal is to work with police to ensure that all officers know Virginia law that applies to bicyclists. We also want police and cyclists to know what can be done when cyclists report harassment by motorists. We agreed that FABB would work with police to help produce a police training video on cyclist rights. If you have expertise in this area and would like to help, contact us.

Fairfax County Applies for Bike Sharing Funding

Fairfax County recently applied for funding of a bikesharing feasibility study through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation/Land Use Connections (TLC) Technical Assistance Program. "The TLC Technical Assistance Program provides focused consultant assistance to local jurisdictions working on creative, forward-thinking and sustainable plans and projects."

The study will focus on the Reston area. Reston has a network of recreational trails, concentrated mixed-use development at the Reston Town Center, Village Centers located within easy biking distance of most residents, and the soon-to-be-completed Wiehle Ave Metrorail station. Much more needs to be done to make Reston truly bike-friendly but we think bike sharing could work there.

Interactive Fairfax County Bike Route Mapping Tool

interactivemapThe Fairfax County Bike Program recently updated their Bicycle Program website. The site now includes the Bike Fairfax Interactive Map containing GIS layers from the printed route map along with several other map layers. The printed route map was an early goal of FABB and has been available for several years. FABB helped to create the map by advocating for funding and reaching out to local cyclists to map bicycle-friendly routes.

Users can choose from several background maps including streets, streets with topography, elevation, imagery, and a background image provided by National Geographic. One of the most interesting background maps is from OpenStreetMap, a public domain source created by the user community. It contains very detailed trail information in some areas.

The map layers are derived from the paper Bicycle Map but they also include more detailed trails shown in the Fairfax Trail Buddy layer. A sidewalk layer only appears at very large scales. An interesting feature is the ability to click on a map element and find out more information. Clicking on a road symbol brings up the meaning of the symbol (usually Preferred or Less Preferred), who maintains the facility (almost always VDOT), the speed limit, and the bicycle level of service category (A-F).

When the trail layer is queried, the width and surface are displayed along with who maintains the trail. We often find trails in poor condition and determining who is responsible for maintenance is difficult. Now we have a source to find out who to call. While the data are not complete, the interactive map is a great resource.

New McLean Bike Route Signage

IMG_0809Fairfax County Department of Transportation has installed approximately 80 bike route signs providing directions and destination information throughout the downtown area of McLean. Dranesville Supervisor Foust was instrumental in getting funding for purchasing and installing the signs. McLean cyclists helped define the routes and determine sign locations.

Bike route directions point riders to the future Silver Line Tyson-McLean and West Falls Church Metrorail stations. The signage also directs cyclists toward the W&OD trail, Arlington and more. The signs are one of the first installations of wayfinding signage in Fairfax County based on new bicycle sign standards. They will set the standard for bicycle signage throughout the county.

Transportation Funding for New Bike Projects

On July 1 the general sales tax in Virginia increased to 6% as a result of the recently passed Transportation bill. The tax on gas was changed from a flat tax of 17.5 cents per gallon to a rate of 3.5% on the total purchase amount, effectively reducing the tax from 17.5 to 11.1 cents per gallon. User fees like gas taxes have never been enough to pay for our roads. We all pay for our roads whether we drive or not, and now we're all going to pay a little more.

The Transportation bill divides funds into regional projects (70% of funds) administered by regional authorities such as the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and local funds (30%) administered by localities. Bike projects help reduce congestion and should be funded from both pots of money. Some people think otherwise. See a list of regional projects in Fairfax County. Contact your County Supervisor to find out what bike projects are being funded in your district.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 13 - FABB Social Ride - Merrifield-Vienna Loop
Wednesday, July 17 - FABB Monthly Meeting
Sunday, August 4 - Tour of the Towns - Tour of Prince William
Wednesday, August 21, FABB Monthly Meeting
Saturday, November 2 - 2013 Fairfax Bike Summit: Bicycle-Friendly Tysons

Labels: , , , , , ,

(0) comments
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cross County Trail renamed to honor Congressman Connolly

The 40-mile Cross County Trail extends from Great Falls Park in the north, through the heart of Fairfax to the Occoquan River. The trail was recently renamed the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail in honor of Connolly's support for the trail when he was Board Chairman.

When Congressman Connolly was Chairman he also created the Bicycle Program and ensured funding for the Bicycle Route Map.

From the Fairfax Co Park Authority news release:
The Cross County Trail is well-known, used by countless trail enthusiasts on foot, or bicycle or horse and now has been named the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail in honor of Congressman Gerry Connolly, who during his tenure as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors championed its creation. The Cross County Trail (CCT) is more than 40 miles in length running from the Potomac River in Great Falls Park to the Occoquan River in Occoquan Regional Park.

The Fairfax County Park Authority renamed this trail at their June 12, 2013 meeting unanimously, citing the ongoing support that Connolly provided at all stages of the multi-million dollar, multi-year project. “I am truly humbled by this unexpected honor. The Cross County Trail is one of my proudest accomplishments in public office,” said Congressman Connolly.

On May 25, 1999, the idea for a cross county trail was presented to the Park Authority by Fairfax Trails and Streams. The proposed route followed the existing stream valley trail system belonging, for the most part, to the Park Authority linking existing trails together with other public lands owned by the National Park Service, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the City of Fairfax, the town of Reston, and with public sidewalks through each supervisory district in Fairfax County to form a continuous pedestrian route from Great Falls National Park to Prince William County Occoquan Regional Park.

Congressman Connolly added, “There are a lot of people who share this honor with me. This project is a true example of what can happen when the local community, volunteers and our elected officials work together. Thanks to that effort we are leaving behind a real gem for future generations to enjoy.”

Labels: ,

(0) comments
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Beware of the 3T Tysons bus

On June 5th we took a trip to McLean to check out the new wayfinding signs. Our return route took us along Pimmit Dr. through the Pimmit Hills area. As we approached Route 7, a 3T Metro bus driver tried to pass where there wasn't enough room. The bus came very close to me as I proceeded in the right lane to the intersection. I yelled at the driver to give me some room.

The driver was stopped and she opened the door and asked what I said. I explained that she needed to give me at least 2 feet when passing. She said that it was OK because she saw me, in fact, how could she not see me "with that silly ass hat" I was wearing.

Granted, Da Brim is not the most fashionable bike accessory. It's a wide brim that secures to my helmet to keep the sun off my face. After 3 skin cancer surgeries I'm trying not to take any chances with sun exposure. Regardless, I didn't think it was appropriate that she would disparage my bike attire. Given that she passed too close and her general attitude I said I was going to report her.

She then said "F$%k You, I don't care who you call" or something along those lines, although there was not doubt about the first two words. The signal changed and the driver proceeded to come completely into my lane. Had I proceeded forward she would have taken me out.

I recorded her bus number, 3024, and immediately called the WMATA customer service number to complain. The operator was very sympathetic and apologetic. She said she would pass on my information. I asked to be notified about any actions taken against the driver.

The following day I received a message from a WMATA rep who said "The information that you have provided will help us to identify the operator so that we can take the proper action. The operator will be interviewed and reinstructed in her duties. Safe and courteous service is the responsibility of every Metro employee and conduct that deviates from that will not be tolerated." I thanked the rep and asked to be informed of what actions were taken. A few days later I called to ask again and was told that the rep had not been contacted by the driver's supervisor.

All I can assume is that nothing was done to the driver. She obviously had an attitude about bicyclists and didn't care much about my personal safety. I'll continue to follow up with WMATA. I was surprised that a WMATA employee would make derogatory comments about my personal appearance and shout obscenities at me while stopped in the middle of the road with a bus full of passengers.

If you're riding in the Tysons area and see a 3T bus, beware. It could be driver by an angry woman who doesn't think much about bicyclists.

Labels: , ,

(2) comments
Monday, July 1, 2013

The Future of American Transportation

We will miss Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He has been a great Secretary of Transportation, acknowledging that most Americans want transportation choices. Not everyone wants to drive alone a long distance to work. This is what he said in a recent Fast Lane blog post, The Future of American Transportation:
If you ask any CEO where they’d rather open up shop and hire…If you ask any parents where they’d rather raise a family…If you ask any young professional where they want to live and work---you hear the same things time and time again. People want infrastructure that reduces congestion and protects the environment. They want high-speed trains that shuttle between cities and light rail systems that connect to jobs. They want bike paths, bike shares, buses, and streetcars that give them the option to leave the car at home.

The proof is in the numbers. People took a record 10.5 billion trips on public transportation in 2012. Amtrak ridership has grown more than 40% in the last ten years. Over 20 American cities now operate bike shares, and each program has been met with incredible popularity. New York's new CitiBike bike share has sold nearly 52,000 memberships.

This is what Americans want. This is what the future of American transportation looks like.
Secretary LaHood will leave office soon. His replacement, Anthony Foxx, Mayor of Charlotte, NC, was confirmed on June 27 (Charlotte has a bike share system called B-Cycle). We wish Secretary LaHood well.

Labels: ,

(0) 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?