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

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