Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Countywide Dialogue on Transportation meeting tonight

Tonight is the first of four meetings to discuss proposed future transportation projects in Fairfax County. The meeting is at 7pm at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria. If you live in the southeast part of the county, primarily the Lee and Mt. Vernon Districts, this is your opportunity to let county officials know that you want better bike facilities. See our earlier blog post about these meetings.

There are 200 unfunded projects that the county is considering for funding from approximately $1.2 Billion over six years. This is a rare time in which there is real money for building a bicycle infrastructure.

Below is a list of unfunded bike projects in the Lee and Mt. Vernon Districts. Are these the highest priority projects in those two districts? How do they match with the Bicycle Master Plan project list or the FABB top 14 project list? What projects are not on this list? Are there other lower cost projects that could help provide a safe, connected bicycle network in those districts? If not on this list and not on the funded projects list, ask that a project be added. Examples of a low cost projects include: installing way finding signage on the existing bicycle network; providing bicycle parking throughout the districts. What about bike lanes Huntington Ave and Fort Hunt Road; a better crossing of GW Parkway at Belle View Blvd?

Bicycle projects in Lee and Mt Vernon Districts:

Project IDProject TypeProject TitleProject DescriptionMagesterial DistProject EstimateB/C RatioBMP
97Pedestrian/BicycleBrowne Academy Paved TrailConstruct trail at Browne Academy from Edgehill Ct to Dewey DrLee$400,0001.1No
109BicycleCinderbed Rd bikewayThree miles of bikeway, extending from Fairfax Co Pkwy near Telegraph Rd to the south side of franconia-Springfield Metorail station. The souther segment could include on-road facility on Cinderbed Rd.Lee$4,000,0000.7Yes
123BicycleFranconia-Springfield Metrorail station/VRE enhanced bicycle parking (Barry Road Area)Install overed bicycle parking tro accommodate at least thirty bicycles. Improvements to the access driveway pavement and lighting and security may also be provided.Lee$130,000N/ANo
138Pedestrian/BicycleINOVA Center Medical Education CampusEnhance bicycle and pedestrian access from the medical education campus located off Metropolitan Center Dr in Springfield to the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station and nearby activity centers.Lee$210,000N/ANo
182Pedestrian/BicycleVan Dorn St pedestrian and bicycle access improvementsImprove existing trail extending from Oakwood Rd (ramp underpass) to the Alexandria City Line.Lee$500,000N/AYes
154Pedestrian/BicycleMt Vernon Memorial Hwy (PHNST)Complete mission segments of PHNST from southeast of Route 1 near Washington's Mill Historic State Park to Grist Mill Park (southeast of Old Mill Rd). New ped/bike bridge over Dogue Creek.Mt Vernon$6,500,0000.6Yes


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Monday, October 28, 2013

Planning Commission hearing on Route 28 station area plan

Will you be able to bike to the Innovation Center (Route 28) Metrorail station when it opens in 2018? The station is part of Phase 2 of the Dulles Metrorail project. The Fairfax County Planning Commission is holding public hearings on proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan for areas in the southern station area.

Proposed bicycle facilities are contained on page 15 of the staff report. On page 12 is a conceptual street network. It appears that the bike facilities only reference the existing street network, not the planned network.

Below is information from the Route 28 Station - South Study site:
The Route 28 Station - South Study is a planning study to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the existing Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan and identify appropriate changes to help guide future development in the vicinity of the Route 28/CIT transit station area.

The study is focusing on the land area generally bounded by the Dulles Toll Road to the north and Frying Pan Road to the south, and Sully Road (Route 28) to the west and Centreville Road to the east. The commercial area located to the east of Centreville Road and south of Sunrise Valley Drive also is part of the study area.

The Route 28 Station - South Study will update the existing Comprehensive Plan recommendations to ensure support for the County's Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy and that the recommendations support the implementation of rail.

This study is a counterpart to the planning activities that are underway for other areas along the Reston-Dulles Corridor including the three Reston area transit stations that are part of the Reston Master Plan Special Study, and the north side of the Route 28/CIT station.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wiehle-Reston East bike room photos

The bike room at the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station is completed. The room will hold over 200 bicycle and contain two small repair stations. There will be an annual fee of $75 to use the room, which works out to around 25 to 30 cents/day vs. $4.75/day for car parking. The room is located in the parking garage on the north side of the station, not far from the W&OD Trail. There will also be unsecured parking just outside the bike room and bike racks scattered throughout the plaza in front of the station. On the south side there is parking for 20 bicycles.

Thanks to Maggie Parker of Comstock and photographer David Madison for these photos.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Problems with FABB website

I've just been told that we've exceeded our bandwidth allocation for the FABB site for this month. We're looking into what can be done to get the main site back up and running. Please be patient. If you are looking for information on the Fairfax Bike Summit, click on the link above "Fairfax Bike Summit agenda" that contains info about the agenda as well as a link to online registration. You can also use the blog to search for information that's been posted to the blog. The blog is hosted on a different server than the main website.

Update: We are back up and running.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FABB rides in Vienna Halloween Parade tonight

An early version of the FABB t-shirt,
after the 2006 Vienna Halloween parade
To promote the Fairfax Bike Summit on Nov. 2 FABB will be riding in the Vienna Halloween Parade that starts at 7pm tonight. There will be two bicycle groups in the parade this year. A contigent from bikes@vienna are parade regulars, on recumbents, trikes, folding bikes, and other kinds of bikes. FABB members will be in costume mostly riding upright bikes. Our position in the parade is 63 and bikes@vienna is 57.

We have a great list of speakers lined up. for the Summit. It is an opportunity to mingle with other cyclists, public officials, and local politicians, to check out local bike shops and bike groups in the exhibit area, learn about the bicycle master plan, and attend an optional pre-summit advocacy workshop. You can register online. The registration fee includes snacks, coffee,  drinks, and lunch.

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DC passes Bicycle Safety Amendment Act

Kudos to WABA for their work in getting the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act passed in DC. The bill will require motorists to "yield to a person operating a bicycle." The penalty for "colliding with a bicyclist while failing to yield"is six points and a fine of $500. Several other provisions are included in the bill. From WABA's report on passage of the bill:
On Oct. 17, the D.C. Council passed the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013. It was then signed into law by Mayor Vince Gray and will be submitted to Congress for a 30-day legislative review.

This is a great victory for bicyclists in D.C. Among the many new provisions in the law, its signature component introduces two new driving infractions with appropriate penalties to protect bicyclists as vulnerable road users.

This legislation also amends and updates sections of the D.C. municipal regulations as they relate to bicycling in the city. The Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 makes the following updates or amendments:
  • Bicyclists’ use of leading pedestrian intervals: Bicyclists can get the same head start as pedestrians at signalized intersections, where pedestrians are given few extra seconds to start crossing a street. Also allowing bicyclists the opportunity to get into the intersection before cars makes them more visible to drivers.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian detours: The mayor will be able to require permits obtained from the District Department of Transportation for projects that block sidewalks, bike lanes, or other pedestrian or bicycle paths to provide safe accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Aligns bicyclists’ crash infractions with a similar pedestrian one: The bill adds “failure to yield” and “colliding with a bicyclist while failing to yield” infractions, similar to current pedestrian infractions. The penalty for “failing to yield” to a bicyclist would be three points points and a fine of $250. “Colliding with a person riding a bicycle” would be six points and a fine of $500.
  • Ability to make an audible noise: The bill modifies the law that requires all bicycles to be equipped with a bell, instead requiring all bicycle riders to “be capable of making a warning noise either with a bell or mechanical device, or with his or her voice, audible for a distance of at least one hundred feet.” It also removes a section prohibiting bicyclists from a making a noise within the established quiet zones (Title 18 Section 1204.7)
You can read the full text of the law (B20-0140) on the DC Council website (PDF).

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association thanks Councilmember Mary Cheh for her leadership on this bill and the many co-sponsors who supported this critical effort. Washington, D.C., is becoming a national leader in bicycling and this new law helps protect the many new people who choose to use a bicycle for transportation, recreation, or fitness.

WABA is a membership-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization representing the interests of bicyclists in the Washington region. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation online now or joining the organization as a member to help us continue to do great work—like push for bills like the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013. If youjoin this week during our annual membership drive, you’re eligible for great incentives. WABA has 41-year history of successful local advocacy powered by our members.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

VDOT Six Year Plan public hearing is tonight

VDOT is holding a public hearing tonight starting at 6 p.m. at VDOT headquarters to take comments on the Six Year Improvement Program. The program includes road, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects in the Northern Virginia District. Search the online database to see a list of all projects in Fairfax County. You can also narrow the search using keywords.

We urge cyclists to attend the meeting to learn about bicycle projects that are included in the plan, and to speak out in favor of dedicated funding for bicycle projects in Fairfax. The Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan was recently completed and funds are needed to implement the many recommendations included in the plan, most of which are located on VDOT-controlled roads.

Details about the meeting:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
VDOT Northern Virginia District Office
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

6 - 7 p.m. – Open house displays and general discussion
7 p.m. – Moderated public meeting
We plan to also make comments about specific projects on the list:
  • Connect ped/bike facilities on the HOT lanes bridges to nearby bicycle and pedestrian routes. The safety of the at-grade crossings on these bridges needs to be improved. (104005)
  • Strongly support the Tysons and Reston projects that improve pedestrian and bicycle access to Silver Line stations. For Tysons, Reston, and all other transit-oriented, mixed use areas to be successful residents and employees need multiple transportation options. Bicycles provide one of the best first and last mile solutions. (100469, 100470)
  • Expedite RMAG bicycle and pedestrian improvements to more closely align them with station opening. Ensure that any road improvements do not have a negative impact on bicycle and pedestrian access. (100470)
  • Support grade-separated bicycle and pedestrian crossings of the Dulles Toll Road as part of the Route 7 bridge project. The crossing is a critical non-motorized link for connecting residents to the new Spring Hill Metro station.  (82135)

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Book launch party for Arlington bike attorney Bruce Deming's new book

Surviving the Crash: Your Legal Rights in a Bicycle Accident is the title of a new book by attorney Bruce Deming. There will be a launch party tomorrow night, October 22, at Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon. From the online registration site:
You are cordially invited to join your fellow cyclists to celebrate the book launch of
Surviving The Crash: Your Legal Rights in a Bicycle Accident

By Bruce Deming 

Come join local bike advocates, bike racers, bike commuters and recreational riders to celebrate the exciting launch of our new cycling book, and lend support to Bikes for the World.

Cycling has never been more popular in the DC area, thanks to the tireless advocacy of our friends committed to making our community one of the most bike-friendly anywhere. But with the increase in cycling has come an increase in the number of accidents involving cyclists.

Whether you have ever been in a bike crash or not, what you don’t know about your rights can hurt you, but what you do know can save you. That’s why Bruce wrote this book, to provide all members of the cycling community with important information they need to make sure their rights are protected.

**Discount craft beers will be available, and fabulous door prizes including gift certificates for Road ID bracelets and Gripped Films DVDs, will be raffled to benefit Bikes For The World. All attendees will receive free copies of the new book, as well as complementary water bottles and other cool swag**

There will be fun people at this event from every corner of the cycling community, so come on out and join us!

Mad Rose Tavern
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)


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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ken Schantz's Mt. Vernon to Rockville bike commute featured in Post

FABB's Ken Schantz is featured in today's Metro section of the Post in the article: Commuter relishes daily two-hour 40-minute trek from Mount Vernon area to Rockville:
Ken Schantz
Photo: Washington Post
“It can be 40 degrees in the middle of winter or 90 degrees in the middle of summer — but I am the happiest when I’m out there turning the pedals,” he said.

It’s one thing to get from Point A to Point B without a car in Washington — a relatively compact 68.3 square miles. But navigating the region’s far-flung suburbs — never mind crossing through two counties and the District — offers an entirely different challenge. Doable certainly, but not for the faint of heart.

“That beats any commute I’ve done,” said Mark Plotz, senior associate and program director for the National Center for Bicycling and Walking.

Schantz joins a growing number of workers who have abandoned their cars in favor of bus, rail and bike for their daily commutes. Solo drivers still dominate the ranks of D.C. area commuters, but according to an analysis by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the number of regular bike commuters in the D.C. region increased by about 11,000 between 2000 and 2011. The uptick is largely fueled by people who live and work in the District. But bike commuting also has increased in popularity in other jurisdictions, including Montgomery County, which opened more than a dozen Capital Bikeshare stations last month.
Ken notes the importance of events like Bike to Work Day:
“Driving is sort of an addiction. People get so used to it, they don’t think of doing anything else,” he said. “Then you have these special events. You get on a bike for the first time and think, ‘Hey, that’s fun.’ ”

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Interactive map of Fairfax County transportation projects

Fairfax County just released a new interactive map tool that shows the locations of funded and unfunded transportation projects. With passage of the new state transportation bill HB2313, Fairfax County has $1.255 billion to spend on new local and regional transportation projects. No maintenance funds were included, so no trail maintenance can be done using the funds.

The list of the projects shown on the interactive maps, unfunded and funded transportation projects, including bicycle and pedestrian projects, was released in September. The unfunded project list will be used for deciding how to spend that $1.3 billion thru FY2020.

We're evaluating the lists to determine what bike projects are included. We want to compare those projects identified during the bicycle master plan process with the unfunded project list. It's not easy. The initial unfunded list that was released last month lumps bicycle and pedestrian projects together with very little descriptive information. A narrow concrete sidewalk is very different from a 8-10 foot asphalt trail, and yet it's impossible to distinguish between the two in most cases.

An updated list was released yesterday at the Hunter Mill Transportation Advisory Committee meeting. That list is not yet available online. It contains more descriptive information about each project that in most cases identifies it as either pedestrian or bicycle. However, the projects are still all labeled as Pedestrian/Bicycle. We've asked that sidewalks be labelled Pedestrian, that trails be labelled Pedestrian/Bicycle, and bike lanes and other bike-specific projects be labeled Bicycle. It's not clear whether the list will be changed.

As part of the Countywide Dialogue on Transportation, four public meetings are planned to allow residents to weigh in on the project lists. You're encouraged to attend the meetings and speak out for funding of bike projects. If an important project is not included on the list, ask that it be added (and please tell us about it as well). We'll post more info before the first meeting.

Here is the list of meetings:
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.
    Hayfield Secondary School
    7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria
    Transit accessible via Fairfax Connector routes 231232321322 
  • Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.
    Falls Church High School
    7521 Jaguar Trail, Falls Church
    Transit accessible via: Metrobus 1A, 1B, 1Z
  • Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
    Fairfax County Government Center
    Conference rooms 2/3
    12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax
    Transit accessible via: Fairfax Connector routes 605621623 
  • Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.
    Forest Edge Elementary School
    1501 Becontree Lane, Reston
    Transit accessible via: Fairfax Connector routes 552RIBS 1RIBS 3


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Sun Gazette article on Fairfax Bike Summit

2012 Fairfax Bike Summit
Photos by Sue Carter
Bike Summit Leaders to Press for Viable, Safe Cycling Options is the title of a good article by Brian Trompeter of the Sun Gazette on the Fairfax Bike Summit to be held on Nov. 2.
“We’re highlighting the fact that the Tysons transportation network is really going to experience a profound, dramatic change,” said Fionnuala Quinn, a volunteer board member with FABB. “It will open up all sorts of new travel options for people. Right now, many people have no choice but to drive.”

While Tysons Corner’s many motorists and few pedestrians are familiar with the area’s substantial hills, Tysons also has tree-lined routes that are ideal for cyclists, she said.
A new grid of streets in Tysons will allow cyclists to skirt the area’s two major thoroughfares, Routes 7 and 123, said Bruce Wright, chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.

“Route 7 is probably the biggest challenge in Tysons, and so far we’ve lost that battle, I think, in making it a bicycle-friendly place,” he said.
The Board of Supervisors is encouraging development around all transit locations and Tysons Corner will serve as an ideal proving ground for initiatives that promote bicycling, Wright said.

“The things that we get right in Tysons will apply to those areas of growth in the future in Fairfax,” he said.

Fairfax DOT Chief
Tom Biesiadny at
2012 Fairfax Bike Summit
Bike use is relatively low in Fairfax County, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s increasing, Quinn said. She disputed some people’s perceptions that bicyclists do not obey traffic laws, and said FABB leaders encourage cyclists to follow safety rules.
“People on bicycles are vulnerable and don’t usually take their lives into their hands,” she said.

Wright concurred, adding that motorists might become more accommodating toward cyclists if they shared the roads with more of them.

“I’ve found through my travels that when bicyclists are given good, safe facilities and respect, they generally behave better,” he said.
We've got a great list of speakers lined up for this year's summit. Most local bike shops will be on hand to display transportation bikes and gear, along with several area bike organizations. Lunch is included in the registration fee. Why not register for the summit today?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Test of Amtrak bike roll-on service from Pittsburgh to DC - Update

According to Bike Maryland, as reported by the WashCycle, today Amtrak tested roll-on bike service between Pittsburgh and DC. This is great news for cyclists who want to ride the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Trail. Most people ride one way and must figure out how to transport their bikes and gear to the either the start or the end of their ride. Being able to roll your bike onto Amtrak is a great solution:
Bike Maryland reports:
Bike Maryland continues to work with a number of advocacy groups and leaders to bring bicyclists access to bring their bikes aboard Amtrak. Amtrak, working with the Virginia Bicycle Federation, has agreed to a test of roll-on bike service on the Capitol Limited from Pittsburgh to DC this Tuesday. Please note: all of the available bike racks have been filled on the test train but if you would like to see how the racks work, please join for the demonstration at Union Station. The Capitol Limited arrives at approximately 1:10 p.m. Champe Burnley, President of VA Bicycle Federation and a leader spear-heading this initiative states, "We're excited to have this opportunity to work with Amtrak to test roll-on service and look forward to increasing travel options for our citizens."
Kudos to Virginia Bicycling Federation for taking the lead on this effort. In August they circulated a letter to FABB and other bicycle advocacy groups asking for their support. Most groups, including FABB, signed on to the letter. VBF's hard working is starting to pay off.

Great Allegheny Passage
Here is more information on the test, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Amtrak tests bicycle roll-on service on Capitol Limited route between Pittsburgh and D.C.
Amtrak today allowed 20 bicyclists to roll their two-wheelers onto the Capitol Limited train from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., in what enthusiasts hope will be a step toward full implementation of roll-on service.

"It went lickety-split," said Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance. "I don't think we cost Amtrak a second in dwell time."

Amtrak placed a baggage car with racks for six bicycles on the Capitol Limited for the one-day trial. Six cyclists got on in Pittsburgh and off in Connellsville, where six others with bikes boarded. Four bicyclists were to replace them in Cumberland, Md., and four others were to ride the leg from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., to the nation's capital.

Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz could not offer a timetable for making the roll-on service permanent. He said the railroad will seek feedback from participants in the experiment and from train personnel, then try to identify a funding source to retrofit baggage cars with racks.

"Part of our mission is to be energy-efficient and a green mode of transportation," he said. "It's something we absolutely want to do."
Update: VBF participated in the test. See their report Bike Test on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited to DC.

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Reston recognized as Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community

Today the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). In their blog post Suburbs Join The Rise of Bicycle Friendly Communities, Reston was named as one of the 32 new BFCs. Last year they received an Honorable Mention.
"One of the great challenges in envisioning a truly bicycle-friendly America is the need to transform suburban communities," said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. "Well, that transformation is evidently underway and is being lead by communities like Menlo Park, Calif.; Elmhurst, Ill.; Reston, Va.; and Richfield, Minn."

See the full list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.
Other Virginia BFCs include

  • Alexandria - moved up to Silver
  • Arlington - Silver
  • Charlottesville - Silver
  • Harrisonburg - Bronze
  • Richmond - Bronze
  • Roanoke - Bronze
  • Williamsburg - Bronze New

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Fairfax Bike Summit Agenda

The summit schedule is set and we're looking forward to a full day of talks and activities on Saturday, Nov. 2. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the latest bicycle-related news and events in Fairfax and how we can make the county a more bicycle-friendly place. Registration is available online:

8.00am-9.30amRide from Tysons to MasonPete BeersWABA/FABB
Advocacy 101
9:00 am -9:45 amInfrastructure Advocacy 101Fionnuala QuinnFABB/Alta P+D
ExhibitsOpen throughout the day
10.00 am-10.15 amWelcome addressCong. Connolly
Sup. Foust
Sup. Hudgins
10.15 am-10.40 amTysons, Transit & BikesJeff OlsonAlta P+D
10.40 am-10.45 amAwardChristine GreenNational SRTS Partnership
PANEL 1: Silver Line
Opens up Bike
Options: Getting to &
from Tysons
10:50 am-12:00 pmNew stations & facilitiesKristin HaldemanWMATA
Bikes & parkingCharlie StrunkFairfax DOT
Effective advocacy for residentsJenifer Joy MaddenDurable Human
The commuteDr. Gridlock/
Robert Thomson
Washington Post
LUNCHRichmond video

Author Table:Jeff Olson: The Third Mode
Andy Clarke: Smart Cycling
Jenifer Madden:
The Durable Human
Brett Lovgren: The Bicycle Path
A-1: Access,
& Barriers to Cycling
1:15 pm to 2:00 pmWomen cyclingNelle PiersonWABA
Great places for all agesStephanie FirestoneMobility Lab
Access and encouragement for
low income riders
Bill ThrelkeldCornerstone
A-2: The Future
is Calling
2:05 pm - 2.45 pmImplementing SRTSJohn BolecekVDOT Bike Coord
Activating & organizing the local school & parentsKristin EddyParent Organizer
Hunters Woods ES
Family cyclingMegan OdetteKidicalMass
B-1: Bike Riding &
1:15 pm - 2:00 pmPoliceAlice EggersFairfax Police
Bike LawyerDoug LandauAbrams Landau
Safety and immigrant ridersUbaldo Cisneros
Bike commutingLiz MacGregorFABB
B-2: Bikes are good
for Business
2:05 pm - 2:45 pmSmall biking businessDave MeyerGreen Lizard Cycling
Measures of effectivenessDavid PattonArlington Co
Bicycle Friendly Business
Bill NesperLAB
2.45 pm - 3.00 pm
Pedalling towards the Future
in Fairfax
Andy ClarkeLAB
Social EventCoyote Grill


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