Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meeting tonight on the I-66 corridor outside the Beltway

Tonight, Thursday, Jan. 30, VDOT is holding a public meeting on transportation improvements along the I-66 corridor outside the Beltway. The meeting begins at 6:30pm at Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna.

Please consider letting VDOT and DRPT know about the needs of bicyclists along the I-66 corridor. Many of us currently use the Custis Trail parallel to I-66 in Arlington County. A similar trail should be built along I-66 outside the Beltway. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors supports this trail that is included in the Countywide Trails Plan. Cyclists also need to be able to safely cross I-66.

See our comments from an earlier meeting. See also the display boards from tonight's meeting. The only implied reference to bicycle access in the displays is: "Intermodal Connectivity: Availability of a full range of travel modes within the corridor, as well as availability and functionality of connections between travel modes." See the meeting comment sheet. The above info is contained on the I-66 Corridor Improvements site:

I-66 Corridor Improvements

Potential Multimodal Improvements in Prince William, Fairfax
Learn more about strategies being considered to transform 25 miles of I-66 from the Beltway to Haymarket into a multi-modal facility that moves traffic and people more efficiently.

Meeting in Fairfax: 
• Explain the Record of Decision on the Tier 1 EIS issued by the Federal Highway Administration in November
• Explain next steps as one or more improvement concepts are considered in Tier 2 environmental study(ies)
• Share private sector ideas, innovative approaches, and suggestions received in November from the Request for Information (RFI) by the Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181
(If cancelled for weather: Tues., Feb. 4, 2014)

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Funding for bike projects approved by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

At their meeting on Tuesday the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved approximately $40 million in funding for bike projects over six years as part of a major 6-year transportation funding package. The bike funding is approximately $7 million/year. This is a significant increase in funding from previous years although only a small portion (3%) of the nearly $1.3 billion in total transportation funding. There was also significant funding for bike projects that will be included in many of the road projects that were part of the package. Most of the Bicycle/Pedestrian projects are sidewalks that could be used by some cyclists.

The major bike-related projects included on the list, many of which are multi-use trails, are: Old Keene Mill Road Bike Shoulders ($9 million), Route 236 Corridor Improvements (bike lanes, wide curb lanes, bike shoulders, $7.5 million), Scotts Run Stream Valley Trail ($3 million), Cinderbed Road Bikeway ($4 million), Mount Vernon Memorial Highway (Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail) ($6.5 million), Mason Neck Trail ($5 million), and improvements to Holmes Run Stream Valley Trail ($1.5 million).

There is also around $50 million for: ped/bike improvements to the Reston and Herndon Silver Line stations ($43 million); and Additional Countywide ped/bike projects ($7 million).

Several projects that were on the original list were not funded, including several of the big ticket items such as the two bridges across the Beltway/I-495 ($18 million), proposed bike lanes on Old Dominon Dr ($10 million), and proposed bike facilities on Great Falls Street (bike lanes/shoulders/sharrows/climbing lanes, $10 million).

Overall there are almost no on-road bike facilities such as bike lanes, cycle tracks, bike shoulders, or wide curb lanes. Some would question whether the projects that received the majority of the funding were the highest priority bike projects in the county. We have a large county with significant needs for bike facilities, and this funding, while significant, is really only a drop in the bucket compared to our needs.

The Board also approved the following:

  • $114 million for Pedestrian Projects
  • $195 million for Interchanges
  • $115 million for Road Extensions
  • $66 million for Spot Improvements
  • $381 million for Roadway Widenings
  • $327 million for Transit Capital/Operating, most of which went into the Transit Reserve ($200 million) and it included $9.5 million for Columbia Pike Transit Service
  • $10 million for Reserve for Capital Projects.
For a full list of projects see the Board Package for the Jan. 28 meeting (starting at page 455 425).  Below is our summary of the bike-related projects. Most of the projects without ID numbers were added based on comments during the Countywide Dialogue meetings:


Additional Countywide Dialogue on Transportation Requests Countywide

Countywide pedestrian and bicycle requests. Currently under review.

Belle  View Blvd/G.W. Parkway Mount Vernon
Partial funding for study only. Add bike/ped crossing and connection to Mount Vernon trail. Examine signalization including HAWK.
Burke Road Lane Diet and On-Road Bike Lanes Springfield
Re-striping from Liberty Bell Ct to Rolling Road VRE P&R lot. Existing lanes and on-street parking can remain, but widths may be adjusted. Includes bicycle signage and access improvements near Liberty Bell Ct to improve safety and sight distance.
Cinderbed Road Bikeway Lee
Provide approximately three miles of bikeway, extending from Fairfax County Parkway near Telegraph Road to the south side of the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station. The southern segment could include an on-road facility on Cinderbed Road.
Fairfax County Parkway Bicycle Wayfinding Signage Braddock
Install bicycle way finding signs along the Fairfax County Parkway and Franconia-Springfield Parkway.
Franconia-Springfield Metrorail Station/VRE Enhanced Bicycle Parking Lee
Install covered bicycle parking to accommodate at least thirty bicycles. Improvements to the access driveway pavement and lighting and security may also be provided.

Franconia-Springfield Parkway Trail Connections Lee
Extend shared use path from  Spring Village Dr. to Ridgeway Dr. across Metrorail station.
Government Center Area Bicycle Demonstration Project Braddock
Road diet on roadways to make the area more bicycle friendly. Government Center Pkwy from Random Hills Rd to Fairfax City. Post Forest Dr (West Ox Rd to Gov't Center Pkwy), Legato Rd (Post Forest Dr to US 29), and Ridge Top Rd (Random Hills Rd to US 29).
Herndon Metrorail Station Access Management Study (HMSAMS) Dranesville
These projects include construction of intersection pedestrian improvements, new sidewalks, new trails and new on-road bicycle facilities within a one-mine radius of the Herndon and Innovation Center Metrorail Station.

Holmes Run Stream Valley Trail Mason
Upgrade pavement to better serve commuter bicyclists.
Hunter Village Drive Bicycle Parking Springfield
This project will complement the new on-road bike lanes by installing covered bicycle parking on the north end of Hunter Village Drive in the vicinity of Old Keene Mill Road.
INOVA Center Medical Education Campus Lee
Enhance bicycle and pedestrian access from the medical education campus located off Metropolitan Center Drive in Springfield to the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail Station and nearby activity centers.

Lanier Street Bike/Ped Connection Mason

Lanier Street from Exeter St to Carrico Dr
Mason Neck Trail (Gunston Road Walkway) Mount Vernon
Construct missing links of walkway on Gunston Road from Richmond Highway (Route 1) to Potomac River.
Mount Vernon Memorial Highway (Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail) Mount Vernon
Project will complete missing segments of the Trail from southeast of Route 1 (Richmond Hwy) in the vicinity of the Washington's Mill Historic State Park to Grist Mill Park (southeast of Old Mill Rd). Includes bridge over Dogue Creek.
Old Keene Mill Road Bike Shoulders Springfield
This project includes the installation of bicycle shoulders on Old Keene Mill Road from Lee Chapel Road to Spring Road, providing connectivity for the south-central area of the County. Supplemental signage will be installed.
Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) Study Recommendations (Phase II) Hunter Mill
These projects include construction of intersection pedestrian improvements, new sidewalks, new trails and new on-road bicycle facilities within a one-mine radius of the Reston Town Center Metrorail Station.

Reston Town Center Hunter Mill
Road/Lane Diets - add on-road bike lanes

Rolling Valley Connector Trail Springfield
Construct new shared use path from Rolling Valley Park & Ride to Pohick Stream Valley Park

Route 236 (LRT) Corridor Improvements Mason
Add bike lanes, wide curb lanes, bike shoulders to complete network gaps
Scotts Run Stream Valley Trail Dranesville
Partially funded to construct trail on the west side of I-495 from Georgetown Pike to the Scotts Run Stream Valley.
Shipplett Boulevard On-Road Bike Lanes Springfield
Provide on-road bike lanes on Shipplett Boulevard from Burke Lake Road to Old Keene Mill Road by reducing roadway lane width. No roadway widening is anticipated.
Van Dorn Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Connectivity Improvements Lee
Existing trail extenuating from Oakwood Rd (ramp underpass) to the Alexandria City Line will be improved to current geometric standards, including those segments under the Capital Beltway (I-95) and the railroad. Lighting and way finding signage included.
Vienna Metrorail Station Area Bicycle Connectivity Improvements Providence
Enhance bike access to the Vienna Metrorail and Metro West Town Center; Vaden Dr Bridge, Five Oaks Rd from Vaden Dr to Blake Ln, and Virginia Centre Blvd through lane and road dieting. Includes bike wayfinding signage and shared lane markings.
Westmoreland Street On-Road Bike Lanes Dranesville
Extend existing on-road bike lanes from Kirby Rd to Arlington County Line. Done as part of VDOT's repaving program. Westmoreland St is a priority route providing bicycle connectivity between McLean, Arlington, Metrorail stations, and the W&OD Trail.

Total Bicycle Projects


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Dooring bill passes VA Senate

By a vote of 28-12 SB 225 passed the Senate. The bill that would require motorists to refrain from opening their door "until it is reasonably safe to do so." From the VBF website:
If your senator voted for the bill, a note of thanks is in order; if they didn’t, a note expressing your disappointment. More importantly, ask your House delegate to please support this bill when it gets to the House.How Senators Voted

YEAS — Alexander, Barker, Carrico, Colgan, Cosgrove, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Garrett, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Marsh, McEachin, McWaters, Miller, Newman, Norment, Petersen, Puckett, Puller, Saslaw, Smith, Vogel, Watkins, Wexton — 28. 

NAYS — Black, Hanger, Lewis, Martin, McDougle, Obenshain, Reeves, Ruff, Stanley, Stosch, Stuart, Wagner — 12.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reston bike share meeting Jan. 29

From the Fairfax County bike program:
Fairfax County Department of Transportation is hosting a Public Open House to examine the feasibility of bringing bikeshare to Reston on Wednesday January 29th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, at Lake Anne Elementary School, 11510 North Shore Drive, Reston, Virginia. The Open House will be held in the cafeteria and will include short informational presentations as well as opportunities for the public to provide input to the project.

Background: Fairfax County was recently awarded a TLC (Transportation/Land Use Connections) Grant through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to conduct a feasibility study of bringing bikesharing to Reston. With the Silver Line Metrorail station opening, including expanded and upgraded bus service, as well as future redevelopment; the local transportation network is poised for transformation. This feasibility study will look at how best to integrate bikeshare with transit and the network as well as important trip origins and destinations. The study will also examine how bike sharing can address first and last mile trips and become a cost-effective service for Reston. The study is being conducted with the assistance of the consulting firm Alta Planning + Design.

Purpose of Public Open House: As part of this study, the public is invited to give input to understand interests and concerns and encourage information sharing about the proposed system. The Open House will include information about how the system could work as well as how to decide where best to add new stations. It will also consider user and community issues as well as how to include underserved neighborhoods.

Should you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Charlie Strunk, Bicycle Program Coordinator, Fairfax County Department of Transportation at: or (703) 877-5600.

Update: See the WTOP article on the bikeshare public meeting.

Update 2: See the Fairfax Times article on the meeting: Reston explores pilot bikeshare program.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

MWCOG Regional Transportation Plan - Expand Bicycle Infrastructure

On January 15 the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan was approved by the Transportation Planning Board (TPB). The TPB, part of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, conducts transportation planning for the DC Metro area as a requirement for jurisdictions to receive Federal transportation funding. A major recommendation of the plan is to Expand Bicycle Infrastructure.

Biking is mentioned throughout the Plan (pdf) as one option among many for solving our transportation problems. To reduce congestion and accommodate future growth the Plan recommends the following overall strategies, which is a major shift, from building more and bigger roads, to having an integrated,  multimodal, smart growth approach:
A mix of supply-and demand-side strategies. Expanding roadway and transit capacity goes a long way in alleviating congestion on the existing transportation system, but doing so can often be more expensive and less cost-effective than efforts to manage demand.

A multimodal approach. Offering a wider variety of travel modes, and focusing attention on modes that can move more people at lower cost, is key to moving more people more efficiently. Making such options available to more people also takes pressure off currently crowded systems, especially the roadway network and the core of the transit system, and alleviates demand for expensive new infrastructure. Providing travelers with more options also results in an increase in quality of life, as they are more likely to be able to choose a mode that best suits their individual needs. Not all projects with a given mode deserve equal attention, however; some investments or projects support more regional goals and offer greater benefit relative to their costs than others.

A focus on concentrating future growth in mixed-use Activity Centers. Land-use is a critical component in more effectively managing demand on our region’s transportation system. Concentrating growth in mixed-use Activity Centers can help make more effective use of existing facilities, and can improve socioeconomic imbalance in the region by supporting job growth and commercial activity in areas that currently lack it. These land-use principles are central tenets of Region Forward and the TPB Vision.
These recommendations "represent a shift in focus away from large-scale supply-side investments of the past to smarter, more strategic approaches to alleviating congestion and crowding, and to accommodating future growth."

One of the primary near-term strategies for accomplishing the above involves bicycling:

Expand Bicycle infrastructure (NT6)

What we should do: Make bicycling a viable transportation choice for more people in more places by making it safer, easier, and more convenient.
  • Invest in more bike lanes and bike paths
  • Expand bike-sharing systems like Capital Bikeshare 
  • Provide more bicycle parking 
  • Increase workplace amenities for bicyclists, such as showers and changing rooms 
How much it will cost$$$$$ - Tens of millions of dollars

Why we should do it: Responds to rising demand

Bicycling is booming in the Washington region—not just as way to get healthy and have fun, but as a practical mode of transportation. Because of this rising demand, we need to expand bicycling infrastructure to make it safer and easier for more people.

Between 2000 and 2011, the District of Columbia saw the share of its residents who bicycle to work double, from 1.4 percent of residents to 3.5 percent. Regionally, the share is still below 1 percent, but growing. Some higher- density, mixed-use communities outside the regional core have higher shares of people commuting to work by bike, like the area near the East and West Falls Church Metrorail stations, which saw 3.6 percent of commuters traveling by bike.

Interest in and support for bicycling is also growing across the region. Suburban jurisdictions are increasingly seeing that bicycling can provide a viable transportation option in locations where it was previously considered unrealistic. Fairfax and Montgomery counties, for example, are both pursuing the expansion of Capital Bikeshare into communities there. Bike to Work Day 2013 had a record 14,500 total participants, with individuals from every jurisdiction in the region pledging to commute to work by bike as part of the event.

Encourages greater use at a small price

The more bicycle infrastructure that is available, the more people are likely to ride. For example, since the year 2000, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has designated 56 miles of marked bike lanes, installed 2,300 bicycle parking racks, and launched Capital Bikeshare. Most of the increases in bicycle use observed over the last decade have occurred in the neighborhoods near downtown Washington, which has the highest concentration of new bike lanes, cycle tracks, and Capital Bikeshare stations. Capital Bikeshare has been particularly effective in increasing bicycling trips: in 2013, Capital Bikeshare provided an average of [X] trips per month.

Bicycling infrastructure is also relatively inexpensive to install. Bike lanes cost about $15,000 per mile and costs can be much lower if the striping is done as part of planned resurfacings or larger streetscape projects. Protected cycle tracks are more expensive to install, at approximately $200,000 per mile, but they also facilitate more bicycling than can normal lanes.

Supports activity centers and builds community

Bicycling infrastructure is a key element in community design. The TPB’s Complete Streets Policy, adopted in 2012, called upon the region’s local and state governments to adopt policies to promote street design policies and standards to make alternative modes of transportation—including bicycling and walking—safer and more comfortable. Today, nearly all the region’s jurisdictions have adopted Complete Streets approaches and are finding ways to make a range of transportation options available to more residents. Jurisdictions in all corners of the region are seeking their own ways to promote mixed-use activity centers and bicycle infrastructure to expand the number of destinations that can be reached without a car.

As we seek to improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve public health, bicycling provides the freedom to get where you need to go quickly and efficiently. Even for people who do not often bike, it represents an expansion of our options for travel. And transportation choice is a key element in our region’s vision for the future.

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Clearing snow on the W&OD Trail

After the heavy snow this week I contacted Karl Mohle, W&OD Trail manager, to ask about plowing of the trail. NVRPA, who own and manage the trail, purchased a snow blower, not a plow, a couple of years ago and have not used it much due to the lack of snow cover. Given the cold temperatures and amount of snow, it will be a while before this snow will melt.

Karl said his crew plans to begin blowing snow today, depending on weather, trail conditions, staff availability, etc. They will likely leave from their Smith Switch office and head east. If so, this will be the first time that I'm aware of that large segments of the trail will be cleared of snow. If you see the blower out there, let us know how it's going.

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VA legislative update page - Bills that need your support

VBF has posted extensive information on bike bills currently being worked in the Virginia legislature. The info will be updated regularly. Please check out the page and contact your Delegate and/or Senator, depending on the status of the proposed legislation, to ask them to support these bills.

Below is the most current update. Check back frequently to see if you can help generate support for the bills that are still active:
Help us get this legislation passed. Please email or call your delegate and senator, and ask them to support these bills. If you don’t know who they are, use the Who’s My Legislator page.

A quick note stating your name, address, that you are a constituent and to please support the following bills is all that’s required. Just mention the bill number and what it’s about.

SB 97, three foot passing: in 22 states and the District of Columbia, motorists are required to leave three feet of clearance while passing people on bikes. In Pennsylvania, it’s four feet. Virginia, only two. (Yikes!) This bill changes one word in current law, from “two” to “three”. Passed by the Senate, will cross over to the House.

SB 225, dooring: “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.” Currently there is no law to stop anyone from opening a car door into the path of a cyclist, or find them negligent for injuring a cyclist while doing so. Senate vote likely Monday, 1/27.

HB 82, following bicycles too closely: striking “motor” from the text makes it illegal for motorists to follow non-motorized vehicles too closely — including people on bikes. House vote likely Friday, 1/24.

HB 320, reckless driving, passing other vehicles at crosswalks and intersections: “Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, a driver of another vehicle whose vehicle is approaching the stopped vehicle from the rear and who overtakes or passes the stopped vehicle is guilty of reckless driving.” Awaiting vote by the full House Transportation Committee, Thursday 1/23.

HB 277, stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks: current law says only “yield” which is not strong enough. A complete stop better demonstrates having yielded, and is easier to enforce. Failed to report (killed) in committee.

HB 542, wearing of masks in public: changes current law to make it only about using a mask to facilitate committing a crime. Currently, it’s a class 6 felony for a cyclist to wear a mask for cold weather protection. Awaiting vote by the Courts of Justice Committee.

HB 1250, Sunday hunting: would allow landowners to hunt on Sundays on their own land. Of course the bullets don’t know where the boundaries are. Currently, with hunting prohibited on Sundays, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy one bullet-free day a week in the woods. We’re against this bill. Awaiting vote by the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Following too closely bill moves to full House

HB 82, the bill that makes it illegal for a motorist to tailgate a bicyclist, was voted out of the VA House Transportation Committee today by a vote of 17-1. Thanks to those who contacted committee members to ask them to support the bill. Now the bill will be voted on by the full House so it wouldn't hurt to contact your delegate to let them know that you support this bill.

Here is a summary from Bud Vye of Virginia Bicycling Federation:
HB82/Don’t follow too closely sailed right out of House Transportation this morning, 17 – 1, with Delegate Barbara Comstock carrying it, and with very little discussion. It now goes on to the House Floor, where EVERYONE in the state can contact their Delegates, giving them a heads up that the bill is on its way, and urging them to support it.

As mentioned previously, Del. Scott Garrett, who is the House Trans Sub 2 Chair, kept his record intact of never* having supported a bill that would help bicyclists or pedestrians, as he cast the lone dissenting vote.
A vote on HB 320, the bill to require motorists to stop at a crosswalk if another motorist is stopped, was delayed so that the language could be discussed further:
The other bill on the docket that we are supporting did not have such smooth sailing, as Del. Kory’s HB320 which will penalize drivers who pass other drivers that are stopped at a RR Xing or Crosswalk with a Pedestrian in it, was Passed By for the Day, after some questions were raised by Dels. Hugo & Habeeb regarding the severity of the penalty. Although this bill was supported by the representative of the State Police about as strongly as he ever supports a bill, and is not really adding that much to the existing code, Chairman Rust gave the impression that the language needed some further discussion with the State Police.

Although being Passed By in this fashion is usually only a brief delay, I wasn’t clear if the motion meant until Thursday, or a full week until next Tuesday’s meeting.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Following too closely and Don't pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk make it out of House Subcommittee

Two bills that will improve bike safety made it out of Virginia House Subcommittee 2 this morning. The two bills are HB 82, sponsored by McLean Del. Barbara Comstock, which changes the "following too closely" law so that it would apply to bicyclists, by removing a single word, "motorist." Virginia is the only state where it's not illegal to tailgate a bicyclist. FABB worked with Del. Comstock to ensure that only the second occurrence of "motorist" was struck from the existing language so that it would not apply to bicyclists following other bicyclists. Del. Comstock agreed to modify her bill to make this change.

The second bill is HB 320 sponsored by Del. Kory, which makes it illegal for a vehicle to pass another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk. On many multi-lane roads cyclists and pedestrians have been struck when one car stops, the cyclist proceeds, and the second car does not stop.

The bills will next be heard in the full House Transportation Committee, possibly as early as tomorrow. Herndon Del. Rust is chair of this committee and it would be helpful, especially if you are a constituent, to send Del. Rust a note asking him to support these bills.

Thanks to VBF, Jeff Anderson of FABB, and others for speaking out at the committee meeting in support of these bills. It was an early morning for Jeff who left Vienna at 4:50 a.m. so he could get to the 7:00 a.m. meeting.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bicycle access to Herndon Metrorail stations - Update 15 Jan

Phase II of the Silver Line will include two rail stations in Herndon. The two stations are Herndon, site of the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride lot, and Innovation Center near the Dulles Toll Road/Route 28 intersection. The Herndon Metrorail Stations Access Management Study (HMSAMS) is looking at bicycle and pedestrian access to these stations. You can sign up for updates on the study at the project website. From the website:
Walk or Bike to Metrorail in Herndon.

The Herndon Metrorail Stations Access Management Study (HMSAMS) is a collaborative effort, led by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT), to develop a plan for pedestrian and bicycle facility improvements designed to improve access to and around the future Herndon and Innovation Center Metrorail Stations, located in Herndon, VA.

Update: 15 Jan - See Dr Gridlock's article about the new Silver Line Phase II hotline.

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Three foot passing and Dooring bills to be heard in VA Senate on Wed. - Update 15 Jan

As we noted in an earlier blog post, there are several bills in the Virginia legislature that affect bicyclists. Tomorrow, Wed. Jan. 15, the Three foot passing bill and the Dooring bill will be heard in Senate Transportation Committee. Below is info from Virginia Bicycling Federation:
Two important bike bills will be heard by the Senate Transportation Committee tomorrow afternoon, Wed. Jan. 15:

SB 97 — Three Foot Passing
SB 225 — Dooring

If your senator is on this committee, please send them a quick note to ask them to support these bills. Champe Burnley reminds us: “…a quick call or a sentence or two with the bill numbers is all you need to do. Remind them that this is about safety on our roads, transportation choices, and saving lives.” If you’d like to go into further detail, we’ve posted talking points.

Use the Who’s My Legislator page to find who your senator is. If they’re on the Transportation Committee, listed below, please send them a note. Click on their name for contact info. You can email them or call.

Sen. Steve Newman (R-Forest) Chair
Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond)
Sen. John Watkins (R-Midlothian)
Sen. Phil Puckett (D-Tazewell)
Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach)
Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath)
Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville)
Sen. Ralph Smith (R-Roanoke)
Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke)
Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-Virginia Beach)
Sen. Chuck Colgan (D-Manassas)
Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)
Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington)
Sen. Kenneth C. Alexander (D-Norfolk
Update: 15 Jan 2014 - The Three foot passing bill was voted out of the Senate Transportation Committee this morning. It was a near unanimous vote; a final count will be available soon. The next step is for the bill to be voted on in the full Senate. See VBF's update on the bill. A vote on the Dooring bill was delayed for a week.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Meeting on changes to I-66 outside the Beltway

VDOT has been studying possible changes to I-66 outside the Beltway. A public meeting is planned on January 30 to discuss proposed changes. We think the Custis Trail that parallels I-66 inside the Beltway should be extended outside the Beltway, as is called for in the Countywide Trails Plan (Major Regional Trail).

The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Oakton High School, 2900 Sutton Road Vienna, VA 22181.

See the VDOT I-66 website for more info:
VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) identified 10 concepts to increase capacity within the corridor, as well as options to increase travel mode choices, improve individual interchanges, address spot safety needs and enhance travel efficiency.

Learn about the next steps to identify potential improvements in the Corridor.

E-mail comments to, with “I-66 Corridor Improvements” in the subject line or send your comments to Ms. Susan Shaw, PE., 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 by Feb. 17, 2014.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Virginia bicycle legislation

The Virginia legislative session began this week in Richmond. A number of bike-related bills have been introduced. FABB is working with Delegate Comstock, who introduced this year's version of the Following Too Closely bill. She has agreed to modify the bill in committee to ensure that it only applies to motor vehicles, not bicyclists drafting other bicyclists.

HB277 would require motorists to actually stop for pedestrians or bicyclists in a crosswalk instead of simply yielding. HB320 would prohibit a motorist from passing another motorist who is stopped for a pedestrian or bicyclist in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. These could be an important changes for cyclists who use the W&OD Trail, or any other trail where it crosses multiple lanes of traffic. Often one motorist will stop for a cyclist but others will continue to zoom past. That could have been the case on Sunrise Valley Dr in Reston where cyclist Cat Freck was struck last year.

WABA published a summary of Virginia bike bills in Bike Legislation to Watch in the 2014 Virginia and Maryland Sessions. :
Virginia Bills:

HB 82 — Following Too Closely: This bill would require drivers of any vehicle to not follow more closely than is reasonable any other vehicle, including bicyclists.

SB 225 – Dooring Legislation: If this law is enacted, drivers and passengers in Virginia will be legally required to exercise care when opening their car doors with respect to adjacent traffic. Dooring of bicyclists by drivers and passengers can cause serious injury and this bill seeks to reduce the potential of dooring.

SB 97 – Three Foot Passing : Current Virgina law requires drivers to exercise care when passing vehicles, including bicyclists, and to give at least two feet when passing. This bill seeks to extend the passing distance to three feet, in line with D.C. and Maryland law.

HB277 – Pedestrians crossing highways: This bill would clarify the duties of vehicles to stop to allow pedestrians (and bicyclists) to cross highways at marked crosswalks. The full bill language helps to define many ambiguities that exist in current law.

HB320: Reckless driving; passing other vehicles at intersections: This bill seeks to amend the legal reckless driving statute by prohibiting a person from overtaking or passing another vehicle stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection when a pedestrian (or bicyclist) is present.

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Bike signals recognized by Federal Highway officials

Traffic signals that are specific to bicycles have been approved by the Federal Highway Administration and are now part of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the sign/signal bible for traffic engineers.
Bike signal on Custis Trail
at Oak St - Google Maps

If you've ridden the Custis Trail in Rosslyn you may have seen bike signals at the intersection of Lee Hwy and Oak St. If you click on the image on the right from Google Maps street view you can just make out the symbol of a bike in the small traffic signal above the ped hand signal.

The ped and bike signals have different timing. The bike signal stays illuminated longer because it takes less time for a cyclist to cross the intersection than it takes a pedestrian, one of the many ways in which pedestrians and bicyclists are different.

These signals can now be used without the need for special permission from FHWA. From the Streetsblog post Bike Signals Get the Green Light From Engineering Establishment:
The decision should lead to more widespread use of bike signals, which can be used to reduce conflicts between people on bikes and turning drivers, give cyclists a head start at intersections, or create a separate phase entirely for bicycle traffic. They are often used in tandem with protected bike lanes.

Prior to the Christmas Eve vote by the committee that updates the MUTCD, bike signals were considered “experimental.” Communities seeking to install them first had to fund expensive engineering studies.

But no longer. In a memo regarding the approval, Federal Highway Administration officials noted that bike signals have been shown to improve safety outcomes as well as compliance with traffic rules by cyclists. Crash rates involving cyclists have been reduced as much as 45 percent following the installation of bike signals, FHWA reports.
Hat tip to GreaterGreaterWashington.

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