Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dr Gridlock supports greater investment in suburban bike lanes

Herndon-Monroe garage soon to
more than double in capacity
In today's Post Dr Gridlock discusses the role that huge Metro parking garages have on suburban development, and the need to provide options for getting around our area, like bike lanes in the suburbs: Metro stations created car magnets in the suburbs for sake of livable downtown.
"When a co-worker asks if you take Metro to work and you say “yes,” are you leaving something out? For tens of thousands of Metrorail riders, the transit commute starts in a car."

Metro certainly cuts down on the number of car trips into the D.C. region’s core, which is swell for those who live and work in the core. But it adds tens of thousands of car trips each day in suburban communities. Many of those trips are short — just enough to jam streets and highway exits.
He notes that Fairfax did the right thing by not investing in car parking at the Tysons stations (there will be bike parking at each station). However, we are spending millions in regional transportation funds on building huge parking garages at Innovation Center and Herndon Metrorail stations. There will be room to store 2037 cars at Innovation Center and 1975 new spaces at Herndon, when added to the current 1745 spaces, totals 3720 spaces. Most of those spaces will be used to store cars from Loudoun Co and beyond.

What's the solution? Investing in all modes benefits everyone by taking cars off the road. According to Dr. Gridlock, "A greater investment in buses, bike lanes and walkable communities in the suburbs won’t end congestion around Metro stations, but it could ease commutes for everyone, including drivers." It will help reduce congestion around stations; maybe not end it, but at least if it is safe to ride to the stations it will be a viable option for anyone willing to ride a few miles by bike.

Fairfax needs to keep up with it's neighbors. According to another article that appeared in today's Post (Washington is a walking, biking city), the District will add 14 miles of bike lanes this year to add to 50 already in place.
Photo: Washington Post
“In recent years, many communities have taken steps to support more transportation options, such as bicycling and walking,” said the Census Bureau’s Brian McKenzie, who wrote the report. “For example, many cities have invested in bike share programs, bike lanes and more pedestrian-friendly streets.”

Washington has kept pace with its peers, creating more than 50 miles of bike lanes and planning to add 14 miles more this year. The popular Capital Bikeshare program puts more than 2,500 short-trip bikes on District and suburban streets, and it plans more expansion this year.
Because we haven't invested in a fully funded bicycle program, our bike coordinator doesn't have the funds to do the job. The Bicycle Master Plan has been in draft form for nearly 2 years. Public hearings were postponed recently until at least September. It would be nice if the plan were at least available to the public but it's not even on the county website. A final version should be posted soon.

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