News about the adoption of the Fairfax County Bike PlanSeveral outlets covered the Board adoption of the bike plan:
Fairfax County Bike Master Plan Passes Unanimously! from WABA. Thanks to Greg Billing, WABA's Advocacy Coordinator, for testifying in support of the bike plan at the public hearing: "Building a bike-friendly community starts with a plan and strong commitment from elected officials. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors made a important endorsement of bicycling for recreation and transportation. Chairman Sharon Bulova said, 'bicycling is not only for recreation, but for transportation' citing the full bike racks at the new County bike parking facility at the Wiehle Ave Metro Station."
Fairfax County Adopts its First Bicycle Master Plan, the Fairfax County News Release: "These new facilities will take the next 10 to 30 years to install or complete. However, many on-road lanes can be created just by reconfiguring existing road markings. In fact, almost all of the county’s existing on-road bike lanes were installed at no cost through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s annual repaving program."
Bike Lanes May Soon Get A Boost In Fairfax County from WAMU, which contains two quotes; from one of the 17 people who signed up to speak in support of the plan, and from a person who wandered into the meeting, didn't sign up to speak, and wasn't shy in saying he hadn't read the plan.
Sharrows placed on Lawyers Road in Reston
|Photo: Charlie Bobbish|
Sharrows, also known as Shared Lane Markings, are intended to let motorist know to expect cyclists in the road, and to guide cyclists as to where they should be riding. Here is info on use of sharrows from the national standard on traffic markings, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:
|Image from the Arlington PAL campaign|
- Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking in order to reduce the chance of a bicyclist's impacting the open door of a parked vehicle,
- Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane,
- Alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way,
- Encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists, and
- Reduce the incidence of wrong-way bicycling.
|Sharrows being installed on Lawyers Rd|
Photo: Jeff Anderson
03 Shared Lane Markings shall not be used on shoulders or in designated bicycle lanes.
04 If used in a shared lane with on-street parallel parking, Shared Lane Markings should be placed so that the centers of the markings are at least 11 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.
05 If used on a street without on-street parking that has an outside travel lane that is less than 14 feet wide, the centers of the Shared Lane Markings should be at least 4 feet from the face of the curb, or from the edge of the pavement where there is no curb.
06 If used, the Shared Lane Marking should be placed immediately after an intersection and spaced at intervals not greater than 250 feet thereafter.
07 Section 9B.06 describes a Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign that may be used in addition to or instead of the Shared Lane Marking to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.
VDOT wants feedback on signal at W&OD Trail and Belmont Ridge
|RRFB at Belmont Ridge|
Image: Google Maps Streetview
The survey is very brief (should only take a couple minutes to complete) and is open to receive responses until November 30th 2014. Survey Monkey is the host and the link is SSL encrypted:
We are looking forward to receiving feedback from FABB members!
Fairfax County now has a Bicycle Master Plan - Update
At their meeting today the Fairfax County Board of Suprvisors unanimously adopted the county's first-ever bicycle master plan. The plan is now officially incorporated into the Transportation component of the Comprehensive Plan. Thanks to the Board and the Planning Commission for their unanimous support of the plan. A special thanks to everyone who took the time to attend the final public hearings and who testified in support of the plan. Thanks also to the over 850 people who signed the FABB/WABA petitions.
The process started in 2009 with Supervisor McKay's motion for the Board to endorse the concept of a bicycle master plan. Thank you Supervisor McKay! Thanks also to county staff for their hard work on getting the plan completed and incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan.
It helped greatly that the plan was supported by several groups including the Trails and Sidewalks Committee, Transportation Advisory Commission, Environmental Quality Advisory Council, Partnership for Healthier Fairfax, the Towns of Herndon and Vienna, Reston Association, WABA, and George Mason University.
As stated in the Staff Report, "The bicycle facility and policy recommendations included in this Comprehensive Plan amendment represent a shift in how bicycle planning and design will be approached in Fairfax County. Moving forward, it is assumed and expected that bicycles will be treated as valid users of the roadway and accommodated as a necessary element of all roadway improvement projects."
However, that won't happen without funding for the bicycle program that includes increased staff and a dedicated funding source as recommended in Chapter 6 of the plan. It also won't happen without cyclists speaking out in favor of inclusion of bike facilities in future road projects. Our work has really just begun:)
Labels: bicycle master plan
Fairfax Co Parkway Trail repairs updateThe latest info from VDOT about the Fairfax County Parkway Trail repairs:
Final bike plan public hearing Tuesday afternoon
This is the end of a five year process of developing the county's first bike plan. The hearing on Tuesday, October 28 will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center Board Auditorium. located to the right of the main entrance. The public hearings begin at 3:30 p.m. and the bike plan hearing is ninth on the list.
It's impossible to say when the bike plan hearing will begin; the other hearings will likely take more than an hour. We will be tweeting status of the prior public hearings on the FABB twitter feed and Facebook account. The hearings are also televised on FFX Channel 16. Looking on the positive side, sitting through the hearings is always an interesting way to experience local politics.
Several of us from FABB and other organizations plan to speak. We'd like you to join us; just being in the room shows your support for the plan. As we did at the Planning Commission hearing, we'll ask supporters to stand during the FABB testimony. Some of us plan to ride to the hearing and bring our helmets into the meeting room. There is bike parking at the entrance to the building.
We hope to see you at the hearing.
Labels: bicycle master plan
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Connector Trail opens Saturday - Update
|Meadowlark Park connector trail from W&OD Trail|
Rails to Trails Conservancy is holding a ride that begins at the Connector trail. The ride begins after the ribbon-cutting and follows a 12-mile route from the Connector trail to Herndon, with a stop at Green Lizard Cycling before returning.
Update: A large crowd attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday. After the ceremony we rode the 1.25 miles to Meadowlark Gardens, including some very steep but short segments of the park perimeter trail that is now paved. We heard that additional bike parking is being installed at the park. Here are some photos from the event:
|Looking from the W&OD Trail toward the new trail section and bridge|
|The newly paved park perimeter trail|
Vote YES on 2014 Transportation Bond - Update (2)We are encouraging everyone to vote YES for the 2014 Transportation Bond on November 4. $6 million in bicycle projects, $78 million in pedestrian projects, and $16 million in spot road improvements will be funded by the bond. See a detailed list of projects. These projects will help make biking and walking conditions safer for everyone.
Fairfax County produced the following informational video on the bond:
Labels: 2014 transportation bond
Fairfax County Parkway Trail repair updateFrom VDOT regarding the latest phase of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail repairs:
Vesper Trail information meeting Oct 20 - Update
From the Hunter Mill District newsletter:
Vesper Trail is an important link between the Tysons transit area and northern Vienna neighborhoods. FCDOT staff will discuss the project background, current progress, and timeline to completion. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the Hunter Mill District office at 703-478-0283.
Update 21 Oct 2014 - Several Fairfax County staff attended the meeting as did several residents and other interested parties. Comments were generally favorable regarding the trail. Concerns were expressed about the types of lights planned for the trail. People wanted to avoid seeing the light from their houses as much as possible, although I think everyone agreed that lighting was a good thing.
Other concerns were expressed about the lost of a few trees due to placement of a bridge. People wondered why stream restoration wasn't occurring during the same time frame, but that work is not funded whereas the trail is fully funded. From my understanding of the process, stream restoration will likely lead to extensive loss of tress.
We were encouraged that the trail will be lighted and that current plans include plowing snow that accumulates on the trail in the winter.
Fairfax Co Parkway Trail closed north of Sunrise Valley DrWe just learned that maintenance/repair work on the Fairfax County Parkway Trail started up again today. As a result, the trail is closed just north of Sunrise Valley Dr up to just south of the eastbound Dulles Toll Rd ramp. If you're riding south and encounter the barrier, you will have to backtrack all the way to Sunset Hills/Spring St near the Target to find an alternate route. You could also try to make your way through the closed trail section.
As you can sort of see from the map image above, there are not many alternative routes to bypass the closed trail section. You could ride east to Reston Parkway or west to Monroe Street. You should be able to click on the map to see the google map version.
We've asked that the north Trail Closed barrier be placed closer to the decision point for using an alternate route; at Sunset Hills/Spring Street.
Millennials in MotionMillennials in Motion.
This trend has major implications for how we spend our transportation dollars in the future. Most local jurisdictions are now basing their spending on outdated models that assume nearly everyone will drive in the future. Numerous road projects will be built in the near future based on these projections.
From the Executive Summary:
Millennials are less car-focused than older Americans and previous generations of young people, and their transportation behaviors continue to change in ways that reduce driving.
- Between 2001 and 2009, the average number of miles driven by 16 to 34 year-olds dropped by 23 percent, as a result of young people taking fewer trips, shorter trips, and a larger share of trips by modes other than driving. Young Americans drive less than older Americans and use public transpor- tation more, and often use multiple modes of travel during a typical day or week.
- In recent years, young people appear to have continued to shift away from driving:
- Census data show that the share of 16 to 24 year-olds traveling to work by car declined by 1.5 percentage points between 2006 and 2013, while the share of young people getting to work by public transportation, on foot or by bi- cycle, or else working from home, had increased.
- Young people aged 20 to 30 are less likely to move from central cities to suburbs than a decade ago.
- Driver’s licensing among young people has continued to decline. The percentage of high school seniors with driver’s licenses declined from 85 percent to 73 percent between 1996 and 2010, according to the AAA Founda- tion for Highway Safety, with federal data suggesting that the decline has continued since 2010.
- Young people are not the only Americans who are driving less. The number of miles driven by the average American has declined nearly continuously since 2004. Americans now drive no more in total than we did in 2005 and no more on average than we did at the beginning of President Bill Clinton’s second term in office.
Tell the Park Authority you want better bike access to parksParks Count! In the 2004 Needs Assessment report there is no discussion of bike access to parks. The only mention of bikes is on unpaved bike trails.
This is a great opportunity to let the Park Authority know the importance of good bicycle access to the parks and the need for bike parking.
After collecting ideas and initial input, the Park Authority will "design and send a survey to almost 15,000 randomly selected Fairfax County households in early 2015."
One way to participate is to use a web-based application for getting citizen feedback. You can comment and vote on proposed ideas or propose your own ideas. The application requires entering an email address and creating a password. Please consider voting for this idea that was recently added:
Vienna approves Maple Ave Vision planVienna Town Council approved the Maple Avenue Commercial Zone Regulations that will "Encourage compact, pedestrian-oriented development along Maple Avenue East and West that collectively accommodates residents, visitors, and businesses."
We hope the new regulations will help remake Maple Avenue from a thoroughfare for commuters to a more vibrant, livable place.
The new regulations include bicycle parking requirements. While we're encouraged by the new requirements, they are minimal compared to those in Arlington although similar to those proposed in Fairfax. As an example, visitor parking can be located as far as 150 feet from the building entrance compared to 50 feet in Arlington and 50-100 feet in Fairfax.
Arlington requires "One (1) resident bicycle parking space for every three (3) residential units." Vienna will require only one parking space for every ten units, the same as what is being proposed for Fairfax. That means that 9 out of 10 units will likely have no bike parking. Also, we saw no reference to the type of racks required.
Inadequate bike parking is one of the major hurdles to resident's ability to use bicycles for short trips. If it's difficult and inconvenient to park and access your bike, chances are you won't ride.
Changing the character of Maple Ave will be a challenge. With so many people still relying on cars to get around, the street will continue to be congested throughout the day. Better transit, more bike-friendly streets, and more mixed-use development will eventually help but it will be a long, slow process. The Maple Ave Vision is a step in the right direction.
Planning Commission unanimously approves bicycle master planBicycle Master Plan. Thanks to the Commission for their strong support for the plan and to Commissioner Hedetniemi for leading the effort. Thanks to everyone who supported this planning effort over the past five years, especially Supervisor McKay who presented the Board Matter asking staff to begin the planning process. Thanks to everyone who spoke very effectively at the Commission public hearing two weeks ago, and thanks to the 822 people who signed the FABB bike plan petition that we presented to the Commission this week. Thanks also to those who wrote to the Planning Commission in support of the plan.
|Smiles all around after the bike plan vote|
We agree. We don't want a plan that will sit on a shelf. Passage of the plan implies that resources will be made available to implement the important recommendations included in the plan.
FABB meeting tonight at Fairfax Co Govt Center at 7pmTonight's FABB meeting will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway Fairfax, VA 22035, room 232 at 7:00 p.m. This is a change from our usual location and time for the meeting so that we can attend the Planning Commission meeting held in the same building at 8:15 p.m. The Planning Commission deferred action on the bike plan at their Oct. 1 meeting. They will discuss the plan and take a final vote tonight. Everyone is welcome to attend both the FABB meeting and the Planning Commission meeting. We hope the bike plan discussion will be held early in the meeting.
We do not have official access to room 232 until 7:00 p.m. so we may be gathering in the main lobby before the meeting. Below is the draft agenda:
2. Review of September meeting minutes
3. County Report - Charlie Strunk (may not be able to attend)
4. Bicycle Master Plan - Strategy for Oct. 28 Board hearing
5. Transportation Bond discussion
6. Police Video film session volunteers
7. Other business
Upcoming events (for details see the FABB Events page)
• October 16, Thursday - VDOT-DRPT Six Year Plan public hearing, 6:30pm
• October 22-24, Wed-Fri - Police Video filming
• October 28, Tuesday - Board of Supervisors Bicycle Master Plan public hearing, 4pm?
• October 29, Wednesday - Reston’s Healthy Community Workshop with Mark Fenton, 6pm
• November 4, Tuesday - Voting Day - Vote Yes on Transportation Bond
• November 6, Thursday - Bike Hack, 6pm Mobility Lab in Arlington
• November 19, Wednesday - FABB Monthly Meeting
Labels: FABB meeting
New bike lane in Reston
|Bike lane on USGS Drive|
Don't let the drizzle get you down
|Bike to Work Day 2014|
One advantage we have other most other riders is that we believe in fenders (when I worked in a bike shop a while back I was surprised how many people don't know the term "fender") that keeps water, sand and mud from splattering on our shoes and back when the roads and trails are wet.
In places like Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, if you don't ride in the drizzle, you won't ride for a good part of the year. If you don't have fenders, why not try them. They are a great addition to the bike and they don't cost much.
Washingtonians Flock to Transit Hubs to Live, Work & PlayOne of the leading real estate services firms, Cushman & Wakefield, released a report on development patterns in the DC area, Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth. The report stresses the popularity of transit-oriented developments both within cities and in some suburban areas like Tysons.
While Fairfax County has placed an emphasis encouraging future growth in transit-oriented developments, the question could be asked whether Fairfax County is doing enough to ensure that these new developments are walkable and bikeable. The Mosaic District is touted as an example of good mixed-use development near transit, but walking and biking conditions in the Gallows Road/Lee Hwy area are dangerous and unfriendly, with wide streets, fast traffic, and almost no dedicated space for cyclists.
From the Cushman & Wakefield press release (emphasis added):
The report features industry-leading insights and market analysis, animated GIFs is available to download at the following link:http://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/research-and-insight/2014/urban-development-fall-2014/
Key findings of this report for Washington D.C. include:
- Population growth is not confined to the city center although population in the District proper is at its highest level in four decades.
- Projects in the downtown core, or along transit hubs in the suburbs, which offer the live/work/play lifestyle, are attracting businesses and residents alike.
- DC ranks first in the U.S. among all urban areas in terms of wasted time commuting: a total of 67 hours per year, per commuter.
- Commuters in the District of Columbia are second only to New York City in terms of walking, biking or using public transport—D.C. government aims for 75% of all commutes to be within these modes, shrinking auto use among commuters from 42% to 25% by 2032, a goal no major city has yet attained.
- Long-term plan for Tysons calls for 75% of new development within a half mile of a Metro station.
- Montgomery County has a potential 13 million square feet of commercial space and 14,000 residential units within three quarters of a mile of the Red Line’s White Flint Metro stop.
Paula Munger, Cushman & Wakefield’s Washington-based Research Director, spearheaded the report and notes that “Public Private Partnerships are most critical to the successful revival of downtown cities—hip eateries, thriving arts districts, and fully occupied offices and residences depend on sustainable, quality transit—developers and governments must work together to make this happen.”
In April 2013, Maryland and Virginia were among 31 other states to pass legislation to enable public/private partnerships to be established for transportation projects. Virginia was an early leader in these partnerships and has evolved into a national role model.
Real estate occupiers and investors are seeking accessible locations close to where the millennial generation – expected to make up more than half of the global workforce by 2020 – live, thus driving the construction of the Transit Oriented Developments (TODs).
In the Washington region, the report highlights four key mixed-use developments, which are all located very close to Metro stations: CityCenterDC, The Yards in Southeast, Capitol Crossing and the Wharf.
“Transit oriented development (TOD) is the most substantial development trend of the early 21st century,” said Christopher B. Leinberger, the Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate, Chair of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business and President, of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors.
“As Cushman & Wakefield points out in its Urban Development research report, this trend is a majority and in some cases the vast majority of new commercial development, as well as residential development, in many Metro areas today,” said Leinberger.
The Sustainable D.C. Plan lays out a strategy to have 75% of all D.C. commutes taking transit, biking or walking by 2032. “Re-orienting our transportation spending toward rail and bus transit, biking and walking are the most important infrastructure investments North American metropolitan areas can make,” said Leinberger.
“As the C&W research shows, this new walkable urban development is occurring in both our central cities and urbanizing suburbs. Following the research findings will lead to rental and cap rate premiums that will not be ignored by investors and developers,” concluded Leinberger.
Developers providing better bike parkingDevelopers Build Luxury, Bike-Friendly Buildings, with the surging popularity of biking, some developers are finally providing state of the art bike parking for their tenants. All too often bike parking provided by developers has been inferior, both in quantity and quality. It's encouraging to see that some developers realize that in order to attract cyclists, they need to provide much better bike parking.
See an earlier article in the Post about good bike parking in DC area apartment buildings.
Wednesday is International Walk to School Day
By my rough count of events listed on the Walk to School page, there are 37 schools in Fairfax County participating. Rain is forecast for tonight but tomorrow should be sunny and mild, an ideal day for the event. If you get up really early you might even be able to view the total lunar eclipse just as the sun rises.
Labels: international walk to school day
Seven Corners Redevelopment Forum tonightFairfax county is studying redevelopment of the Seven Corners area, a densely populated area where several major roads converge. Navigating through the area is a challenge for cyclists and motorists. Cyclists are encouraged to attend the Mason District Council 7-Corners Forum tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School to ask how safe bicycling conditions will be incorporated into the plan.
As background see the Seven Corners Visioning site that includes links to various planning documents. The Existing Conditions report notes the challenges faced by bicyclists. It also contains an old excerpt from the Bicycle Master Plan for that area. Instead of showing Routes 7 & 50 as "Policy Roads," as depicted in the report, the current bike plan recommends parallel shared use paths on Route 50 and a cycle track on Route 7.
Route 1 Multimodal transportation study meeting Oct. 9Do you want safe, convenient bike facilities along Route 1? The Route 1 Multimodal Alternatives Analysis team is holding a public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 9 at the South County Government Center to report on the current status of the work:
Thursday, October 9
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Presentation at 6:30 p.m.)
South County Center
8350 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria
Public Transit: Fairfax Connector Route 171 and the REX
See more info about the meeting.
Planning Commission defers action on Bicycle Master Plan to Oct. 15 - Update: Video availableBicycle Master Plan, the Planning Commission deferred action on the plan until their October 15 meeting. During the hearing approximately 15 people spoke in support of the plan and no one spoke in opposition. Another large group of supporters were present who did not speak. Thanks to everyone who took the time to support the plan. It was a very long night but the commission heard loud and clear that a broad spectrum of the community supports the plan.
Despite a five-year long process of community meetings, advisory committee meetings, focus groups, and area-wide meetings, at the end of the hearing Commissioner Murphy from the Springfield District said that in order for the plan to succeed the county needs to get it out to the citizens to tell them what's going on. Maybe some people haven't been paying attention, but I don't think the county could do any more to inform the public. Besides the bike plan meetings, the county recently held an extensive Dialogue on Transportation. Transportation chief Tom Biesiadny noted that several of the bike projects in the plan were included in the Dialogue project list and have been approved by the Board of Supervisors. It's doubtful that between now and Oct. 15 much outreach can be done. Commissioner Hedetniemi eloquently responded that the county has done a phenomenal job of outreach and commended Charlie Strunk, the bike coordinator, for his work on the plan.
Speakers highlighted the many health, environmental, and economic benefits of bicycling. Several young people attended despite the late hour, including two young women from Reston who encouraged their fellow students to follow their lead and bike to school. They noted that many kids would like to bike but they don't think it's safe, and the bike plan will help create safer bike conditions. They also noted that biking as an extracurricular activity is prohibited. Several commission members encouraged the speakers to lobby the school board to change the policy.
The October 15 commission meeting is on the same night as the FABB meeting. We think it's important that some supporters be present to hear the discussion on the bike plan. One disadvantage of the deferral is that many of those who attended the public hearing will not be present for the discussion that precedes the vote. We hope that some of you can attend the Oct. 15 meeting beginning at 8:15 p.m. FABB will discuss the conflict with our meeting and determine whether to postpone our meeting or perhaps change the meeting location to the government center. Stay tuned.
Update: If you were not able to attend the meeting, you can see the video of the public hearing.
Labels: bicycle master plan