Thursday, February 5, 2015

FABB letter to Board of Supervisors asking for their support for bicycle facilities in the I-66 corridor

Today FABB sent the following letter to all members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, urging them to support bicycle access in the I-66 corridor outside the Beltway:
I am writing to urge you to ask the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to provide bicycle and pedestrian accommodations as part of the I-66 Corridor Multimodal Solutions project outside the Beltway.  Over 450 Fairfax County cyclists contacted VDOT asking them to include these bike facilities as part of the project.  This is a once in a generation opportunity to make this corridor truly multi-modal by providing grade-separated trails parallel to I-66 that would be an extension of the Custis Trail, and ensure safe and accessible bike and pedestrian connections to transit and at all I-66 crossings.   

VDOT knows that simply adding lanes to I-66 will not solve existing congestion problems. Enhanced transit, high occupancy toll lanes, Transportation Demand Management (TDM), and bicycle and pedestrian facilities are all needed for true multimodal solutions. As we've seen with the Silver Line, safe bicycle and pedestrian access to transit is critical for reducing congestion and promoting biking and walking to the stations.  We need to begin planning now to ensure safe, connected facilities for people walking and biking to future transit stations.  Otherwise, transit and TDM solutions will not be effective.  

The I-66 Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision recognizes the need for intermodal connectivity in this corridor and specifically recommends a bicycle trail as part of the solutions stating:

The provision of a bicycle trail that serves the I-66 corridor outside of the Beltway, which is included in the County's transportation plan, would provide bicycle accessibility to large portions of Fairfax County and beyond. Furthermore, this trail and/or future extensions of this trail would provide interconnectivity to other bicycle facilities planned in both Fairfax and Prince William Counties and allow for opportunities to provide crossings of I-66 with exclusive bicycle/ pedestrian bridges or underpasses.

A multi-use trail along I-66 would provide solid steps in support of both the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan and the Countywide Trails Plan.  The County Bicycle Master Plan that you and the other Board Supervisors unanimously approved in November calls for a trail on the north side of I-66 between the Beltway and Route 50.  Additionally, the Countywide Trails Plan recommends a Major Regional Trail along I-66.  VDOT can support the County by providing a mulit-use trail along the I-66 corridor.    

These I-66 multi-use trails would connect with the Custis Trail that extends along I-66 inside the Beltway. Over 600,000 bicycle trips were recorded on bike counters on the Custis Trail last year. The Custis Trail is a major bicycle facility that was built with a very narrow profile on one side of the highway, in many places adjacent to the sound barrier.  We need to extend the Custis Trail outside the Beltway in a similar manner, and now is the time to build it.

I ask for your support to ensure these bicycle and pedestrian facilities are included in the I-66 project outside the Beltway.  Please insist that VDOT include a multi-use trail along the corridor and provide safe, accessible connections to transit and at all I-66 crossings.

I appreciate your time and consideration.  Feel free to contact me at 703-328-9619 if I can provide assistance in any way.    


Bruce Wright

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