Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September-October 2015 FABB Newsletter

September-October 2015 FABB News
A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

Clips Beer & Film Tour in Reston on September 10

New Belgium Brewing Company’s Clips Beer & Film Tour is a celebration of handmade films, handmade beers and community benefiting FABB. Join us at the Reston Town Center on Thursday, September 10 from 7-10 p.m. Sample some of New Belgium Brewery's more exotic beers while enjoying short films displayed on a large portable screen. Films begin at 8:30 p.m. All proceeds raised at the event go toward helping FABB make Fairfax County a better place to bike.

Everyone is encouraged to ride, walk, or take transit. The Bike Lane will provide free bike valet. Everyone must have a valid government-issued ID to purchase beer tokens. Water stations will be available so bring your water bottle. See the Reston Clips Tour Facebook page for more info.

Progress On Parallel Trail Along I-66 Outside the Beltway

VDOT is refining the design of the I-66 parallel trail to reduce the right of way impacts on residents. VDOT is also trying to reduce at-grade conflicts at ramp crossings using bridges or tunnels. We expect to see the preferred alternative for the trail in mid-September. Public meetings in Fairfax County will be held Monday, October 19, 2015 at Oakton High School
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181 and Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. The meetings go from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Please plan to attend one of these meetings to learn more about the parallel trail and the bicycle facilities planned for the rebuilt bridges crossing I-66.

Reston Bicycle Club  Donates Mobile Bike Counter to Fairfax County

Thanks to a generous donation by Reston Bicycle Club and help from Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, Fairfax County recently took possession of their first-ever automated bike counter. The mobile counter will allow Fairfax to begin to establish bicycle and pedestrian counts at locations around the county.

Counts are transmitted automatically to a central server and are accessible by the county using custom software from Eco Counter. That data can be displayed on a publicly accessible dashboard the following day, similar to Arlington's Counter Dashboard.

Eventually Fairfax County hopes to have a network of counters. The counters would be part of an annual performance tracking program that is recommended by the recently approved Bicycle Master Plan. The counts would be used "to both establish a baseline assessment of bicycle activity in Fairfax County, and to track on an annual basis the implementation and performance of the Master Plan."

Help FABB Identify Bike Rack Locations in Fairfax County

Conveniently located, good quality bike parking is an important way to encourage more people to bike. Many bike destinations either have no bike parking or the racks provided are inadequate or incorrectly installed. The county is making some progress. Bicycle Parking Guidelines were recently presented to the Board of Supervisors. The county also recently ordered 35 inverted U bike racks to be placed where needed on county property.

To improve bike parking in the county, help us locate and map existing bike racks. Rackspotter is a web-app that Arlington County is using to map bike racks. The application is now available for mapping racks in the greater DC area. The app allows you to identify the rack type, capacity, and location. You can also add a photo of the rack. As you travel around the county, why not take a minute to map bike racks that you encounter.

Provide Feedback to VDOT on Biking Conditions in Northern Virginia

VDOT is updating the Northern Virginia Regional Bikeway and Trail Network Study completed in 2004. NoVa cyclists are encouraged to participate in a survey to provide feedback to the study team on the current state of cycling in the NoVa area and future needs. FABB is part of the team that is working with VDOT to update the study.

Fairfax High and Middle School Students Can Ride Connector Buses for Free

Fairfax County is experimenting with allowing high school and middle school students to ride Fairfax Connector buses for free to get to and from school, to after school jobs, and other activities. Students must apply for a pass that is valid on Fairfax Connector buses between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. M-F. In-school outreach is being done at five target high schools. See the FABB blog for more info and a link to a video about the program. We were pleased to see a student demonstrating how to use the bus bike racks in the video.

NVRC Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Events

On August 7 and August 22, Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), Inova Trauma Center, and FCPS Safe Routes to School (SRTS), along with League Cycling Instructor Kelley, put on pedestrian and bicycling safety events at two apartment complexes on Rt. 1 in Alexandria. The communities were selected under a VA Department of Motor Vehicles Grant because they have experienced pedestrian and/or bicycle fatalities in interactions with motorists. 

FCPS SRTS put on bike rodeos, Inova distributed helmets, NVRC gave information in English and Spanish about safe use of the roads and crosswalks, and Kelley instructed about helmet use, the importance of lights, and signaling.  On the 22nd, two young mechanics from Phoenix Bikes and volunteers from VeloCity provided minor bike maintenance. The coalition of partners will host another event in Herndon on September 19. For more information or to volunteer, contact Kelley at  Spanish language skills particularly sought.

Incremental Progress Improving Multi-modal Transportation - by FABB member Paul Kent

We are seeing incremental change in multi-modal transportation. Many have seen bicycles of all different types (and condition) locked to anything vertical at entrances of Metro stations in NoVa. Bike lockers were installed at stations but they cannot be expanded easily so why not install a secure bicycle room with greater capacity?

A while back though, money was found to improve bus stops in Fairfax County. Concrete pads were installed and some shelters were also installed. Now we are seeing bicycles locked to the posts of shelters in what is a clear indication of the appeal and utility of multi-modal transportation.  All Fairfax Connector buses have dual bike racks on the front that have become so popular, bicyclists now are reluctant to use them for fear the rack will be full when the bus arrives at their stop.

Reflecting on this, while I have multiple bicycles at my disposal, a year in review finds I most often reached for my folding bicycle, which follows me on the bus and Metro to get me pretty much anywhere I want to go in the greater Washington Metropolitan Area, and back.

More and more on-road bicycle facilities are appearing. While painfully slow for some, the dots are being connected, making cycling available to an ever greater proportion of the 1 million-plus inhabitants of Fairfax County.

There is much to cheer us, even as we face a mountain of work ahead.

One step at a time.
If you don't already, please Like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter feed. If you have news about bicycling in Fairfax to share with our readers, please submit brief articles to

  • September 9, Wednesday - Vesper Trail lighting meeting, Wolftrap Elementary, 7 p.m.
  • September 10, Thursday - Clips Beer & Film Tour, Reston Town Center
  • September 16, Wednesday - FABB Monthly Meeting in Vienna at 7:30 p.m.
  • October 21, Wednesday - FABB Monthly Meeting in Vienna at 7:30 p.m.
  • October 24, Saturday - Coalition for Smarter Growth Walking Tour - Metro to Mosaic

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