Wednesday, December 23, 2015

FABB 2015 Year in Review

donatenowFABB had another busy and productive year promoting bicycling in Fairfax County in 2015. Please consider helping us out with a tax-deductible end-of-year donation to FABB to support our work in 2016. Thanks to everyone who has already made a donation. Below is a summary of major bike-related milestones during the past year.

Parallel Trail Included in Final Plans for I-66 Outside the Beltway

i66trailplanFABB led the effort to ensure that a trail parallel to I-66 was included as part of the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project. More than 480 cyclists wrote to VDOT asking that the trail be included in response to our appeal. Thank you and thanks to WABA for their help. FABB reps attended the many I-66 public meetings and spoke in support of the trail. We also met with VDOT and county staff and hosted a larger meeting of I-66 project reps to share our ideas and concerns. We plan to continue to be vigilant over the coming months and years to ensure that bike facilities are an integral part of the project.

New Fairfax County Bike Coordinator

After months of searching, in November, Fairfax County named Adam Lind as the new Bicycle Program Manager, commonly referred to as the Bike Coordinator. Adam served as the acting Bike Coordinator after Charlie Strunk, who became the county's first bike coordinator in 2006, retired in January. On Charlie's last day with the county, the Board of Supervisors renamed the Wiehle-Reston East bike room in his honor.

County Plans for Expanding Bicycle Program and Staff

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in September approved the Transportation Demand Management Plan 2016-2021, which includes recommendations for funding a new "Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator." This position is intended to conduct encouragement and education programs, as recommended in the Bicycle Master Plan, which will complement the existing Bicycle Coordinator and Pedestrian Coordinator positions who focus on the development of infrastructure projects.

Programs for Young Cyclists Continued to Growth

Bike to School Day in May was a huge success in Fairfax County where 54 schools participated. Many schools met the 100 or more bikers challenge and 7 schools participated for the first time. The Fairfax County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Coordinator conducted bike safety classes at 15 elementary schools. Also, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), using SRTS grant funds, purchased 30 bikes and 6 Strider no-pedal balance bikes for these classes. Additional grant funds will be used to purchase more bikes to expand the bike program to middle schools. FABB played a key role in getting the county to hire the SRTS coordinator who organized these projects.

reston-bikeshare-locationsReston Bikeshare Plans Advancing

Plans to make Reston a part of Capital Bikeshare continued to progress this year. Fairfax County is applying for an additional $500,000 from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for capital equipment. Fairfax’s plan calls for 130 bikes at 13 bike stations in and around Reston Town Center, the Plaza America Shopping Center, Reston Hospital Center, and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Fairfax County Receives First-Ever Automated Bike Counter

Reston Bicycle Club's generous donation of a mobile bike counter, with help from FABB, enabled Fairfax County to begin to establish bicycle and pedestrian counts at locations around the county. Eventually the county hopes to have a network of counters to establish a baseline assessment of bicycle activity in Fairfax County and track the implementation and performance of the Bicycle Master Plan.

Fairfax Economic Strategic Plan Supports Bicycling

Fairfax County’s updated economic strategic plan, adopted in March, emphasizes the creation of livable communities with expanded bike-pedestrian networks. The plan proposes funding for additional bicycle and pedestrian improvements and easements for new trails and park greenways in line with the Bicycle Master Plan recommendations.

VDOT Receives National Safety Award for Lawyers Road

As it worked on several new road diet projects this summer, VDOT was recognized with a National Roadway Safety Award for the improvements achieved by its FABB-supported 2009 road diet project on Lawyers Road.

Rising Pace of Projects, Proposals, and Hearings

A number of local projects and proposals impacted bicyclists this year.  Projects included VDOT’s creation of more than 34 miles of new bike lanes in the county as part of this summer's repaving program, replacement of the rusted Van Dorn Street pedestrian bridge in Alexandria, and a new Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) signal at the W&OD Trail/Cedar Lane intersection in Vienna. FABB participated in multiple meetings on the Rt. 7 Corridor Improvements Project which includes parallel multi-use trails between Reston and Tysons, and the previously mentioned bike facilities that are part of the I-66 widening project.

Snow Removal from County Trails

In October, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted unanimously to work with Fairfax County to remove snow from county trails in Reston near the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station. Earlier in the year NOVA Parks began clearing snow from the 45 miles of the W&OD Trail. This will help transportation cyclists commute year round.

New Bike-Related Laws in 2015

Virginia’s legislators passed two bicycle-related laws that went into effect on July 1, 2015. The first prohibits motorists from following too closely behind another vehicle, including a bicycle, not just another "motor" vehicle. The second law allows a motorist to safely pass a bicyclist by crossing the solid yellow line.

Successful Clips Beer & Film Tour in Reston

In September, FABB volunteers helped bring New Belgium Brewing Company’s Clips Beer and Film Tour to Reston Town Center for its inaugural Northern Virginia run. Proceeds from the event benefit FABB’s work in making Fairfax a better place to bike. Crowds of visitors got to try some of New Belgium’s more exotic beers while enjoying short films displayed on a large portable screen. FABB received help from The Bike Lane which provided bike valet service.

FABB Chairman Bruce Wright Honored

The Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations awarded Bruce Wright a Citation of Merit as part of its annual Citizen of the Year program, which recognizes people whose voluntary contributions of time and talent enhance the quality of life of Fairfax County citizens.

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