Monday, July 10, 2017

July-August 2017 FABB News

A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling

I-66 Outside the Beltway Parallel Trail Advocacy Update 

As many of you are aware, FABB conducted a major advocacy campaign in May and June on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project. In particular, FABB focused its efforts on gathering information about VDOT’s plans to include a parallel bicycle/pedestrian trail in the project and publicizing the need for public input to make the proposed trail better. As part of these efforts FABB for the first time produced a video animation (see next item for details) that simulated a user’s experience on the trail to help people visualize some of the current plan's major problems. We also initiated a drive to have FABB members and others send email and written comments to VDOT and local, state, and national officials.  

FABB has been pleased with the public response and the wider interest shown in the issues we raised on social media and with local press outlets. During the three public meetings in Oakton, Centreville, and Bristow in June, bicyclists were well represented by FABB officers and members along with many other interested riders. Alerted by FABB to concerns about riders' potential exposure to noise and pollutants and the limited access to surrounding neighborhoods that will be caused by the construction of significant trail segments on the highway side of the sound barriers, supporters of better bicycling in Fairfax County stepped up and spoke out. 

As important, throughout the past two months FABB maintained ongoing contacts with VDOT to gather information, clear up details, and present our concerns and ideas. VDOT has our appreciation for its openness to our efforts to provide constructive criticism. 

We’re not finished yet. Design Public Hearings are tentatively scheduled for this fall. This will be one more chance for FABB members to push for a well-designed shared use path that will provide a safe, healthy, and enjoyable experience for trail users of all ages. 

FABB’s First Animation

FABB Animation.
In June FABB produced its first animation video with Claudio Oddo, a computer graphic animator who specializes in photo-realistic environment modeling. The video was produced in under five days using VDOT data, but it did not represent all of the details of the proposed I-66 expansion. Given constraints of time and resources, the highway was only a rough approximation based on available documents. But, after making a correction for a change to the barrier between the trail and highway, we think the animation does a great job of simulating a bike rider’s experience on the trail. In particular, a viewer can get a clear sense of how close the traffic is to the trail, the absence of grade separation, and the absence of natural barriers and cover on the very exposed trail. 

The video accomplished our main goal, which was to draw attention to the parallel trail issue and get more people involved. FABB greatly appreciates Claudio’s excellent work and wants to thank all of our supporters, whose donations make it possible for us to try innovative ways (innovative for us, anyway) to advocate on your behalf. 

FABB to Host Capital Trails Coalition Workshop and Meeting 

FABB will be hosting an upcoming Capital Trails Coalition Meeting on 27 July at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Suite 200, 3040 Williams Drive in Fairfax. FABB joined the CTC this year to be part of a collaborative effort among numerous regional public and private organizations, agencies, and citizen volunteers to advance the completion of a world-class network of interconnected multi-use trails in the DC metropolitan region.

FABB officers Jeff Anderson and Sonya Breehey will be leading an 8-mile bicycle ride workshop for CTC members and others prior to the meeting. The ride will start near the Vienna Metro South Parking Garage. Participants will have the opportunity to see and discuss the Vaden Drive and Circle Tower Park trails, the Picket Road shared use path, Thaiss Park and the newly installed VDOT Pickett Road underpass, and segments of the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail. The pre-meeting ride workshop will start at 11:00 am and the meeting will begin at 1:00 pm. 

About 35 bicyclists from the Capital Region are expected to attend, and FABB members are encouraged to join in to learn more about the coalition and to meet other committed bicyclists. Participants should plan on parking their vehicles at the Vienna Metro South Parking Garage or riding METRO with their bike. They can bring a bag lunch or there will be an opportunity to buy lunch at the Mosaic District shopping area. Please send an e-mail to if you have any questions or plan on attending.

Tour de Fat is Coming!

Now in its 17th year, New Belgium Brewery’s charity event, Tour de Fat, returns to DC on July 22, and FABB will again be participating in the festival as our major fundraising event for the year. 

Tour de Fat has changed this year to accommodate holding the event in more cities, presenting bigger entertainment acts, and reaching its goal of generating more money for non-profit partners like FABB. The tour has moved to a paid, ticketed model and rather than an all-day event, it will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. next to Nationals Park. All tickets are for general admission and cost $25 (kids under 12 enter for free). The price will increase to $30 two weeks prior to the show, so get your tickets early. In addition to the usual cast of circus performers, vaudeville acts, and magicians, the DC Tour de Fat will feature the rhythm and blues band Vintage Trouble. There will not be a bike parade this year, but attendees are still encourged to wear wild costumes! 

FABB has again volunteered to check identification and issue the wristbands needed to purchase beer.  We plan to run two shifts of 2-1/2 hours each and need 15 volunteers for each shift for a total of 30 volunteers. In addition to helping FABB earn its share of the gate, our volunteers get free admission to the Tour and will have time to experience some of the music and fun.  

This is FABB’s best opportunity of the year to raise needed funds for our work on making bicycling better in Fairfax County. Please mark your calendars for July 22 and plan on joining us at the Tour as a volunteer or as just a music- and beer-lover. Also, please encourage your friends and family to attend this wonderful, family-friendly festival.

Maintenance of VDOT Trails 

FABB in late June met with the VDOT Northern Virginia Maintenance Division staff to discuss the need for improved trail maintenance. Our goal was to advocate with VDOT for a dedicated full time staff person on trail maintenance, dedicated bicycle facility maintenance funding, and a VDOT-conducted bicycle facility inventory. We learned the following: 

More funds are going to trail maintenance. VDOT since 2015 has made repairs to parts of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, but it plans to pave the entire Parkway trail this summer. Because recent trail repairs have prompted cyclists’ complaints about quality and the lack of notice of closed trail segments, FABB will be working with VDOT to ensure trail closures are publicized to help cyclists safely navigate construction areas.

No dedicated staff or funding (yet).  VDOT could not make a commitment on these requests. Still, we are encouraged that funding has been available recently, and FABB will continue advocating for sufficient funding to repair our neglected trails.

VDOT is responsive to identified repair needs. Cyclists who come across a repair issue can and should report the problem on the myVDOT website. This is the best way to report a maintenance need, and, if safety is a concern, the requester should state this in the comment box on the form. 

Identifying trails. To help it prioritize trail maintenance work and better plan for needed trail and bike lane connections, VDOT is finalizing a contractor-produced bicycle facility inventory that identifies VDOT-owned bicycle and pedestrian facilities along with ones that VDOT has agreed to maintain. This project should be completed by the end of the year.  
A “best practices” manual and volunteers. FABB offered to prepare a list of suggested best practices for maintaining bicycle facilities for use in a proposed statewide manual. VDOT staff also welcomed groups adopting a trail or performing volunteer maintenance service on it. 

FABB Still in National Bike Challenge’s Top 20

FABB, as you know, is participating this year in the National Bike Challenge, which is organized by the League of American Bicyclists with sponsorship by 3M, to help encourage current and new bicyclists to get out and ride. FABB started out strong and was among the top 10 advocacy organizations in the nation during the Challenge’s first few weeks. We’ve since dropped back to 18th in the rankings as of late June. 

So, if you’ve already registered, get out there and ride. If you haven’t signed up, there is still plenty of time. The “Challenge Period” goes through September 30. Just go to the National Bike Challenge website, follow the directions, and start adding your miles to FABB’s tally. 

FABB wants to thank Bikes@Vienna for their donation in support of our participation in the National Bike Challenge.  

Upcoming FABB Meetings

FABB’s bimonthly Board Meeting will be held on July 6 at the Oakton Library and, while space in the meeting room is limited, members are invited to attend. FABB’s monthly meeting in July will be back at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna on the 19th. Rather than a general meeting, however, our tentative plan is to focus on bicycling improvements, needs, and plans in and around the Town of Vienna. The August monthly meeting, meanwhile, will be at the Mason District Governmental Center in Annandale on August 16 and will cover the Providence and Mason Districts. Please plan on joining us. 


If you haven’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

Upcoming Events
July 6      FABB Board Meeting, Oakton Library, Oakton
July 19    FABB Monthly Meeting, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna
July 22    Tour de Fat, 136 N St SE, Washington DC (next to Nationals Park)
July 27    Capital Trails Coalition Meeting, 3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax
Aug 12    Brewfest, Workhouse Arts Center, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton

Aug 16    FABB Monthly Meeting, Providence-Mason Districts, Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale



Post a Comment

Contact FABB via email:

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter

Subscribe to posts:
[Atom 1.0] or [RSS 2.0]

  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?