Saturday, September 9, 2017

September-October 2017 FABB News

I-66 Parallel Trail Update: VA Legislators Support Improved Trail Plans

In mid-August several Virginia legislators sent a letter to Aubrey Laine, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation, to express concerns about the design of the I-66 parallel trail. Working with FABB and other advocacy groups, Senator Scott Surovell spearheaded this effort which opposed plans to sandwich I-66 trail between a sound wall and traffic for five-miles of its length. The Washington Post reported on the letter and controversy and included a link to an edited version of the simulation video produced by FABB. 

The legislators’ letter concludes by asking Secretary Laine to "Please redesign this project to place the shared use path on the outside of the sound walls, ten- feet-wide with two-foot-shoulders on either side, or 14-feet-wide, and extend the shared use path the entire length of the widening project."

Susan Shaw, director of Mega Projects for VDOT, responded that the department is working with the project’s private partners to find other locations within those five miles of trail where the facility could be moved to the other side of the wall. A modified design would be released for public review this fall, she said. Adam Lind, the county bike coordinator, noted that FCDOT, VDOT, and the contractor are working together to find places where the trail can be placed outside the sound walls.

Park Authority Draft Master Plan Ready for Comment

The Fairfax County Park Authority has made its draft Great Parks, Great Communities Parks and Recreation System Master Plan available for public comment. The FCPA staff will be using the finalized plan as part of an upcoming accreditation review to maintain the park system’s Gold Medal status. 

FABB encourages its members to review and comment on the plan. The current draft is attractive but short on substance. For example, the draft plan contains no specific and measurable goals for increasing the number and quality of trails even though trails were the top priority need for adult park users. It provides no details on claimed plans to develop a strategy and roadmap for system maintenance. It appropriately emphasizes the strong parts of the park system but ignores problem areas, such as the unsafe trail conditions on portions of the 40-mile Cross-County Trail. 

This comment period is an opportunity for trail users to speak up and tell the park authority and others that our trails need help. 

There will be a public input meeting on Tuesday, September 12, from 7 to 9 pm in the Multi-Purpose Room at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria.

You also can submit comments via and the comment box on the FCPA webpage

The Park Authority will be accepting comments until September 22, 2017. 
Bike Count Volunteers Needed for September Survey

As we “go to print,” the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and BikeFairfax still need a few more volunteers for a bike and pedestrian count in September.

This year's annual bicycle and pedestrian counts, which are part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, will be held on Thursday, September 14 from 5-7pm and on Saturday, September 16 from 12-2pm.

To sign up, please visit this Fairfax County volunteer site.

Orientation training is scheduled for Thursday, September 7, from 6:30-7:30pm at 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, in Fairfax. If you are unable to attend the orientation, the county will be able to provide you with training materials via email.

Public Input Sought on Proposed FY 2019 Transportation Alternatives Projects

FABB encourages members to attend a Fairfax County public meeting on September 14, 2017, where county staff will be soliciting comments on the proposed FY 2019 Transportation Alternatives Projects. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033. At the meeting, a presentation about the program will be given, followed by a question-and-answer session.

After approval by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the program’s projects will be eligible for submission to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for funding under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, also known as the FAST Act. This program provides 80 percent of the funds for each eligible project. A 20 percent local match is required. Any project presented to the board for endorsement must have an identified source of funding for this match.

Activities or improvements eligible under the FAST Act Transportation Alternatives provision that FABB will be promoting include:
  • Construction, planning, and design of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation. These include sidewalks, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian and bicycle signals, traffic calming techniques, lighting and other safety-related infrastructure, and transportation projects to achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, or other non-motorized transportation users.
The FAST Act also provides support for:
  • Infrastructure-related projects-planning, design, and construction of infrastructure-related projects on any public road or any bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail in the vicinity of schools that will substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school.
  • These projects can include sidewalk improvements, traffic calming and speed reduction improvements, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements, on-street bicycle facilities, off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities, secure bicycle parking facilities, and traffic diversion improvements in the vicinity of schools.
Non-infrastructure-related activities to encourage walking and bicycling to school also are allowed under the FAST Act. These activities include public awareness campaigns and outreach to press and community leaders, traffic education and enforcement in the vicinity of schools, student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health, and environment, and funding for training, volunteers. The act also supports funding for managers of safe routes to school programs and a Safe Routes to School coordinator.

For more information on the proposed program or to request reasonable ADA accommodations, contact the Fairfax County Department of Transportation at 703-877-5725, TTY 711.

Fairfax County Parkway Trail/Dulles Toll Road Ramp Crossing Options Meeting

Another opportunity for FABB members in the Reston area to speak up in support of better bicycling is scheduled for later this month. As many local riders are aware, two of the more dangerous intersections on the Fairfax County Parkway Trail are the trail crossings at the Dulles Toll Road entrance and exit ramps in Reston. Fairfax County is holding a community meeting to discuss two options for improving one crossing over the Toll Road eastbound entrance ramp. The meeting is on September 14 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Dogwood Elementary School in Reston.

One option is an improved, signalized at-grade crossing. The other option is a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the ramp. While the bridge option would involve a circuitous loop, it would be safer than the at-grade crossing, and FABB is recommending that the county pursue this option.

FABB is encouraging its Reston members to please mark your calendars and make plans to attend this meeting to make sure our voice is heard on this important issue. 

National Youth Bike Summit 

The DC area will be hosting this year’s Youth Bike Summit from October 6-8.  This gathering focuses on involving, training, and empowering young people to become leaders in transforming the future of national bike advocacy and making it a more accessible and inclusive movement.

FABB is joining with 17 other area groups, businesses, and government offices on the Host City Committee and will be working to best this year’s summit the best ever. 

The Summit will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City with registration starting at 4:00 pm on Friday, October 6. In addition to social events, the attendees will have the opportunity to attend sessions on creating a bicycle friendly America, bikes as vehicles for learning and empowerment, bike education, advocacy techniques, entrepreneurship, bike touring, and Vision Zero and bike safety.  A National Youth Bike Ride will be held on Sunday morning from 7:30-9:30am.

For more details on the Summit, please check out the event website

Communications Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator Positions Created

FABB is looking for two volunteers to help continue to advance our goals of growing the organization and making it an even more effective advocate for better bicycling in Fairfax County. 

First, FABB needs someone to serve as our Volunteer Coordinator. This person will bring the skills and experience to help grow our organization and advocacy efforts by creating, implementing, and managing FABB’s volunteer programs and associated training. Duties can be performed at home and require an anticipated commitment of 5-15 hours per week, depending on FABB’s schedule of events. 

The Volunteer Coordinator will be the primary supervisor of FABB’s volunteer recruitment and management efforts; organize, coordinate, and manage the recruitment of volunteers for advocacy, education, encouragement, and fundraising efforts; and provide direction, coordination, and consultation for all volunteer functions along with related duties. Strong organization skills will be a plus in performing this job. 

We believe this position will be an excellent opportunity for the right person to gain experience in preparation for future paid employment with better-known non-profit organizations, museums, and related organizations that rely on membership support. 

Next, we need someone who has the talent and desire to create and maintain a strong online presence for FABB to serve as our Communications Coordinator. In this role, the volunteer will have the opportunity to enhance his or her marketing, networking, and social media skills while helping out the local community. Duties can be performed at home and require the commitment of approximately 5-15 hours per week. 

We envision this volunteer being FABB’s primary social media coordinator and editor of the FABB blog and bimonthly FABB newsletter.  The new coordinator would create original and engaging text, image, and video content for FABB’s blog, emails, newsletter, and social media sites along with additional duties detailed here.  We are looking for someone with excellent communication skills and experience using popular social media platforms.

For more information on these positions, please contact: 
Steve Ward 

New Bicyclist Safety Study

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a coalition of state roadway safety officers, released a report on bicyclist safety in late August that was a mix of good and bad news.  The good news is that more people are biking every year for commuting, recreation, and fitness and that fatal collisions involving children have declined dramatically. The bad news is that bike deaths increased by 12.2 percent in 2015, outpacing the rise in overall traffic fatalities that also include motorists and pedestrians. According to the report the average age of cyclists killed in collisions in 2015 was 45.

The report also found that alcohol was a factor in 37 percent of fatal bike crashes, distracted driving was to blame for 9 percent of bicyclist deaths in 2015, and that more than half of cyclists killed were not wearing a helmet.  In addition, it is estimated that 45,000 cyclists were injured in crashes in 2015 but police probably record only a fraction of those crashes.

To improve bicyclist safety, the report recommends more marked bike lanes, separated bike lanes, bike boxes at traffic signals, and traffic signals specifically designated for cyclists. You can read the entire report here

FABB Now Part of AmazonSmile Program

FABB members and supporters can now use some of their purchases from Amazon to help fund FABB. Our group recently became part of the AmazonSmile program, a website operated by Amazon. The site features the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping as on The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to FABB.  Click on FABB’s unique link,, bookmark it, and then shop like you normally do.  Thanks in advance for your support. 

Centreville Spanish-Language Bike Safety Classes

FABB continues to provide bicycle safety education to the Centreville Day Labor Center. Katie Kelly and Carl Riemer visited the center on August 23 to deliver general cycling safety tips and the ABCs of maintenance. The education was delivered in Spanish to approximately a dozen participants. FABB plans to continue visiting the labor center on a quarterly basis to deliver different elements of bicycle education. 
FABB Still in National Bike Challenge’s Top 20

As of the end of August, FABB remained among the Top 20 advocacy groups participating in the National Bike Challenge. The challenge, which is organized by the League of American Bicyclists, seeks to encourage current and new bicyclists to get out and ride. The “Challenge Period” goes through September 30, so there is still time to get out and ride to add to FABB’s tally.  Please help us move back up into the Top 10.  

If you haven’t registered yet, just go to the National Bike Challenge website and follow the directions.

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

Braddock District Social Ride

Bike Your Park Day is Saturday September 30. Why not join FABB for a Braddock District Ride that visits several local parks? This is an introductory ride to existing and recent bike infrastructure. The ride is a 16 mile loop, to showcase the Fairfax County Parkway trail, the Cross County Trail, Lake Accotink Park, the new Liberty Bell Pohick Stream Valley Trail and Shiplett Boulevard bike lanes.

A comfortable 8 mph pace is planned, with water available at the halfway point in Lake Accotink.  The ride will take approximately 2.5 hours. Parking and the ride's start point will be at Cherry Run Elementary School, 9732 Ironmaster Dr, Burke. We wll meet at 9 am and the ride will start soon thereafter. Register for the ride on Eventbrite here.

Upcoming FABB Meeting

FABB’s monthly meeting in September will be back at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna on the 20th. The October monthly meeting will be focused on Fairfax City and will be held on October 18 at the Old Town Hall. We will be meeting a half hour earlier than usual at 7:00 pm to accomodate one of our speakers. 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
Sep 20        FABB Monthly Meeting, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna
Sep 30        Braddock District Social Ride, Cherry Run Elementary School, Burke
Oct 6-9        Youth Bike Summit, Hyatt Regency, Crystal City
Oct  18        FABB Monthly Meeting, Old Town Hall, Fairfax City



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