Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reminder: VDOT Meeting on Thursday

FABB encourages members and others from Vienna, Fairfax City, and nearby areas around I-66 in Fairfax County to attend this Thursday's VDOT public hearing. The hearing will focus on various projects that will affect cyclists and pedestrians. In particular, there will be information available on additions to the George Snyder Trail in Fairfax City, the planned multi-use trail along Nutley Street in Vienna, and pedestrian improvements along Monument Drive and Lee Highway.  

There will be an open house at 6 p.m. with the hearing beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, in Fairfax. If you cannot attend, you can email comments to Please reference “I-66 Concession Projects” in the subject line. You also can mail comments to Maria Sinner at VDOT’s District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 through next Monday, January 8, 2018.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Embark Richmond Highway Open House on January 10

FABB encourages cyclists and pedestrians in southern and eastern Fairfax to attend the final community open house on the effort to update the land use plan--including bicycling and pedestrian facilities--for the Embark Richmond Highway project.

The open house will take place on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Whitman Middle School, 2500 Parkers Lane, in Alexandria. At the meeting you can learn about the proposed comprehensive plan recommendations from county staff. More important, your questions and input will help the staff finalize recommendations that will prepare the corridor for pedestrian and bicycle enhancements. These recommendations for updating the Comprehensive Plan, in turn, will be given to the Planning Commission. 

Mark your calendars now for the final steps in the process. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the comprehensive plan amendment on January 25, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. The Board of Supervisors will then hold a public hearing on the amendment on March 20, 2018, at 4:00 p.m.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

More on Bike Battles Talk

The FABB-sponsored public talk hosted by the Tyson’s Microsoft Store on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, will focus on a major early 20th century policy and funding battle that might have changed the face of American transportation—if not American history—if it had succeeded. 

You may know about the “Good Roads” movement in which bikers allied with farmers to create paved shared routes through the countryside. But are you aware that early in the 20th century there was a movement to include sidepaths—in effect, protected bike lanes—along newly constructed public roads and streets in urban areas? Come hear James Longhurst's talk to find out more about this movement and the lessons it provides for contemporary policy planning. 

In the meantime, check out this video summarizing Dr. Longhurst’s book, Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road. It gives a taste of the fascinating detail he will be providing during his talk. 

Seats are still available. Go now to our EventBrite page and reserve your place. 

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bicycle Commuter Benefit — Use It Now!

From our friends at The League of American Bicyclists:

The recently signed-into-law Tax Cut and Jobs Act suspends the Bicycle Commuter Benefit from 12/31/2017 until 1/1/2026. If your employer currently offers the Bicycle Commuter Benefit, the safest thing to do is to submit all documentation and pay out all reimbursements by December 31 2017. 

In addition to suspending the benefit, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act eliminates the ability of employers to deduct the cost of providing subsidized commuting to employees, reducing the employer’s taxable income, as part of cutting the business tax rate from 35% to 21%.

Sadly, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act did not:
  • Do anything to expand the availability of commuter benefits – which are currently 7 times more likely to be offered to workers in the highest 10% of income than workers in the lowest 10% on income;
  • Do anything to provide incentives to modes of transportation that reduce congestion, such as walking, biking, telework, or carpooling; and
  • Do anything that affects employees who put their pre-tax earnings towards a commuter benefit.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Upcoming Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Public Hearing

VDOT district office.
VDOT will be holding a public hearing on various Concession Payment Projects of concern to local cyclists and pedestrians on Thursday, January 4, 2018. There will be an open house at 6 p.m. with the hearing begining at 6:30 p.m. at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, in Fairfax. 

The purpose of the meeting is for the Commonwealth Transportation Board to gather comments on projects that will be funded by a concession fee to the Commonwealth as part of the financial agreement with Express Mobility Partners for the I-66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway projectBased on public input, these projects, which are in the Commonwealth’s Six-Year Improvement Program, will be amended. Now is the time to speak up and make sure these new facilities are the best they can be. 

Information on the following projects will be presented at the meeting:
  • Commuter parking garage at Fairfax Corner 
  • George Snyder Trail in Fairfax City
  • Jermantown Road (widen bridge over I-66 in Fairfax to four lanes)
  • Monument Drive bridge pedestrian improvements in Fairfax
  • Rt. 50/Waples Mill Road intersection improvements in Fairfax
  • Poplar Tree Road (widen bridge over Route 28 in Fairfax to four lanes)
  • Lee Highway pedestrian improvements in Fairfax
  • Nutley Street Southwest multi-use trail to Metro in Vienna
FABB encourages members and other interested cyclists in the areas around these projects to attend the hearing. If you cannot attend, you can email comments to Please reference “I-66 Concession Projects” in the subject line. You also can mail comments to Maria Sinner at VDOT’s District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 through January 8, 2018.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Join Us for Bike Battles Talk

1896 Bicycle Sidepath near Santa Monica.
Please join us on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, for a public talk on the hidden history of bicycle law and policy conflicts in the United States and their lessons for our current bicycle debates. Our speaker, Dr. James Longhurst, is the author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, which examines the different ways that Americans have thought about the bicycle through popular songs, merit badge pamphlets, advertising, films, newspapers and sitcoms. He has researched how those associations shaped the actions of government and the courts when they intervened in bike policy. 

We all know how bicycling in Fairfax County remains a challenge as city planners, political pundits, and residents continue to argue over bike lanes, bike-share programs, law enforcement, and public safety. Dr. Longhurst, an avid bicyclist himself, brings his fascinating new research from a wide range of sources to show that these battles are nothing new. And, while they are simply a continuation of the original battle over who is—and isn’t—welcome on our roads, the history he will present will provide lessons for advancing bike policies in the future.

Grant Petersen wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Dr. Longhurst’s book ought to give today’s bicycle advocates a sense of their place in history and make them proud to continue the battle. The talk will be just as inspiring, so please plan on joining us. 

The talk will be in the public theater of the Microsoft Store in Tysons Corner Center from 7:00 to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Seating is limited, so sign up now at our event page

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sharing the Road: Lessons From History

FABB and the Microsoft Store at Tysons Corner Center are proud to present a public talk by Dr. James Longhurst on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm at the Microsoft Store. 

Dr. Longhurst, a historian, avid cyclist, and author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Roadwill be discussing the early 20th century battles over taxes, roads, and bicycle trails and the lessons these experiences offer us today. 

Americans have been riding bikes since the late 19th century, and Dr. Longhurst will explore why most American cities are still ill-prepared to handle cyclists. His talk will trace one of the contentious debates between American bike riders, motorists, and pedestrians over the shared road. His presentation and subsequent question and answer session will relate this history to contemporary transportation planning issues like those affecting Tyson’s future. 

Seating is limited, so mark you calendar and go to our EventBrite registration page here

FABB would like to thank Access Tysons for its help in arranging this event. 

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Gender Equity and the I-66 Trail Design

FABB wants to recommend a blog by sociologist Doug Barnes, who specializes in energy and environmental issues but also is a bicycling enthusiast. It takes an uncommon and thought-provoking approach to trail design by focusing on gender. It provides yet another reason why the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) should build a trail that will be popular among a wider variety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Doug suggests that seasoned male bicyclists will be the main beneficiaries of the proposed I-66 trail based on research on the distribution of bicycle riders that feel comfortable or uncomfortable in various forms of traffic. The current trail design for the I-66 corridor would be attractive primarily to those riders characterized as "strong & fearless" and "enthused & confident" (about 12% of the regional population). These two groups, however, are predominately male; women make up only about 20% of these types of riders. The trail needs to be improved to appeal more to riders in the “interested but concerned category, which includes more than twice as many women. 

Here is the link to the full post “Gender Equity is an Issue for the Transform I-66 Trail Design.” 

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Comments Needed for Rolling Road Widening Project

The VDOT public meeting on November 30 on the Rolling Road widening project covered a couple of issues affecting the project and its planned shared use path. 

The good news is that the shared use path, which will only be on one side of Rolling Road, will be extended beyond Viola Street (the end of the widening project) to the Fairfax County Parkway.  The bad news is that some property owners do not want a 10-foot shared use path or a 6-foot sidewalk in their front yards. There was significant group at the meeting asking VDOT to build something narrower. 

FABB is encouraging members in the area to submit comments to VDOT to let them know that bicyclists and other users need a wider path. In addition to your own ideas, you can highlight: 
  • The shared use path should be designed to support a heavy volume of users since it will be a major bicycle transportation route. 
  • Federal design standards specify that heavily used paths should be 12- to14-feet wide with a 2-feet graded area on both sides of path.  
  • Standard shared use paths are 10-feet wide. With the planned path serving as a commuter route and access way to an elementary school, unless there are exceptional circumstances, the path should not be built less than the 10-foot standard.  
  • Building anything narrower would endanger the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.
You can submit comments via e-mail (please put "Rolling Road Widening" in the subject line) or mail through Monday, December 11.

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