Thursday, December 31, 2009

Green inverted-U racks in Vienna

The Town of Vienna recently received a number of green inverted U racks that were provided by the Fairfax County bike program. The racks were purchased with CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) funds and there are several other locations around the county where they will be installed.

There is a critical need for more and better bike parking in the county. Lack of bike parking is a major factor in preventing people from biking. During the past year I've had meetings at several county offices, and most don't have visitor bike parking. The locations include the county Health Department headquarters at 10777 Main Street, Fairfax, the Department of Transportation headquarters offices at 4050 Legato Road, and Fairfax County Public School headquarters offices at 8115 Gatehouse Road.

At places where there is bike parking, racks are often incorrectly installed, like those at the City of Fairfax library and Vienna Community Center. While we're thrilled to see new racks in Vienna, from looking at the photo it appears the rack was installed incorrectly [see Update below]. There should be 36" on the curb side to allow a second bike to be parked (according to Arlington Co specs).

The sooner Fairfax has bike parking guidelines, the better off we will all be.

Thanks to John Brunow of bikes@vienna for the photo and for working with Charlie Strunk, the county bike coordinator, to help get the racks for the Town.

[Update Jan 1, 2010] We had a chance today to see the new green racks in Vienna, and from this photo, you can see that the rack is installed correctly. The concrete to the left of the rack in this picture is not the curb but part of the sidewalk, which extends to the edge of the snow. Other new racks along Maple Ave were also installed correctly. We should have verified our earlier assumption by checking out the rack ourselves. Our apologies to the Town.]

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Racks really are an inexpensive inducement to get people out of their cars. They also add a more customer-friendly air to business locations. Some people complain that it's not practical to have bike racks at malls. Maybe. But in a town setting they are eminently practical. And for commuter destinations they are often all that someone needs if it's only a couple of miles.

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