Friday, May 28, 2010

Tysons plan approved by Planning Commission

Early this morning, after a long meeting that ended past midnight, by a vote of 10-1 the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved plans to transform Tysons into a walkable, bikeable transit-oriented community. Dranesville Commissioner Jay Donahue was the lone dissenter. He had wanted to ensure that the 20 athletic fields planned for Tysons were restricted to just the Tysons area and didn't spill over into the Dranesville District.

The marked up plan (not yet online) includes several recent bicycle-related changes (while we had to leave the meeting before these items were discussed, we'll assume they were approved in the final motion). Under Land Use Monitoring, a process for monitoring progress for achieving the vision for Tysons, a new bullet was added: "Progress toward implementing facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists."

The most far-reaching changes are in Table 8, Transportation Infrastructure, Programs, and Services.  Previously there was no mention of bicycle infrastructure. While bike lanes are included in the grid of streets, and both the bike lanes and grid will make conditions better for bicycling, many more improvements are needed to make Tysons bike-friendly. Two new entries are now included in the table. Item II, Required Additional Transportation Improvements to Accommodate 60 Million Sq. Ft. of Development (2013-2020), E. Misc. Improvements: Bicycle Access Points—Bicycle connections into and out of Tysons—Tysons-wide. This same language is included under item III, 2020-2030.

With the inclusion of this language it's more likely that dedicated funds would be available for the many relatively low cost bike improvements needed in Tysons. Kudos to the Commission, to county staff, for making these changes, suggested by FABB and others. And thanks to cyclists who took the time to speak out for better bike facilities in Tysons.  However, the same language is need in item I, Transportation Improvements To Be Completed by 2013. Bike facilities are needed between now and when the stations open. The only parking at the stations will be for bikes, and cyclists need better facilities now to allow them safe access to the stations.

Cyclists will have one last chance to weigh in on these changes, to support the new bicycle-related language and to ask that bicycle connections into and out of Tysons be developed between now and when the stations open. The Board of Supervisors will hold the final public hearing on June 22. You can sign up to speak at that public hearing (application number ST05-CW-1CP).



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