Thursday, June 19, 2014

Supervisor Herrity continues his War on Bikes

Supervisor Herrity at BTWD 2008. On his trip
he had a flat tire, probably from an
unmaintained bike trail.
Yesterday WTOP reported on this weeks Board of  Supervisors meeting at which they voted on the list of projects to be included in the 2014 Transportation Bond. See our blog post about the bond projects. WTOP seems to be stoking the so-called 'War on Cars" with their inflammatory headline Fairfax County supervisors raise concern about 'war on cars.' The headline should have read "Supervisor Herrity continues his war on bikes."

Supervisor Herrity thinks Fairfax County is spending too much money on bike and pedestrian facilities. Funny, I haven't really noticed much impact of all this funding on bikes. Bike lanes that I use on Soapstone Dr. and Lawyers Rd. cost almost nothing because they were created as part of repaving and restriping projects.

Fairfax County is proposing to fund $6 million in bike projects as part of the bond and $77.6 million in pedestrian projects. The county plans to spend $1.4 billion on all transportation projects over the next six years, most of which are being funded by new state monies. The county has decided that bike and ped projects don't qualify for these new funds so they are included in the bond project. The $6 million for bike projects is 0.46% of $1.4 billion. 

And yet Supervisor Herrity thinks that's too much. Knowing full well that most of the county funding is going toward expanding roads, building large interchanges, and building parking garages at Metro stations he states the following: "The scope and extent of the $85 million in bike and pedestrian projects included in this referendum far exceed both the current and projected mode share, especially given that we've got so many unfunded projects that would relieve significant congestion."

For the second time in the past month he goes on to mischaracterize the amount of space devoted to bikes and peds on the proposed Soapstone Connector bridge in Reston: "You take the proposed Soapstone Connector: 35 feet of that, or 60 percent of it is now proposed for bike and pedestrian yet it shows as a highway expansion," The proposed Soapstone Connector bridge, located near the new Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station, is 99.5 feet wide. Significant bike and ped traffic is expected in the near future. There are four 12-foot lanes for motor vehicles. Bike lanes comprise 10 feet or 10% of the total width. The 10 foot trail comprises 10%. The 5 foot sidewalk is 5 %. The total devoted to bikes and peds is 10 + 10 + 5 or 25%.

Soapstone Connector cross section
Fairfax County is spending nearly a $BILLION on projects used by motorists. They are also trying to rectify some of the errors of the past when roads were built without any bike or ped facilities, and yet Supervisor Herrity thinks we're not spending enough to support motorists.

Fortunately the majority of the Board disagrees with Herrity and they voted to include the proposed ped and bike projects in the bond. Despite the small amount of funding for bike projects, we strongly support the bond referendum and urge you to support it as well.

You may recall that more than once Supervisor Herrity has tried to eliminate the bike coordinator position and he continues to argue against additional funding for bike facilities. Feel free to contact Supervisor Herrity to let him know what you think.

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