Friday, September 5, 2014

September-October 2014 FABB News

A bi-monthly publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

Bicycle Master Plan

Countywide Bicycle Master Plan will soon be considered by the Board of Supervisors. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on October 1 and the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on October 28. To learn more about the plan, the second of three countywide public meetings is scheduled for September 15 at Mt. Vernon Government Center, 2511 Parkers Ln, Alexandria, VA 22306.

Visit the county bike plan webpage for links to the "Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan - Final Draft" and the four "Maps of Recommended Bicycle Network." We encourage all Fairfax cyclists to consider attending the October 1 and 28 public hearings. See the FABB blog for details as we get closer to those dates.

2014 Transportation Bond Will Fund Pedestrian and Bicycle Projects

After a series of public meetings over the past year, Fairfax County identified a long list of high priority transportation projects. Funding for road and transit projects will come from money allocated by the Commonwealth of Virginia. After deciding that most pedestrian and bicycle projects were not eligible for those state funds, the county plans to fund those projects using the 2014 Transportation Bond. While most are pedestrian projects such as new sidewalks, several important bike projects are included.

We strongly support the Bond and encourage all county residents to vote YES on November 4 to improve pedestrian and bicycle access. See the list of all projects that will be implemented if the Bond passes.

Northern Virginia Cycle Fest Sunday, September 14

Northern Virginia Cycle Fest is a series of mostly on-road rides in Fairfax and Arlington Counties. The event will be held on Sunday, September 14. Four ride options, departing at 7:30 a.m., range from 11 to 62 miles. All rides originate and return to the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, 8900 Little River Turnpike. The rides are designed to be fun and challenging for riders of all levels and experience - with a suggested minimum age of 12. FABB will have an information table at the event.

Riders should be comfortable riding on roads with traffic. All ride options have rest stops, SAG vehicles, mechanical support, merchant sponsorship and light refreshments. The 2014 ride benefits Wounded Warriors Project and Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). For more information, visit the Northern Virginia Cycle Fest website. Fee: $50/$45 JCCNV members/$20 active military and first responders.

Bike Lanes Striped on Sherwood Hall Lane in Mt. Vernon District

VDOT is completing bike lanes on Sherwood Hall Lane as part of a repaving/pavement marking project to improve safety. Bike lanes were added in both directions from Fordson Road to Fort Hunt Road, about 1.5 miles. As the street is not wide enough for bike lanes in the one-block, 450-foot segment from Holland Road to Parkers Lane, shared-lane markings, known as "sharrows," were installed to let cyclists and motorists know that bikes will share the travel lane with motorists.

Thanks to Supervisor Hyland and Delegate Surovell for supporting the project and to Fairfax County and VDOT staff for their work on the project. The newly configured road will benefit all users by making it safer and providing a dedicated bike facility.

Back to School in Fairfax

Fairfax County Schools resumed classes on Tuesday, September 2. Drivers who have been commuting past empty schools all summer will face a plethora of walkers/bikers/buses and additional cars on their normal commute. The best advice to drivers is to simply slow down and enjoy watching all the kids make their way to school for another year of learning.  Students and parents also need to be reminded to be safe. If walking, cross at intersections and look both ways before crossing. If riding, wear a helmet, ride with traffic and signal your intentions. Some advice from our Police Department: Back to School Safety Reminders.

We hope this year in FCPS will show a marked increase in schools participating in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programs.  Some dates to remember:  September 15-19 is VDOT's Student Tally Week, October 8 is International Walk to School Day and October 28 is the Greater Washington DC SRTS Regional meeting. The National SRTS Partnership is also looking for feedback about the types of services and support you need in your work to advance Safe Routes to School. Please take the SRTS Survey. Lastly, here is a good article from our UK brethren: Pedal Power: Why Cycling to School is Good for Learning and the Planet. And here is a nice school-related graphic from our friends in Arlington.

Bicyclists Flocking to Wiehle-Reston East Station

FABB has been doing midday counts of bikes parked at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station since the station opened. There are 10 U racks at the south station entrance, with a capacity of 20 bikes. On the north side there are 16 U racks outside the bike room that hold 32 bikes. There is no charge to park at those racks located under cover. The secure bike room can hold over 200 bikes.

Below is a chart of counts from July 31 to August 28. Over time the number of bikes has gradually increased from a low of 61 on the second count to a high on August 28 of 107. If you compare the high number with the 2013 Metrorail bike parking census conducted by WMATA, the Wiehle station would rank 3rd in the category "Top Stations for Total Bikes Parked".

The free racks outside the bike room were over capacity (bikes locked to the fencing) 6 of the 10 days. An average of 13 bikes (of 20 capacity) were parked at the south racks, so there was usually a place to park. The bike room was at about 1/4 capacity with plenty of room for more bikes for those who pay the $60 annual fee (approximately 25 cents/day for daily commuters).

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