Thursday, October 16, 2014

Vienna approves Maple Ave Vision plan

At their September 22 meeting the Vienna Town Council approved the Maple Avenue Commercial Zone Regulations that will "Encourage compact, pedestrian-oriented development along Maple Avenue East and West that collectively accommodates residents, visitors, and businesses."

We hope the new regulations will help remake Maple Avenue from a thoroughfare for commuters to a more vibrant, livable place.

The new regulations include bicycle parking requirements. While we're encouraged by the new requirements, they are minimal compared to those in Arlington although similar to those proposed in Fairfax. As an example, visitor parking can be located as far as 150 feet from the building entrance compared to 50 feet in Arlington and 50-100 feet in Fairfax.

Arlington requires "One (1) resident bicycle parking space for every three (3) residential units." Vienna will require only one parking space for every ten units, the same as what is being proposed for Fairfax. That means that 9 out of 10 units will likely have no bike parking. Also, we saw no reference to the type of racks required.

Inadequate bike parking is one of the major hurdles to resident's ability to use bicycles for short trips. If it's difficult and inconvenient to park and access your bike, chances are you won't ride.

Changing the character of Maple Ave will be a challenge. With so many people still relying on cars to get around, the street will continue to be congested throughout the day. Better transit, more bike-friendly streets, and more mixed-use development will eventually help but it will be a long, slow process. The Maple Ave Vision is a step in the right direction.

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