2007 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Candidate Survey

FABB recently sent a candidate survey to all Fairfax Count Board of Supervisor candidates. The purpose of the survey is to gauge candidate's commitment to improving bicycling transportation options in Fairfax County. The questions and candidate responses are contained below:

Questions:
  1. Do you agree with the following statement? "I support bicycling as an alternate mode of transportation and will seek explicit funding for bicycle facilities (bike lanes, paved shoulders, wider outside lanes, bike parking, better enforcement of traffic laws protecting bicyclists, etc.)"
  2. Would you sponsor a motion that puts Fairfax County on a track to be recognized as a Bicycle-Friendly Community?
  3. Supporting hypothetical legislation is tricky. Acknowledging this, would you support the general concept of legislation that gives a tax break to businesses or individuals to foster bike commuting?
  4. One complaint from bicyclists is the lack of safe facilities at Metros and businesses. At least one DC-area jurisdiction now requires that all new developments include one bike rack for each 7,500 square feet of space. The regulation also requires one shower for each gender for each 50,000 square feet of space. Would you support a similar regulation that requires larger new developments to offer such accommodations to bicycle commuters?
  5. Fairfax County leaders have generally supported bicycling. This is evidenced by the hiring of a bicycle coordinator, authorizing funds for the creation of a county-wide bicycle map, bike lane pilot projects, the Cool Counties Initiative, and the inclusion of bicycle-friendly language in the recent transportation-oriented development (TOD) plan. These are good first steps. What the county lacks, however, is a general plan laying out how bicycle accommodations will be incorporated into all roads. Until the county institutionalizes its commitment with such a plan, the piecemeal approach to providing accommodations will prevail. Do you support the creation of general plan for bicycle accommodations?
CandidateQuestion 1Question 2Question 3Question 4Question 5
Chairman Connolly (D)YesYesYesYes Yes
 Baise (R) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
 Parker (IG)CommentCommentCommentCommentComment
Braddock Bulova (D)YesYesMaybeMaybeYes
 Campbell (IG)
Dranesville Foust (D)YesYesCommentCommentYes
 DuBois (R)YesYesNoYesYes
Hunter Mill Hudgins (D) Yes YesYesYesYes
 Butkus (IG)
 Huhtala (I) Yes YesYesYesYes
 Williams (I)
Lee McKay (D)YesYesYesYesYes
 Boulter (R)CommentCommentNoCommentComment
Mason Gross (D)YesYesCommentCommentComment
 Dietrich-Hall (R)YesYesYesYesYes
Mt. Vernon Hyland (D)
 Ryan (IG)YesYesYesMaybeYes
Providence Smyth (D)YesYesCommentCommentComment
Springfield McClanahan (D)
 Herrity (R)
Sully Frey (R)CommentCommentCommentCommentComment
 Gillis (IG)

 

Chairman

Connolly (D)

1. Yes - I authored the Comprehensive Bicycle Initiative for Fairfax County that incorporates all of these elements, created the first bicycle coordinator and developed the first bicycle trail map of the county.

2. Yes - I have already done so. WABA has recognized me for these efforts.

3. Yes

4. Yes - Our approach would likely be to incentivize rather than regulate but I am fully supportive of the approach.

5. Yes - As part of my Comprehensive Bicycle Initiative I have directed that every Connector bus in Fairfax County be retrofited to accommodate bicycles. That process has been successfully completed.

Baise (R)

1. Yes - I agree with FABB that safe bicycle facilities and routes are absolutely vital to the future of Fairfax County and I commit to promote laws and policies supportive of bicyclists and their safety. This would include allocating more money from the bond issues for bicycle and pedestrian trails.

I will not support the often common practice of granting waivers that relieve applicants of land use projects from installing bicycle and pedestrian trails. There are areas where equestrian trails should also be installed. I would work with your organization and other groups with the objective of identifying both bicycle and pedestrian crossing that have major safety issues. Bond money, county funds, and grants could be used to improve these crossings.

2. Yes - This is an important goal to not only decrease dependency on the automobile but, also, to assist Fairfax in attaining the regional air quality goals. However, to maximize the use of bicycles, bicyclists need to feel safe when using their bike as their primary mode of transportation. Therefore, we must initiate policies that accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians and I have the political will to integrate these policies in the transportation network.

I will turn to the bicycle community for establishing these policies. In France and Italy there are interesting programs where bicycles can be rented on an hourly basis. The fee is reasonable and the bikes are extensively used. This type of program would work very well in the proposed development around transit stations.

3. Yes - As high density is planned around transit stations and reduction in parking spaces is considered, we should certainly think outside the box in providing tax breaks to businesses that foster bike commuting. Just as employees are given monetary benefits for using the rail to commute to work,then bicyclists who commute to work could also be provided a benefit. It does not necessarily have to be monetary. Some employers provide other incentives such as time off, added vacation days, etc.

I would support pursuing legislation and/or incentives that encourage businesses to put in place programs that promote employees biking to work. It is important to acknowledge, however, that details could make or break such legislation or incentive programs.

4. Yes - If we are serious about promoting bicycling as a transportation option, then we should be serious about providing those resources that promote bicycle use. Shower facilities are critical to support employee bicycle commuting.

The cost of one underground parking space may exceed $50,000. As the county examines the parking space requirements, perhaps we should offer an option that could reduce two parking spaces by installing shower facilities.

5. Yes - Several years ago, Virginia Department of Transportation initiated a policy for accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians, and pedestrians with disabilities who used motorized equipment. Integrating this policy into new roadway construction and in the older transportation networks requires attention and a financial commitment.

Fairfax County has made some preliminary steps toward making itself more bicycle friendly. However, a lot more needs to be done, including development of a master plan of bicycling routes and facilities. Additionally, although the County has included some transit-oriented development features in some individual development projects, the County has still fallen quite short in promoting a network of necessary and safe connections for bicyclists between the places where people live, work, shop and play.

I am strongly committed to full recognition of bicycling as an environmentally friendly, efficient, healthy and safe mode of transportation for Fairfax County. I will have the County support this mode of transportation in all its projects, and during the rezoning process, and will work with VDOT to incorporate bicycle friendly upgrades to its roads.

Parker (IG)

1. Advocacy for bicycling is a great reason we encourage FABB members to join the Independent Greens of Virginia and to run for office as our candidate, advocate for bicycling and for Rail. Rail, too, provides an alternate mode of transportation, makes bicyclists safer, enables us to have cleaner air and cleaner water. Please visit www.gailparker.us and www.votejoinrun.us and support Rail candidates on the ballot this year in Virginia.

2. Building commuter rail in Fairfax County will make the community bicycle-friendly. Join us. Run for office as our candidate. Advocate for Rail and for bike-friendly policies.

3. Less than 1% of Fairfax County's $3.3B budget is spent on Rail. We need commuter rail in Fairfax County. 44,000 Americans are killed on our road-ways each year. 330,000 injuried every year! Rail is safer and rail cuts dependency on foreign oil. A vehicle would need to get over 300 miles to the gallon to use energy as efficiently as rail. We need rail. Join us. Advocate for Rail. Run for office as our candidate!

4. Like Fairfax County's budget, less than 1% of Virginia's state budget is spend on rail. The freight lines are operating at capacity and are given priority over passenger trains. We need to build new rail in Virginia. Join us! Help us make Fairfax County and Virginia safer. Run for office as our candidate!

5. We support building rail into our communities. When Metro was built, it took about 20-25% of the traffic off the roads... and today we can even tell the difference. We need More Trains, Less Traffic. We need More Candidates on the ballot and Less Apathy. Join us. Advocate for socially responsible and fiscally conservative policies. We need to build Rail now. Rail will make us safer. Rail uses energy more efficiently and will cut dependency on foreign oil. Rail will extend the useful life of our infrastructure. Rail will save lives. Rail will make Fairfax County safter for bicycles. Join us.

A vote for Gail Parker is a vote for Rail. A vote for other Independents (I) and Independent Greens (IG) on the ballot is a vote for Rail. I ask for your vote for me and for the other Rail candidates on the ballot in Virginia.

Dranesville

Foust (D)

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. I would rather see the tax revenue invested in a comprehensive program to make Fairfax County more bike friendly - rather than a piecemeal approach.

4. I would want this to be one of the options in trying to maximize contributions from developers for pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

5. Yes

Dubois (R)

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. No - I would not support this unless we did it for transit riders as well. I am not quite sure who would offer the tax break. The County only collects property tax.

4. Yes - I would support the bike racks. The showers would have to be available to others - how about walkers? How about those who jog at lunch?

5. Yes - Fairfax County does not have control over the roads and what specific bicycle accommodations VDOT would allow - and more importantly, maintain. I would support having bicycle lanes incorporated into primary roads, and I actually included a bicycle lane on a traffic calming project in my neighborhood. I would support having bicycle lanes on all new road projects or road improvement projects.

Hunter Mill

Hudgins (D)

1. Yes - As a supporter of Bike to Work, I am committed to working to make the Hunter Mill District and Fairfax County more conducive to biking as a real viable transportation alternative.

2. Yes - Reviewing the [Bicycle Friendly Community] web site, it appears that Fairfax County has already begun implementing some of the things that would make Fairfax County and some of our communities' a Bicycle Friendly Community. I would be glad to sponsor a Board Matter to support Fairfax County as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

3. Yes - I would ask staff to look at other jurisdictions to see what incentives are used to encourage businesses to foster biking as a transportation alternative.

4. Yes - I would not look to an ordinance at this time but I would certainly start with proffers. It would be good to note what's the success at getting consistent proffers. Commuter Connections have honored many companies that look to bike racks and showers as essential to locating their employees.

5. Yes - I think it is essential in creating real networks for cycling, but also essential for the BOS to point to a plan to support a policy.

Huhtala (I)

1. Yes - In planning residential and commercial projects, it is important that facilities accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians be included early on. The plan must include route maps, plans for bike racks, bike signs, and dedicated bike lanes. I support using bond funds for planning, designing, and constructing facilities and routes that promote bicycle and pedestrian use - for those who ride recreationally and for those who use a bicycle as their main mode of transportation.

I also support starting a school biking program so students can safely ride to school. Many schools are located in areas that with careful planning by parents, bicycle associations, and educators, would provide a safe bike program. I believe if we promote the use of a bike as a safe mode of transportation early in childhood, we can promote life-long healthy biking habits.

Finally, we must increase the safety of bicyclists by providing safe roadway crossings and effective law enforcement.

2. Yes - I strongly support having Fairfax County recognized as a Bicycle-Friendly Community. We cannot achieve this designation, however, if the Board continues its practice of granting waivers that relieve applicants from building trails. We should promote programs and policies that encourage the use of the non-polluting mode of transportation, bicycling. With the cooperation of FABB and other bicycle associations, we should set a goal for bicycle use so that an agreed-upon percent of all trips shorter than five miles could be accomplished on a bicycle.

To promote a bicycle-friendly community, we need to establish a bikeway network that reaches to as many neighborhoods as possible. To accomplish this, we must have streets and bike paths that are safe, provide convenient connections, and encourage bicycle and pedestrian use. These paths must connect to parks, schools, retail areas, transit stations, and employment centers.

3. Yes - Why not initiate a policy that provides an incentive for businesses to encourage their employees to commute to work? Developers submitting residential or mixed-use land use applications should be encouraged to provide bicycling and walking facilities as a routine part of their plan, including design, construction, and maintenance operations. Why not provide them with incentives, including tax breaks?

I would work with your organization to elevate bicycling and walking as important elements of our transportation system in the new millennium.

4. Yes - As noted in my earlier comments, biking and walking are key to reducing the number of vehicle trips taken daily. They also offer excellent exercise that is good for everyone. I support providing safe and attractive bike area storage areas. These bike racks should have shelter that protects the rider as well as the bike from the weather. I would certainly ask developers to proffer shower accommodations for riders as well.

5. Yes - Absolutely, I support a comprehensive general plan for bicycle accommodations. Citizen input here can be extremely valuable. FABB and other bicycle organizations could provide the leadership to establish County policies that support the planning, funding, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of bicycle and pedestrian trails. What is so important is providing connectivity of bicycle and pedestrian trails. As we plan future transit-oriented development projects, we must ensure that bicycle and pedestrian trails connect with those found in adjacent neighborhoods. As Supervisor, I will welcome your thoughts and contributions in this important area.

Williams (I)

Thank you for taking the time to put together these questions, I am aware of the difficulties associated with trying to use ones bike to commute to work. I have biked to work and have been a pleasure and fitness bicyclist for years. Unfortunately one of my coworkers at Orange Business Services was killed on his commute about a year and a half ago, I didn’t know him personally, but it hit close to home considering that I had been bicycling to the same office and had had some close calls myself due to the insufficient path network. I lived in Denver, CO. for a short time and was impressed with their path network and awareness of the needs of bicyclists. That said, I am not in a position to commit myself to initiatives and or legislation that I am not certain I can provide. I will say that in principle I am with you on all points, I am just leery of some of the specific language you have used that appears designed to bind me to one solution. I think your objectives are sound and I support encouraging people to use their bikes to commute and for fitness. I will seek solutions that encourage people through the provision of appealing alternatives, which I think is in keeping with a lot of what you are saying.

I'm sorry to have not completed your questionnaire; I hope you can understand my reasons.

Lee

McKay (D)

1. I am a bicyclist myself and I work regularly with our trails committee member on implementing new bicycle friendly trails and paths. We need more of these in Lee. As traffic gets worse, we need more mobility options for people.

2. Every year I work on the Tour de Lee event to highlight our existing facilities and trails many people did not even know were in place.

3. I support incentives to encourage telecommuting, mass transit usage and bicycling.

4. I would particularly support developments that are transit-oriented and in transit station areas as defined in the comprehensive plan. More people would bike to work if such facilities were in place.

5. I also will work with VDOT to ensure that such facilities are included in new road projects. I am glad to see trails in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project — these should be required in all major VDOT projects.

Boulter (R)

1. I support the statement if you remove the word "alternate." I wish cycling to work/school/errands were the primary mode of transportation for more people. I know that FABB doesn't consider cycling as a second, third, or fourth choice, but my feeling is that far too many people do.

2. I visited the [Bicycle Friendly Community] web site and was disappointed by the number of broken links on the technical assistance page.

My concern is that, as is often the case in Fairfax County, committing to eventual recognition as a bicycle-friendly community will substitute for doing anything that actually makes us more bicycle-friendly. Fairfax County has recently committed to increasing the tree canopy without a plan for where to put more trees; it has committed to Cool Counties without establishing measurable goals for actually reducing emissions. As long as there is a real plan and associated funding, I'd be happy to support such a motion, but I'm skeptical that the current Board will actually do what is needed.

3. No - The last thing we want to do is foster bike commuting until there are adequate bike lanes and trails on which to ride - and enough police resources to enforce the laws protecting cyclists. Riding today means taking your life into your hands, and a spate of serious bicycle accidents would discourage new riders.

Let's use the money that would go to the tax breaks to build more bike lanes and trails. If the infrastructure is there, riders will come.

4. I strongly support provision of bike racks at all governmental facilities, and have insisted on such provision in land use decisions on such facilities (most recently during approval of the substance abuse rehab center on Richmond Highway). I have also advocated for proffering of bike racks at commercial facilities. I'm not sure I'm ready to require shower facilities. How do you manage shower facilities for a number of small businesses sharing a large building? I would strongly encourage large businesses to provide such facilities, however.

5. As I've said above, I don't think the measures described above are good first steps absent a serious financial commitment to actually create bike lanes. It's great that we have a coordinator, a map, and all kinds of friendly language, but none of those enable riders to cycle safely in their communities.

I don't even object to a piecemeal approach if every year we did a lot of pieces. But we don't. Bike lanes have come to us (at least in Lee District), only as the result of the scheduled rebuilding of roads - irrespective of need or usefulness. That's why we have bike lanes starting nowhere and ending nowhere.

What it will take, I believe, is strong advocacy by individual supervisors for projects in their districts - projects that help get people to shopping centers, office complexes, and public transportation centers. When I talk about bike lanes and trails, the comment I hear now is that no one uses them. But I believe when the lanes and trails go where people want to go, they will use them.

Mason

Gross (D)

1. Yes - Not only would I support explicit funding to promote transportation by bicycle, but I have already done so. The Transportation Bond Proposal which will be presented to voters on November 6, 2007 includes $7.75 M for Spot Improvement Projects, including on-road bicycle lanes and other improvements. The Transportation Bond Proposal includes numerous other projects to improve transportation flow, pedestrian safety, mass transit access, pedestrian and trail improvements, and other facilities. I urge members of the FABB to support these much needed bond proposals.

2. Yes - I support the greater use of bicycles and other alternative forms of transportation as these kinds of initiatives are necessary to make Mason District more pedestrian friendly. I know that much needs to be done - we do not currently have an interconnecting network of trails, safe bicycle lanes on our roads, or secure and sheltered storage facilities at transit points. I will be pleased to receive from FABB specific suggestions and proposals which would place us on track to becoming a bicycle-friendly community.

3. I believe that businesses and individuals have an equal stake in promoting smart growth for Mason District, including facilities which make it easier to use bicycles. In many instances, promotion of this common goal is just as effective in making specific progress as tax breaks. For example, I support the concept that new developments should pay their fair share of infrastructure improvements which they need to support commuters and employees. These improvements must include bicycle facilities and other means of alternative transportation.

4. I believe that safe, secure and sheltered bicycle facilities at Metro stations, bus stops, and light rail transfer points are an important element which must be available if we are to encourage greater transportation by bicycle. I believe that a county guidance document for businesses would be preferable to new county regulation. I also understand that a network of safe bicycle lanes in roads, bicycle paths, and more recreational trails are also necessary elements of our overall goal of achieving smart growth in Mason District.

5. I support the inclusion of safe bicycle paths and supporting facilities in the Comprehensive Plan which sets forth planned land uses, transportation improvement and public facilities, and in specific community redevelopment plans. I am concerned that a new General Plan for Bicycles separate from these plans would lead to a piecemeal approach which we want to avoid. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which operates and maintains Fairfax county roadways, also must be a partner to improve bicycle accommodations.

Dietrich-Hall (R)

1. Yes - Cycling reduces traffic congestion of solitary drivers, saves precious energy resources, and reduces air pollution. Cycling enhances health and consequently reduces medical costs. We support improving cycling infrastructure to ensure safety of cyclists and motorists and thus encourage cyclist commuting.

2. Yes - We would like to sponsor a motion to study what it would take to make Fairfax a Bicycle Friendly Community. We agree in principle with the goals and ideals of the organization.

3. Yes - Tax incentives have proven effective in influencing business and individual decisions that have monetary consequences.

4. Yes - I need more information to determine the reasonable ratio between square footage and facilities required.

5. Yes - Bicycle accommodations also need to be integrated into the general transportation plan.

Mt. Vernon

Ryan (IG)

1. Yes - I support increased funding for ALL alternative transportation (buses, rail, and bike paths).

2. Yes - My goal is to do whatever I can to make Fairfax County the #1 county other states look to when drafting responsible, eco-friendly development and planning.

3. Yes - I support the idea, but would need to hear from the biking community to hear specifically how this could be accomplished. I would support installation of bike racks at all government facilities.

4. Maybe - I can't say for sure that I would adhere to the 7,500 sqft and/or 50,000sqft regulation, but I am in favor of the addition of bicycle racks at all government owned/public-use facilities.

5. Yes - Absolutely. I am often surprised at the cyclists I see on the roads today – it seems as though they put their lives in their hands. By adding bike/walking paths alongside our roads, we would increase safety and, hopefully, increase the use of bicycles as an alternate mode of transportation.

Providence

Smyth (D)

1. Yes

2. Yes

3. Given the projected budget deficits, I don't think that we can consider tax breaks. Moreover, we would probably need some form of enabling legislation from the state.

4. I have routinely asked for shower facilities in new commercial developments, and I am working with county staff to come up with a bike parking requirement and some sort of formula for providing bike racks.

5. Fairfax County is huge. I think that we need to look at prioritizing bike facilities in specific corridors rather than dissipate energy and resources trying to deal with all roads in the whole county.

Sully

Frey (R)

1. I believe it is a growing trend that can be encouraged by Fairfax County.

2. I am willing to learn more about what is involved, what the costs and obligations are, and what the benefits are.

3. We don't have legal authority to give tax breaks. Typically other incentives are used and I would be willing to consider that.

4. I would be willing to consider it, but I would want to see some cost-benefit analysis and receive some input from office owners and developers also.

5. We have adopted Comprehensive Plan guidelines that recommend on-road bike lanes in all new road projects.