Year in Review 2010Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
"The kind of environment you create for yourself makes a real and tangible difference in your level of happiness, health, and satisfaction" -- Malcolm Gladwell
We've had a busy twelve months! Over the last year, FABB has been a strong local voice for those who want to ride safely in their community, whether to their place of work, their child's school, or the local farmer's market. This was also the year when FABB celebrated five years of volunteer bicycle advocacy, and what follows is a summary of some of this year's events and happenings.
Planning for the future Fairfax: Fairfax County is working on a county-wide bicycle plan that will determine how bicycle-friendly design should be incorporated into future roadway and transit projects. Several FABB members are serving on the advisory committee for the Tysons phase of this project. Phase II, which includes the entire county, will begin once the Tysons phase is completed in February.
New bike infrastructure in operation: Bike facilities were installed on Wakefield Chapel Road and Gallows Road while construction proceeded on the bridges across the HOT lanes. The installation of the Wolftrap Bridge demonstrated the value and importance of adding small missing links. Meanwhile, early results show a significant drop in vehicle crashes on Lawyers Road during the first year after the “road diet” which included adding bike lanes.
FABB volunteers in the community: FABB representatives spoke out at many public meetings, appeared in media articles, and provided input to various committees. Thank you to the great volunteers who came out in all weather for bike light installations, bike rodeos, bike valets, and bike-to-work day events and more.
New and old modes of communication: While continuing to post over 250 articles this year alone on the FABB blog, FABB made 300 friends on Facebook and gained 500 followers on Twitter, our first year of using these tools. Our postings reached a wide audience as many articles were discussed on regional and sometimes national sites.
Meetings and visitors: We met on the third Wednesday of every month at Patrick Henry Library in Vienna. A number of special visitors joined us: Ian Edlin, Trail Voice; Tiffany Guinn and Christi Kruse, GMU Bike Village; Cindy Englehart, VDOT; Virginia Delegate Kaye Kory; Larry Marcus, Virginia Megaprojects; Frank Raiti, MidAtlantic Off Road Enthusiasts; Chris Eatough, BikeArlington; Mark Blacknell, Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Ken Thompson, Reston Bike Club. All are welcome at these meetings and we meet next on February 16, 2010.
Awards, honors, gifts and grants: In July, we published the Advocate's Guide, funded by a grant from the Alliance for Biking & Walking. We were subsequently recognized with an award from Fairfax County for this project. FABB was also recognized at the Future of Fairfax event organized by the Coalition for Smarter Growth. We received a generous grant from Transurban-Fluor to assist us with bike light giveaways and in conducting bike commuter seminars. We were grateful also for the gift of a canopy from REI. We appreciate all of the support and recognition.
Rides and celebrations: Many riders county-wide participated in various rides: Bike to Work Day on a glorious day back in May, the Critical Manners Ride in Vienna on an incredibly hot July evening and the Tour de Tysons which included officials and consultants. Celebrations included the FABB Fifth Anniversary and the launch party for the new Guide. The monthly bike trains at Wolf Trap Elementary School, organized by parent Jeff Anderson, have been an inspiration to the community and we hope to see many more children riding through the Safe Routes to School program in 2011.
Conferences, workshops and other bike events: FABB representatives attended the National Bike Summit in Washington DC, ProWalk ProBike in Tennessee, Car Free Day in Arlington, Bike to Mason Day at George Mason University, Celebrate Fairfax! bike valet, Cyclefest/Paul's Ride for Life, Earth Day, Herndon Festival bike valet, James Madison HS Fall Kickoff Festival, ThinkBike DC, Future of Fairfax , and congressional visits on the Hill. Along the way, we learned lots, made many valuable connections, and met a wide range of folks working on bicycling issues.
Controversy, dispute, and disappointment: Despite meeting with officials, an organized letter-writing campaign and public testimony, FABB did not succeed in discouraging the county from eliminating all operating funds for the county bike program. For now, the bike coordinator position was preserved. We continue to work to get support for bicycle planning in the county. At the state level it was a loss for all Virginia cyclists when the three-foot passing law, championed by the Virginia Bicycle Federation, failed to be adopted into law.
Four bicycle fatalities in the county: A teen walking his bike was killed by an out-of-control vehicle, a nine-year was killed by a motorist as she crossed a busy local road, a seasoned bike commuter was killed as he rode through an intersection, and an elderly man was killed crossing a neighborhood street. We installed our first ghost bike to act as a memorial and to remind drivers to share the road. Our work for improved safety and driver awareness continues.
Bike forecast for 2011: We look forward to the completion of Phase I of the bicycle master plan (Greater Tysons area) and the start of Phase II, which includes the entire county. We are anxious to see appointments in some key positions: the Fairfax County Transportation Director, the State Bike Coordinator and Virginia Safe Routes to School Coordinator. We also hope to see the Safe Routes to School program launched widely within Fairfax County. We must be smart about our future planning of Fairfax and consider the safety and access needs of bicyclists. Thank you for supporting us in all our work in 2010 and we look forward to a busy 2011.
February 7, Meeting to discuss pedestrian/bike safety along and across Burke Center Parkway – The meeting will be held on February 7 at Terra Centre Elementary School, 6000 Burke Centre Parkway Burke, VA 22015. Supervisor Cook will lead the meeting and representatives from VDOT, School Board, Fx Co DOT, and state representatives will be invited to attend.
February 16, FABB monthly meeting - We are not holding a regular FABB monthly meeting in January. The FABB board will meet on January 9 to discuss our workplan for 2011. The next regular monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue East Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail.
Tysons Bicycle Master Plan public meeting - Early February.
Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative, affiliated with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network.
FABB BLOG—For other news and articles of interest, visit the FABB blog.
Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative, affiliated with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network. Visit us on the web at www.fabb-bikes.org. FABB News provides periodic updates on Fairfax County bicycling issues, along with occasional updates and action alerts on breaking news. We encourage all FABB supporters to join WABA at www.waba.org.