Friday, February 26, 2010

WABA Alert: Save funding for Fairfax bicycle program

As we noted earlier, the Fairfax County executive is recommending permanently cutting all funding for the county bicycle program. I don't think it is too much of an exaggeration to say that bicycling is under attack in the county. Braddock District Supervisor Cook recently said "the bicycle is not a transportation device," and Springfield District Supervisor Herrity recommended elimination of the Bicycle Coordinator position. Now the county wants to cut all funding from the bike program.

Today WABA is sending out an alert to all area cyclists to encourage them to write to the Fairfax County Board to ask that funding be restored to the bicycle program. If you visit the WABA action center, you can send a message to the entire Board opposing the proposed cuts. Rather than cutting the program, we should be encouraging more people to go by bike.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Co Exec recommends Fairfax bicycle program cuts

The Fairfax County executive is recommending that all operating funds for the bicycle program will be cut:
Elimination of Operational Funding for the Bicycle Program $213,641—A previous FY 2010 reduction eliminated almost half of the annual program, allowing sufficient funds to meet the requirements of only the Tysons Corner area, therefore the FY 2011 reduction of $213,641 completely eliminates County operating support. As a result, there will be no funding for capital improvements and signage or bike maps and outreach materials. One position will remain to serve as the point of contact for bicycle-related issues, work on acquiring grant funding for bicycle programming, provide input on how to incorporate bicycles when planning capital roadway projects, and oversee approximately $5 million in commercial and industrial tax funds for bicycle-related improvements.
It's not clear whether the remaining position will be that of bicycle coordinator or as a staff person in one of the other programs. We're trying to find more info to pass on.

First Supervisor Cook states that bicycles are not a form of transportation, and now the bicycle program is being cut. It seems that the county executive agrees with Supervisor Cook, otherwise, why would he single out the bicycle program for elimination. The real question is what does the Board of Supervisors think.

Cyclists can sign up to speak at budget hearings to be held on April 6-8, although the April 6 date is full. FABB will speak on April 7. Individual supervisors will also hold community budget meetings and we'll put info about them on the FABB website. You can also submit comments online or contact your county supervisor. We'll provide more info shortly.

Update: Visit the WABA action center to write a letter to the Board of Supervisors.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Supervisor Herrity wants to fire eliminate bicycle coordinator position

At a Feb. 1 town hall meeting on Fairfax County's government and schools budgets Supervisor Herrity suggested that the bicycle and environment coordinator positions be eliminated:
Herrity said the county cut jobs, services and expenditures to deal with last year's shortfall. Now, he said, "I think we need to cut some senior-level positions, such as bicycle and environmental coordinators. The county should come out of its leased space, consolidate some departments and, perhaps, outsource county trash pickup to save money."

He said 54 percent of the county's budget goes to the schools. "The number-one reason businesses come to Fairfax County is our schools," said Herrity. Elementary-school language programs, band and strings, and sports are important, and we shouldn't be going there [for cuts]."
Despite voting in favor of the bicycle master plan motion proposed by Supervisor McKay in October, Herrity wants to cut the bicycle program just as the county is making some progress toward creating a more bicycle-friendly county. The bicycle plan won't get done without a bike coordinator and a staffed bike program. If anything, we need to increase the current bike program staff to handle all the requests on their time.

While we are confident that the majority of the Board supports having a bicycle program, we suggest all cyclists contact Supervisor Herrity to demand that the bicycle program receive full funding in the 2011 budget. Send email to or call his office at 703-451-8873. We suggest that you also contact your supervisor. See the letter from Alan Young to Supervisor Herrity:
I see the effects of failed planning daily. My grandchildren live 1.5 miles from their elementary school, but are not allowed to walk or bike to school because they have to cross Rolling Road; they are required to ride a school bus despite growing concerns about fitness, pollution and costs.
You can also sign up to speak at the upcoming budget hearings on Tuesday, April 6 starting at 6 p.m., Wed & Thurs, April 7 &am; 8 starting at 3 p.m.

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