April 2007 FABB NEWS

A Bi-Monthly Publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

Bike To Work Day is May 18

Join hundreds of Fairfax bicyclists who will hit the streets and trails to celebrate Bike to Work Day! Taking place on Friday May 18, Bike to Work Day will feature 6 pit stops throughout the county, including a new pit stop in Tysons Corner. You can also join a "Commuter Convoy" to ride with others. To sign up for Bike To Work Day, visit http://www.waba.org/events/btwd/.

New guidelines include key gains for bicyclists

On March 12 Fairfax County adopted a new set of guidelines for planning development around transit stations. FABB worked closely with the county to ensure that the planning measures emphasize bicycle access.

To craft the guidelines for Transit-Oriented Development, a committee of county planning commissioners coordinated a 10-month process of collecting information and gathering public input. Beginning in May, the TOD Committee convened meetings to learn from the experiences of other communities, such as nearby Arlington and Montgomery. Working with a wide range of individuals and groups, the committee began drafting the guidelines in September.

FABB member Hunter McCleary spoke at public hearings and was featured in radio news stories. As Hunter pointed out, "Allowing future residents the ability to bike and walk to nearby destinations including public transit will solve many of our transportation and environmental problems." Thanks in part to bicyclists' consistent participation, the final guidelines stress bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly development including a street grid, a network of bike routes, and slower automobile traffic speeds.

FABB member Hunter McCleary spoke at public hearings and was featured in radio news stories. As Hunter pointed out, "Allowing future residents the ability to bike and walk to nearby destinations including public transit will solve many of our transportation and environmental problems." Thanks in part to bicyclists' consistent participation, the final guidelines stress bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly development including a street grid, a network of bike routes, and slower automobile traffic speeds.

Led by Commissioner Walter Alcorn, the TOD Committee deserves thanks for leading an inclusive public process to create the guidelines. Supervisors Linda Smyth and Catherine Hudgins were key champions for strengthening bicycling provisions. Please take a moment to thank them. Supervisor Smyth's email address is provdist@fairfaxcounty.gov. Supervisor Hudgins can be contacted at huntermill@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Bicyclists help shape Tysons' Future

Incorporating bicycle improvements in the redesign of Tysons Corner has been a key goal of FABB since our inception two years ago. In March, Fairfax held a series of workshops to identify the key planning parameters for redesigning Tysons. FABB volunteers participated in each of the six workshops, and helped make sure that bicycle access played a central role.

As one participant noted, "Eight of the ten tables included bicycle improvements in their summaries, and the need to design more complete streets with bicycle and pedestrian access struck a deep chord at my table." Much of the discussion continues to focus on building trails and side paths for bicyclists. These are good features, but on-road bicycle lanes and shoulders are also essential.

Bicyclists' continued participation is critical as the planning process unfolds. On April 17 the county is sponsoring a talk by transit-oriented development specialist Robert Cervero. FABB encourages you to participate. The event will take place at the Capital One Auditorium in McLean at 7 PM. For more information, visit the Tysons Task Force website.

Making Merrifield a good place to ride

New development near the Dunn Loring Metro station is making that area more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. On the other side of Route 29 from the station, currently the site of a large movie theater, the developer Edens & Avant is proposing to build a mixed-use "town center."

Located near two key corridors for bicyclists, Route 29 and Gallows Road, the proposed Merrifield Town Center could make this area safer and easier to navigate by bicycle. But the devil is in the details. Current proffers for the rezoning contain few provisions for bicycle access.

Of particular concern to FABB are the crossing at 29 and Eskridge/Merrilee Roads, and the lack of bicycle parking facilities. The Eskridge intersection is located close to the Metro station and is on a key walking and cycling route. However, the developer currently plans to build a four-lane road at Eskridge with minimal pedestrian and bicycle accommodations. A better plan for facilitating bicycle and pedestrian access from Dunn Loring and nearby Route 50 is critical to relieving traffic congestion in this area.

The planning commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed development in September. Stay tuned.

Fairfax City explores a more bicycle-friendly Route 50

On March 24 Fairfax City held a full-day public workshop to gather public input on redesigning its section of Route 50, Fairfax Boulevard. Many bicyclists were among the 200+ residents who participated in the hands-on design workshop, or "charrette."

The charrette was part of a master planning process spearheaded by the the local Business Improvement District, the Fairfax Boulevard Partnership. The city and business leaders recognize that Fairfax Boulevard must become a more attractive destination to compete with other nearby retail and employment centers.

Repeatedly, participants emphasized that the Boulevard must become pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. The planning consultant hired by the city used the input to develop a preliminary set of designs that was shown to a packed public gathering on March 29. The designs would create local lanes with slower traffic speeds and wide sidewalks, and move parking areas underground or behind buildings. While on-road bicycle lanes were featured in some of the consultant's illustrative designs, bike facilities were missing from the preliminary transportation designs.

The design recommendations have a long way to go before becoming institutionalized in the city's planning and zoning for the Boulevard. Fairfax City bicyclists should contact the Mayor and city council members to commend them on developing a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly plan for the Boulevard and stress the need to include on-road bicycle lanes and bicycle parking in the plan. To contact the Mayor and city council members, write to mayor&council@fairfaxva.gov

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative 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 bi-monthly updates on Fairfax bicycling issues, along with occasional updates and action alerts on breaking news. If you would like to unsubscribe, send a message to info@fabb-bikes.org.


Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network. Visit us on the web at fabb-bikes.org.

Contact FABB via email: info@fabb-bikes.org

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter