December 2006 FABB NEWS
A Bi-Monthly Publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
VDOT takes a hard look at bicycle policy
In 2004 the Virginia Department of Transportation adopted a forward-thinking policy to routinely accommodate bicycling and walking "as fundamental travel modes and integral components. . . in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of Virginia's transportation network." Then the hard part began. Many projects undertaken since then have not adequately accommodated bicyclists and pedestrians.
VDOT recognizes the problem. Earlier this year, under the leadership of Secretary Pierce Homer, the department convened a task force to study implementation of the policy and recommend improvements. VDOT ped/bike coordinator David Patton helped move the task force toward some key recommendations. At the November 15 meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, VDOT staff proposed a number of specific improvements. One recommendation was to set aside 2% of the annual paving budget to add shoulders that could accommodate on-road bicycling.
The proposal marks a good start toward integrated bicycling in Virginia's -- and Fairfax's -- transportation network. Much remains to be done. The optimal width of a bikeable shoulder or lane is more than twice the width of the paved shoulders outlined in the VDOT proposal. Before any of the recommendations are considered and approved, public hearings must be held throughout the state, including the Fairfax area. It's important for bicyclists to make their views known. We will keep you informed.
How do you get there? We want to know!
Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling has started an online bike mapping project that charts commonly used bike routes in the county. The project will feed into Fairfax County's bicycle planning process. Now it's your turn. Let us know where you bike and what roads and trails you use to get there. Send your routes to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll digitize the routes and post them on our Draft Fairfax Bike Route Map.
Bike Lanes in McLean
McLean bicyclists may be finding their ride a little easier. In November, Fairfax County striped bike lanes on both sides of Old Chesterbrook Road from Westmoreland Street to Longfellow Road. The bike lanes extend a half mile and stop close to McLean High School. The installation was part of a traffic calming project on this residential road.
Adding bike lanes to local roads can be a less cumbersome process than restriping wider arterial roads. FABB is pushing for a more interconnected network that would include on-road bike routes on roads such as Route 123. The new bike lanes on Old Chesterbrook mark a small but positive step toward building the network. Among other benefits, the striped lanes remind motorists that bicyclists exist and we have a place on the road!
VDOT publishes Virginia Bike Map
In November, VDOT published the Virginia Bike Map. The Northern Virginia insert maps contain only major trails and Interstate Bike Route 1. The Cross County Trail is included even though much of the trail is not paved and is only appropriate for single-track cyclists. For a more detailed map of routes of Fairfax County, see the Draft FABB Bike Route Map.
Fairfax Adds New Bike to Work Day Sites
More and more Fairfax bicyclists participate in Bike to Work Day each year. The 2007 event promises to be the biggest ever. Two additional sites have come on board, one at Tysons Corner and another in South County. Mark your calendars for May 18. More later!
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.