December 2007 FABB News
A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
Bicyclists in Fairfax benefited by many events in 2007. It was the first year that Fairfax County had a bicycle coordinator, Charlie Strunk, who is working to help make the county more bicycle-friendly. All Fairfax Connector buses now have bike racks. Bike lockers are now available for rent at the Reston East and Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride lots.
A bike map of the county is being developed, and funding for bike lanes was included in the transportation bond that was passed in November. While Fairfax has a long way to go before becoming truly bike-friendly, we are making progress. In the coming year we will continue to work toward building an interconnected system of bike routes, and adding bike parking at major retail, commercial and residential developments.
FAIRFAX COUNTY BIKE MAP
Fairfax County has a contract with Toole Design Group of Hyattsville, MD to develop a bike map of Fairfax County. Using the FABB draft bike route map as a basis, bike coordinator Charlie Strunk is working with Toole to identify an interconnected network of primarily on-road bike routes.
These routes will be assessed in the field to determine bike friendliness of the roads and in some cases, trails. Road characteristics such as number of travel lanes, width of outside lane, presence of a paved shoulder, speed limit, traffic volume, and others will be recorded for each route. These variables will be used to quantitatively determine suitability of each route for bicycles, which is expressed as Bicycle Level of Service (BLOS). The field work will begin in December 2007. This data will then be used to produce the final bike route map.
Meetings with county bicyclists are planned in January to discuss the ongoing work and to get feedback on the routes being evaluated. There will likely be meetings for north and south county residents. Once the meeting times, dates, and locations are determined FABB will help get the word out, including sending a notice to our e-newsletter list. You can also check the new Fairfax County Bike Pages.
HOT LANES PROJECT DEAL SIGNED
According to the Washington Post article Deals Clinched on HOT Lanes published on December 21, 2007, “Virginia transportation officials announced late Thursday [December 20, 2007] that they have finalized all the agreements needed to start construction in the spring on a $1.4 billion project to add HOT lanes on a 14-mile stretch of the Capital Beltway.” FABB has been working with Fairfax County to try to ensure that bicycle facilities, as outlined on the County Trails Plan, will be included in the project. VDOT and the County have been meeting to discuss proposed facilities and it sounds like many will be included.
We are still very concerned about the lack of information being provided to the public. We have not officially seen any plans for the HOT lanes bridges. From the VDOT press release issued on December 20, 2007, VDOT has the responsibility to rebuild the bridges over the Beltway. VDOT will: “Provide a $409 million financial grant to the project to support the construction of key elements including the final phase of the Springfield Interchange (Phase VIII), improvements to the I-66 interchange, participation in the regional congestion management plan and reconstruction of aging bridges on the Beltway.”
It will be critical that bicyclists attend the public hearing this spring to speak out for bike facilities on the HOT lanes bridges. There won't be another chance in our lifetimes to provide these facilities. VDOT is required to provide information to the public one month before the hearing. As soon as that information is available we will get the word out. To learn more about the project visit either the VDOT project page or the Fluor and Transurban project page.
See also the McLean Citizens Association resolution [pdf] on the need for bike facilities on the HOT Lanes.
VDOT PAVES SHOULDERS OF NORTH STRINGFELLOW ROAD
Every year VDOT repaves several roads in the county. Based on a new policy to provide better bicycle facilities, 2% of funds devoted to road maintenance will now be used for paving road shoulders where there is an existing unpaved shoulder. While Fairfax County did not receive any funds from VDOT this year, the county bike coordinator, Charlie Strunk, was able to free up County funds to pay for the paving of the shoulders along Stringfellow Rd., north of Route 50. Thanks to Charlie and Fairfax County for finding funds for this work. Charlie is working closely with VDOT to ensure that the county receives their share of the 2% from VDOT next year.
TRANSPORTATION BOND PASSES
In November Fairfax County residents voted in favor of the Transportation Bond referendum that contains several bike projects. See the list of improvements in the bond that will enhance bicycling in Fairfax County.
ROLLING ROAD WIDENING PROJECT
VDOT plans to widen Rolling Road between Old Keene Mill Rd and just north of the Fairfax County Parkway. The project was approved many years ago but was never built. Now that funding is available, the project is being reactivated. See the VDOT Rolling Road Project web page for additional information. See the map of the project scope.
Rolling Road is an important north/south connecting route for bicyclists. Adequate on-road bike facilities must be part of the project. Cyclists are encouraged to become familiar with this stretch of Rolling Road and be prepared to comment at an upcoming public hearing, possibly in February 2008.
DC REGIONAL BIKE ADVOCACY MEETINGS
FABB is participating in regional bike advocacy meetings sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, WABA. Advocates from DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia have been meeting at WABA headquarters to discuss important regional issues and how WABA resources can help resolve them. While WABA’s role is still evolving some ideas were proposed. The ideas included: a regional bike summit; that WABA should foster the activities of local groups; and a bicycle issues report card on each jurisdiction be released on Bike to Work Day. The next meeting is January 28th.
NEXT FABB MEETING IS JANUARY 16, 2008
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. If you would like to unsubscribe to the newsletter, send a message to .