JANUARY 2009 FABB NewsA periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
FAIRFAX COUNTY BIKE MAP REPRINTED
40,000 copies of the updated Fairfax County Bike Map are now available. The latest edition corrects some minor errors contained in the initial printing. The revised map shows a new route category called "Corridor Caution" which identifies sections of Less Preferred routes where cyclists should use extra care, and bike shop locations are now shown. Although the map has a price of $2.00 printed on the cover, the County is currently giving the maps away. Maps are available from the Fairfax County bicycle program or local bike shops. An electronic version will also be available.
FABB MEETS WITH FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE
FABB recently invited Fairfax County police chief Colonel David M. Rohrer to meet with FABB to address our concerns about lack of traffic enforcement and reporting of bicycle crashes. Master Police Officer Beth Benham, representing the chief, attended the November FABB meeting to discuss these issues. Officer Benham reported that 99 cyclists were injured in crashes in 2008. There were 11 property related crashes and 0 fatalities in 2008 at that time. Since that meeting a cyclist was killed while riding on the Route 7 bridge over the Beltway near Tysons Corner (see below).
We discussed how bike crashes are reported. If there is damage of $1000 or more to either vehicle or there is an injury requiring an ambulance, police are required to report the crash. In some cases a crash that doesn't meet those criteria is reported. From personal experience, we know that many bicycle crashes go unreported, leading to an inaccurate perception about the magnitude of the problem.
Based on a list that was handed out at the meeting, we plotted the location of the top crashes in the county (2 - 5 crashes/location).
See the FABB blog for more info on the meeting with Officer Benham.
CYCLIST KILLED ON ROUTE 7 IN TYSONS
As noted above, a cyclist was killed while riding along Route 7 at the Beltway some time on the night of Tuesday, November 25. Police assume the cyclist was riding eastbound in the right lane on Route 7 and he was struck from behind. This is a very dangerous section of Route 7, with fast moving traffic entering and exiting the Beltway. It's a critical link into Tysons without any accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists. Many people walk and bike along this stretch of road because they have almost no other option.
It's not clear if the cyclist, Jesus Villanueva of Falls Church, had lights for visibility. The motorist left the scene and has not been identified yet. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-8477. FABB is discussing the possibility of sponsoring a light giveaway program similar to those held by WABA and others this Fall targeting service workers who depend on bikes for transportation. If you know of sources for funds for purchasing the lights, please let us know.
TYSONS AREA BIKE PLAN
The Tysons Task Force plan on redeveloping Tysons around Metro stations was presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 22, 2008. The Board has asked the Planning Commission to take the guidance from the Task Force plan and propose changes to the Comprehensive Plan. Walter Alcorn, At-Large Planning Commissioner, is chair of the Tysons Corner Committee that will meet over the next several months to develop proposed language for the Comprehensive Plan.
The Tysons Task Force plan includes several references to making Tysons a bike-friendly community, with bike lanes and complete streets. However, a specific bicycle plan was not included in the final report. In December Chairman Connolly's office convened a group to begin work on a Tysons Bike Plan. FABB is working with the Chairman's office, the county bike coordinator, and others to develop a map of proposed bike routes, proposed language for the Comprehensive Plan, including guidance on bike parking and other bike facilities, and a presentation to the Tysons Corner Committee. We hope this will be a prototype for developing bicycle plans for other parts of the county. For more information about the process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW BIKE LANES ON OLD COURTHOUSE ROAD, VIENNA
In November VDOT striped bike lanes on both sides of a short section of Old Courthouse Rd. leading to Tysons. The road is very wide with a 25 mph speed limit. Motorists often speed through this section. The bike lanes narrow the travel lanes and are supposed to act as a traffic calming measure. Unfortunately, a narrow, hilly section of Old Courthouse just to the east that leads to Gosnell Rd. was not included in the project. FABB will continue to advocate for improvements along this section of the road.
FABB PRIORITIZED PROJECT LIST
Speaking of advocating for projects, FABB is compiling a list of needed bike improvements in the county. If you have a favorite section of road that needs improvements, or an area where a short connecting trail will improve bike access, or any other projects that are needed, let us know and we'll add them to the list. Soon we hope to publish the list and solicit additional feedback as we develop priorities.
PUBLIC HEARINGS ON SIX-YEAR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has scheduled five public hearings to be held around the state in January so that citizens may review potential revisions to the Six-Year Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2009-2014. The Northern Virginia District hearings will be on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009, 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Board Room, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.
See the Virginia Bicycling Federation website for information on how cyclists can speak out for better bicycle access.
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA SUPPORTS BIKE LANES
As we noted in the FABB blog, in a speech earlier this year in Portland, Oregon President-elect Obama spoke out about the need for long term solutions to our energy problems: "If we are going to solve our energy problems we've got to think long term. It's time for us to be serious about investing in alternative energy. It's time for us to get serious about raising fuel efficiency standards on cars. It's time that the entire country learn from what's happening right here in Portland with mass transit and bicycle lanes and funding alternative means of transportation. That's the kind of solution that we need for America." We hope this bodes well for the inclusion of bike facilities in the planned economic recovery package. Rails to Trails is sponsoring a petition to the President-elect and key congressional leaders "encouraging them to fund important bicycle and pedestrian projects."
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. If you would like to unsubscribe to the newsletter, send a message to .