JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2010 FABB News

A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

BICYCLING IN FAIRFAX COUNTY IN 2009

A short recap of major bicycle-related events that occurred in Fairfax County in 2009:

FAIRFAX COUNTY APPLIES FOR BICYCLE MASTER PLAN FUNDS

Fairfax County recently applied for a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) under the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to reduce obesity and tobacco use. Fairfax County requested funds for obesity reduction.

Recognizing this grant as an excellent opportunity to improve bicycling in Fairfax, the county is requesting funds for a countywide bicycle master plan as part of the CDC application.

We are excited about the possibility of finally having funding to create the plan. The master plan is the number one goal of FABB, and it will be a milestone for the county bicycle community. Award recipients will be announced in February 2010.

BICYCLE LIGHT GIVEAWAY

Many people ride at night without lights. As part of its safety outreach efforts, FABB recently gave away bike lights at several locations around the county. The lights were funded by a grant from the Transurban and Fluor Community Grant Program for the Capital Beltway. Approximately 150 sets of lights were installed on bikes at the W&OD Trail and Gallows Road, at Annandale United Methodist Church, and at St. Anthony Catholic Church in the Culmore area.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL IN FAIRFAX COUNTY

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program was implemented to help educate parents and students about the many benefits of walking and biking to school, to assess current walking and biking conditions, and to help communities seek funding for infrastructure improvements. Of the $13,000,000 available to Virginia schools for this program since 2007, Fairfax, the largest school district in Virginia, has received less than 1%, around $17,000, at two schools, Lynbrook ES and Louise Archer ES.

Lee District Supervisor McKay is leading an effort to get more kids walking and biking to school. He raised the issue at a joint Board of Supervisors/School Board meeting where attendees agreed the county needs to do a better job of encouraging more kids to walk and bike to school. Parental concerns about safety need to be overcome. These concerns include a lack of safe routes, security of kids on their way to school, and traffic around the school, much of which is generated by these same parents who drive kids to school.

The county needs a Safe Routes to School Coordinator who could coordinate countywide SRTS efforts, convene a series of SRTS meetings around the county to describe the program, gauge interest in the program, and to locate parents who could form the basis of a pilot SRTS program in the county. Funds are available through the SRTS program; the county needs the initiative to seek the funds and promote the program.

STATEWIDE BICYCLE POLICY PLAN

VDOT is developing a Statewide Bicycle Policy Plan with help from Toole Design Group. The moribund Virginia Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) was revived to provide guidance and feedback on the plan. The committee convened in November in Richmond to discuss and comment on the latest draft of the plan. While the state has a Policy for Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations, implementation is sometimes lacking. "The focus of the State Bicycle Policy Plan is to define a vision, goals and objectives, and associated performance measures for bicycle accommodations in Virginia."

The plan is not yet available for review outside the BAC. We hope to have more information in the near future. A final draft is expected in mid-February.

TRAFFIC SKILLS 101

Traffic Skills 101 (TS 101) is a course developed by the League of American Bicyclists designed to teach bicyclists strategies useful for riding in traffic. Even if you have been riding a bicycle for many years, you may not feel safe riding on busy main roads with cars. This class teaches you how to use "vehicular cycling" techniques such as lane positioning to improve your visibility and safety. Cyclists learn ways to avoid dangerous situations, using techniques such as the quick stop, rock dodge, and instant turn.

The philosophy of vehicular cycling is best expressed by the statement "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated like drivers of vehicles." The book Effective Cycling by John Forester describes the principles of the technique. TS 101 consists of 9 hours of instruction; 4 hours in the classroom and 5 hours on the bike.

Bruce Wright, FABB chairman, is a League Certified Instructor who has been trained and certified by the League of American Bicyclists. He will be teaching three TS 101 sessions this spring. See UPCOMING EVENTS below for times and locations.

FABB RETREAT

FABB board members plan to meet on January 10 to discuss FABB's workplan for the coming year. If you have ideas about how we can help make Fairfax more bicycle-friendly in 2010, please send email to chairman@fabb-bikes.org. If you want to volunteer in the coming year or help us develop our workplan on January 10, please contact Bruce Wright at chairman@fabb-bikes.org. See our current goals.

UPCOMING EVENTS


Traffic Skills 101 sessions


For more details on above events, see the FABB Events page.

Also check out the WABA events page.


FABB BLOG

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.

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

Subscribe to the
FABB e-newsletter