July 2008 FABB News
A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
ROLLING ROAD WIDENING PROJECT
VDOT plans to widen the stretch of Rolling Road in southern Fairfax County from Old Keene Mill Road south to just north of the Fairfax County Parkway. The Rolling Road corridor is an important bicycle route as indicated on the new County bike map and VDOT's Northern Virginia Bikeway Map. It connects the extensive commercial development around the Rolling Road/Old Keene Mill Road intersection with the residential areas to the south and the Fairfax County/Franconia-Springfield Parkway and its parallel trail. Both Springfield Mall and Franconia-Springfield Metro station are a short bicycle ride away.
At the public hearing on June 12, many local residents spoke out against bicycle facilities on the road due to right of way concerns. FABB members countered their arguments by speaking out in support of the proposed wide curb lanes and noted the benefits of riding on-road. We feel strongly that on-road facilities are safer and more appropriate for the majority of people using bicycles for transportation. Before the public hearing we met with Supervisor Herrity who supports development of bicycle facilities in general and the wide curb lanes on Rolling Road, but not the proposed parallel multiuse trail.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will soon vote on the project. Cyclists should write to Supervisor Herrity (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Chairman Connolly (email@example.com) to express support for bicycle facilities on Rolling Road. For more info see the Rolling Road project website.
I-495/BELTWAY HOT LANES
Thanks to many cyclists who spoke out for including bicycle facilities on the bridges over the Beltway at the May 20 and 21 public hearings on the Beltway HOT lanes. Approximately half of the comments at the hearings were supportive of the bike accommodations. All of the bridges will be rebuilt as part of the project. We are encouraged that the current plans for most of the bridges include bicycle facilities. However, cyclists still need a way to get through the Route 50/Beltway intersection. We have suggested a separate bicycle/pedestrian bridge nearby.
FABB will monitor the status of these facilities as the project progresses. We need to ensure that appropriate funding for the bike facilities is included in the final project plans. For more information see the FABB HOT lanes page.
FAIRFAX COUNTY BIKE MAP
The first ever bicycle map of Fairfax County was released at Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16. The first printing of 3,000 was gone within the first several weeks so an additional 3,000 copies were printed. Work is ongoing to finalize the map content, to correct some minor errors, and to address user feedback. A final edition will be completed this summer and 50,000 copies of that edition will be printed. FABB was instrumental in working with the Board of Supervisors and the County Bicycle Coordinator Charlie Strunk to produce the map.
Thanks to Chairman Connolly, the Board of Supervisors, and Charlie Strunk and his staff for supporting the project and completing the map. It will be a tremendous resource for cyclists. FABB will use the map as we help develop a bicycle master plan for the county. To view the current bike map visit the County bike pages.
FAIRFAX COUNTY BICYCLE MASTER PLAN
As more and more people choose cycling as an alternative form of transportation in this area, having appropriate facilities becomes increasing important, whether they are wide curb lanes, bike lanes, paved shoulders, or multiuse trails. The County desperately needs a comprehensive bicycle master plan. The plan should address such issues as facility design guidelines for both on-road and off-road bicycle facilities, prioritized lists of bicycle projects, including annual goals, guidelines for maintenance of bicycle facilities, bicycle parking specifications and guidelines, etc.
While the County Trails Plan Map includes the location of some proposed major paved trails and on-road bike routes, it is not a comprehensive plan and it was last revised in 2001. Many of the on-road routes, which were developed by a volunteer committee with guidance from the County and VDOT, are not appropriate and many more are needed.
FABB hopes to work with the Board of Supervisors, the County Bicycle Coordinator, VDOT, and others to develop requirements for a master plan and to secure funding for development of the plan. If you have ideas or would like to help with the effort, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and contact info.
ONLINE BICYCLE ROUTE FINDER
At the April 28, 2008 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting, Chairman Connolly, as part of the ongoing Comprehensive Bicycling Initiative, directed staff to create "an online cycling route finder to be located on the County's website under both the Environment and Transportation subject headings." This application would be similar to one being developed by WABA and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. While there are many challenges to putting together the data and the application, it will be a great asset to cyclists, especially those who are just starting to use bicycles for transportation.
SULLY DISTRICT CIVIL WAR BICYCLE ROUTE
Rob Airaghi of FABB is working with Fairfax County to develop a bicycle tour of Civil War sites in the Sully District. Rob developed much of the route when FABB hosted a bicycle tour of the Sully District for Supervisor Michael Frey. The County is seeking funds to help with the project and plans to publish a map of the route with notes on places of interest along the route. This could be the first of many historical and cultural bicycle routes in the Fairfax area. If you have ideas for other routes, send them, along with directions and notes, to email@example.com.
GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PARKWAY PROJECT
According to National Park Service plans, large sections of the George Washington Memorial Parkway from Spout Run in Arlington north to the Capital Beltway will be rebuilt. Plans for the project do not include any references to the proposed extension of the Mount Vernon Trail. People who live in this section of the County have very limited facilities for bicycling, walking or jogging southward toward the center of the metropolitan area, especially near the Potomac River. The proposed trail extension could resolve much of this constraint and create a safe, attractive route that would have broad community appeal both for commuting to work and for general recreation.
We recently wrote to the National Park Service urging them and the Federal Highway Administration to reexamine their plans for rehabilitation of the northern section of the parkway and to include as part of the roadway design a preferred route for the future extension of the Mount Vernon Trail to I-495 so that bicyclists and pedestrians can be reasonably accommodated. Concerned cyclists should contact the Park management and support the above recommendation.
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 .