JULY-AUGUST 2010 FABB NewsA periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
COMMENT ON VIRGINIA'S LONG RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLAN
The 2035 Virginia Surface Transportation Plan (VSTP) is Virginia's long range plan for all modes of transportation, including bicycling. Fairfax County is in the Northern Region. The draft plan is now available for review until July 30. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Element of the plan is focused on: Development of a Bike Policy Plan, Development of a Pedestrian Policy Plan, and Implementation Plan for both the Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Plans.
The Bike Policy Plan is stalled, and now that the statewide bicycle coordinator position is vacant, no progress is being made. Even when complete, the bicycle policy plan will contain few concrete facility recommendations. It is a policy plan that addresses VDOT policies, programs, outreach, and data collection.
Cyclists should send comments on the 2035 plan to statewideplan@VDOT.Virginia.Gov. We suggest the following comments: 1. Fill the state bicycle coordinator position as soon as possible. The position is federally funded and there is no reason for it to be vacant. 2. Specific bicycle facility recommendations should be included in the plan: Bicycle improvements to existing roads, especially U. S. Bicycle Routes 1 & 76, such as paved shoulders or restriping for wide curb lanes or bike lanes; recommendations for construction of new regionally significant bicycle facilities; improved maintenance of bicycle facilities; and improved bicycle access to park and ride facilities, including better bicycle parking at those facilities. A plan for funding these improvements should also be included.Comments can be submitted via e-mail to statewideplan@VDOT.Virginia.Gov. between June 16, 2010, and July 30, 2010. See the 2035 Virginia Surface Transportation Plan.
FAIRFAX COUNTY APPROVES TYSONS PLAN
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the Tysons redevelopment plan at their June 22 meeting. Many people who spoke in favor of the plan noted that Tysons must become a walkable, bikable community to succeed. Transforming Tysons into a bike-friendly place was one of the first goals of FABB. We think the proposed plan will go a long way toward achieving that goal.
There are many provisions for bicyclists in the new plan: bike lanes on many of the major roads, bike parking requirements, and connections to surrounding neighborhoods. Two new crossings of the Beltway will improve bicycle access for residents to the east. One major problem continues to be that Routes 7 & 123 are still too wide and lack bicycle facilities. They need to be fixed so that Tysons can become truly bike- and ped-friendly. Instead of fixing them later, now is the time to get their design right.
Thanks to all cyclists who participated in the planning process, who attended many of the community workshops, attended public hearings and numerous meetings, and helped ensure that bicycle provisions were included in the plan. You do make a difference. To see the final plan language. The main bicycle network section begins on page 57.
TYSONS BIKE PLANNING PROCESS STARTING
This month Fairfax County will begin the process of developing a bicycle master plan for Tysons. Final contract details are being negotiated and work should begin in the next couple of weeks. While there is a bicycle plan map included in the Tysons plan, the map is a placeholder. It was developed by county staff and FABB. As stated in the Tysons plan, "A bicycle master plan study has been initiated for the greater Tysons area. Once completed, bicycle routes in, around, and through the urban center will be refined and Map 8 will be updated."
The bike plan will extend to a 3 mile radius around Tysons which includes planning bicycle access to Tysons, Pimmit Hills, Vienna, and other surrounding areas. Several public meetings are planned to provide area cyclists the opportunity to weigh in on proposed bike routes and other bicycle facilities needed in Tysons in the future. Check the FABB blog and events pages for updated information.
ADVOCATES GUIDE TO BE PUBLISHED SOON
Just over a year ago FABB was awarded a grant of $9,600 from Alliance for Biking & Walking to develop "an easy-to-follow guide for non-engineer bicycle advocates to help them identify issues, make informed comments, and play a constructive role during the design of new bicycle facilities." As VDOT and Fairfax County develop more bicycle facilities in the coming years, it's important that bicycle advocates play a role in ensuring these facilities meet the needs of cyclists. This work often requires reviewing detailed engineering plans, interacting with engineers and technical staff, and being able to speak the language of bicycle facility design. The brochure, in paper and electronic form, will help cyclists and others through this process.
Fionnuala Quinn has overseen the project, meeting with state and local officials to solicit their ideas and comments on the guide, writing the document, and getting feedback from cyclists from around the state. The final document was delivered to the printer this week and we hope to have copies available by mid-July. More information will be available on the FABB website.
CHARLIE STRUNK, FAIRFAX BIKE COORDINATOR, RECEIVES TRANSPORTATION AWARD
Charlie Strunk, the Fairfax County bicycle coordinator, recently received the 2009 Transportation Achievement Award. The award is presented by the Transportation Advisory Commission. "He was selected based on his efforts planning facilities to allow 'non-motorized' or bicycle transportation options. In 2009, Strunk managed the following projects:
- Creating 10 new miles of bike lanes on Gallows Road, Westmoreland Street, Lawyers Road and other streets.
- Completing the bicycle and pedestrian bridge on Wolftrap Road near Joyce Kilmer Middle School, providing non-motorized access between Tysons Corner and the town of Vienna.
- Purchasing 150 new bike racks for locations across the county.
- Securing a $104,000 federal grant to create the Sully District Historic Sites Bike Map, a guide to family-friendly bike routes that highlight Civil War and historic sites in western Fairfax County.
- Winning a Virginia Department of Health grant to buy and give away 200 bike helmets to children.
Congratulations to Charlie for this well-deserved award. A great deal has been accomplished since Charlie became the county's first bike coordinator in 2006. While the county has a long way to go before becoming truly bike-friendly, and many FABB goals are yet to be achieved, we've made great progress and Charlie and the bike program deserve to be recognized for their hard work.
FAIRFAX BIKE SHARING PART OF TIGER II GRANT APPLICATION
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is preparing a grant application for TIGER II funds. $600 million is available for "projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area or a region." Funds for a DC/Arlington bike sharing system were unsuccessfully requested as part of the TIGER I application submitted by MWCOG. The TIGER II application includes a system with 100 bikes in Fairfax County. Possible locations are being considered around future Silver Line metro stations in the Tysons and Reston areas.
- No FABB meeting in July
- July 19, Monday, Herndon Metro Area Study Community Workshop, 6pm at the Herndon Senior Center, 873 Grace Street, Herndon
- July 30, Friday - End of public comment period on 2035 Plan
- August 18, Wednesday - FABB Monthly meeting - 7:30 p.m., Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue East, Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail. All are welcome. For more information contact Bruce Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details on above events, see the FABB Events page.
Also check out the WABA events page.
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.