June 2007 FABB NEWS

A Bi-Monthly Publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

A more bike-friendly Stringfellow Road

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to widen Stringfellow Road from two to four lanes between Fair Lakes Boulevard and Route 50. FABB has worked with VDOT to develop a cross section that allows cyclists to ride safely on-road.

The current design for Stringfellow Road contains both an off-road multi-use trail for cyclists who prefer not to be part of traffic, and a wide curb lane which allows cyclists to ride with traffic. The normal travel lane is 11-12 feet. The wide curb lane is 14 feet, which provides at least 3 feet of room for cyclists. The standard for a striped bike lane is 4-5 feet. FABB has argued that this can be achieved by making the travel lanes narrower. VDOT disagrees, and the compromise is a wide curb lane.

One method of marking wide curb lanes as a bicycle facility is to use "sharrows" or "shared lane markings ". Sharrows are being used experimentally in many areas, including Alexandria along the Mount Vernon Trail. They can be very effective in enabling bicyclists and motorists to share the road.

FABB feels strongly that on-road cycling is safer and more convenient than using off-road paved trails. Paved trails that are implemented properly in a complete network with safe road crossings, can be very good bike facilities. However, there are still many potentially dangerous conflicts when trails cross roads. When cyclists ride on-road, they become part of traffic and motorists generally see them as such. Both facilities are needed.

FABB encourages you to send comments supporting marked on-road bicycle accommodations on Stringfellow. The deadline for comments is July 3. You can e-mail your comments to Meeting_Comments@vdot.virginia.gov. Write on the subject line, "Stringfellow Road Widening Comments." Please copy FABB at info@fabb-bikes.org. For more information on the Stringfellow project see the VDOT Stringfellow Road site.

Local leaders experience Tysons on two wheels

On Saturday April 21, FABB led a bicycle tour showcasing the opportunities to redesign Tysons Corner as a more bicycle-friendly area. More than 20 people participated, including county officials and media representatives.

The tour exposed participants to secondary roads and connecting routes that are often overshadowed by the notorious congestion on Tysons' main roads. For example, a ride along Jones Branch Road showed ample room to stripe bike lanes along an area that experiences relatively light traffic.

Many participants left with a different perspective about the role of bicycling in shaping Tysons' future. “Every bike is a car off the road,” said Clark Tyler, Chair of the Tysons Land Use Task Force. Increasingly, Tysons planners and elected officials appreciate bicycling as a key transportation mode. In an April presentation to Tysons leaders, transit expert Robert Cervero remarked, “I used to be one of those people who thought of cycling as a frill. It's not. It's an essential provision.”

Bicyclists will have more opportunities to shape the redesign of Tysons Corner. In July the county will hold a series of workshops on land use in Tysons. For more information, visit the Tysons task force web site.

See also our blog entries about the tour: FABB bike tour of Tysons, Tour of Tysons photos, and Another Tysons tour article.

Bike To Work Day

Thousands of people celebrated Bike to Work Day in the DC area on Friday, May 18. FABB members were at all of the Fairfax pit stops both organizing the festivities and talking to cyclists about strategies to make Fairfax more bicycle friendly. At the celebration in Reston, more than 300 people showed up. Reston was the first location in Fairfax County to hold a Bike to Work Day rally in 2002, when FABB stalwarts Bruce Wright and Kerie Hitt helped start the event with support from Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. Although the number of rallies around the County and City of Fairfax grew to six in 2007 (Reston, Vienna, Fairfax Corner, Fairfax City, Springfield, Tysons), Reston continued to be the most popular. We hope to have an event in every Fairfax County Supervisor District some day.

Check out the photos from the Reston pit stop. That's Supervisor Hudgins in the teal sweatshirt with her folding bike (images 7473-7477). She rode to the event!

The University Mall pit stop near Fairfax City, hosted by Oasis Bike Works, featured the Traveling Bicycle Museum exhibit. Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly spoke at the Fairfax Corner pit stop.

One thing that will help make bicycle commuting easier is WABA's new Safe Bicycling Guide. Download at WABA's Safe Cycling page.

FABB Founder Recognized

Bruce Wright, a founder of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, was recognized by the County Board of Supervisors in May for his many voluntary activities supporting bicycling. Among his contributions were serving as chairman of the County Non-motorized Transportation Committee and on a commission advising the county on the development of Tysons Corner. In his capacity on these panels and others he tirelessly advanced the cause of bicycling. Thanks, Bruce!

Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a grassroots initiative 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 bi-monthly updates on Fairfax bicycling issues, along with occasional updates and action alerts on breaking news. If you would like to unsubscribe, send a message to info@fabb-bikes.org.

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

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