MARCH 2009 FABB News

A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

TYSONS AREA BIKE PLAN

FABB presented the draft Tysons Bike Plan to the Fairfax County Planning Commission's Tysons Corner Committee on February 19. The presentation was well-received. The next step is to determine what aspects of the draft plan will be incorporated into the County's Comprehensive Plan.

We presented a map of planned bike lanes to the Commissioners. The planned bike lanes closely match bike lanes recommended by County staff. The bike plan also includes two transit/bike/ped crossings of the Beltway, proposed by the Tysons Task Force, which will allow cyclists in McLean and Pimmit Hills to finally be able to safely bicycle into Tysons.

The biggest challenge: what facilities are appropriate for Route 7 and Route 123? Route 7 is being widened from 6 to 8 lanes with sidewalks on both sides but without bike accommodations. The sidewalks will be filled with people accessing Metro. Since the Route 7 and 123 corridors will be the heart of the newly planned Tysons, bike access is needed. On-road bike lanes or shared bus/bike lanes are possible solutions.

Along with a network of bike routes, support infrastructure -- such as bike parking, changing facilities, and showers -- is needed. Guidelines are needed in the Comprehensive Plan to ensure these facilities are built as the area develops. One option is a bike station, a small storefront that provides services such as bike parking, changing room and showers, bike rental, bike accessories for sale, and bike repair. The Cherry Creek Bike Rack in Denver is an excellent example.

Finally, a bike sharing system could replace motor vehicle traffic with bike trips, especially short trips from Metro to work or lunchtime trips. The Velib system in Paris is the best example, with 20,000 bicycles and 1,450 stations.

County staff and the Tysons Task force are developing the final Comprehensive Plan language. FABB will send out notification when public hearings are held on the proposed changes.

LAWYERS ROAD BIKE LANES PROPOSED

VDOT is proposing to restripe a section of Lawyers Rd in Reston from 4 to 3 lanes with 5-foot bike lanes (or paved shoulders) between Fox Mill Rd and Myrtle Lane, about 2 miles in length. The new design will help reduce motor vehicle crashes and speeding and would provide many benefits to both cyclists and motorists. See a map of the project and a list of benefits.

Several destinations of interest to cyclists are located on the western end of Lawyers Road such as the Reston South Park and Ride Lot, Fox Mill Shopping Center, and a new 10-foot asphalt trail along Reston Parkway/Lawyers Rd to the south. The few short sections of unconnected, crumbling paved trail along the road are not useable for bicycling. The proposed on-road bike lanes would be the first such facilities in Reston.

Paved shoulders are also needed on the section to the east between Myrtle Lane and Twin Branches Road but they are not part of the project design.

VDOT and the Hunter Mill District office will hold a public meeting on the proposed bike lanes on Wednesday, March 4, 7-9 p.m. at Langston Hughes Middle School. Cyclists are encouraged to attend the meeting to support the proposed bike lanes. See the FABB blog for more info.

ROUTE 50 WIDENING PROJECT

VDOT plans to widen Route 50 from just west of Route 28 to Route 742 (Poland Road) in Loudoun County. The project plans include 10-foot wide shared-use paths on each side of Route 50 but no on-road bike facilities. FABB has reviewed the plans and presented comments at the public hearing held on February 26. We will also provide detailed comments on various aspects of the path design.

We think that the project should extend a short distance to the east to provide safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians through the Route 50/Route 28 intersection. Many bicyclists and pedestrians are currently traveling under Route 28 to and from the proposed project area, presumably to jobs, despite the current lack of improvements and unsafe conditions. With the new shared-use paths providing greater access to work centers along the Route 50 corridor, we anticipate that the numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians willing to risk the unsafe Route 28 underpass will increase as a direct result. Yet no improvements are proposed there and the new 3-mile paths end abruptly just west of the underpass. We ask that cyclists submit comments by March 12, 2009 to Meeting_Comments@VDOT.Virginia.gov.

I-95 PED/BIKE BRIDGE TO BE REBUILT

As part of the I-95/395 HOT lanes project, the ped/bike bridge used by many commuters to cross I-95 near the Springfield Metro station and Springfield Mall will be torn down to make way for exit/entrance ramps for the new HOT lanes. The proposed new 10-foot wide ped/bike bridge will require users to cross approximately 6 lanes of potentially high-speed traffic at grade. This will be dangerous for users and could take twice as long to cross I-95 as it does now. Users will be required to activate a pedestrian signal, wait for the signal to change, and then hope that motorists actually stop, especially those using the southbound ramp. This is a major degradation in service for trail users. Please send comments to Steven Titunik at Steven.Titunik@vdot.virginia.gov. We will continue to track this project and advocate for a true grade-separated crossing, possibly to the south of the existing bridge.

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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. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, send a message to .

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

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