MAY 2008 FABB News

A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

HOT LANES PUBLIC HEARING DATE ANNOUNCED

Now is the time to speak out for bicycle facilities on the bridges crossing the Beltway HOT Lanes bridges. The Beltway has been a barrier to bicycle travel in Northern Virginia for over 40 years and now is the time to overcome that barrier. Public hearings on the proposed Beltway/I-495 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) project were just announced.

There will be hearings on two evenings, Tues. May 20 & Wed. May 21. An open house will be held from 5-7 p.m. After a brief presentation at 7 p.m. there will be a public comment period. Mark your calendars and plan to arrive early to sign up for the speaker's list at the door.

We have worked with VDOT and Fairfax County transportation staff and according to the latest plans, bike facilities are included on most of the bridges and overpasses crossing the Beltway that will be reconstructed as part of the HOT lanes project. It is important that cyclists attend the public hearings and speak out in support of these facilities.

If you cannot attend either of the public hearings, please submit comments by June 5, 2008, to Roger Boothe, Project Manager, VDOT, 6400 Commerce Street, Springfield, VA 22150. You may also e-mail your comments to: Meeting_Comments@VDOT.Virginia.gov, Subject: Bicycle facilities on the HOT lanes project. See the FABB HOT lanes summary page for more info, including links to copies of some of the plans.


FAIRFAX COUNTY BIKE MAP NEAR COMPLETION

The Fairfax County Bike Map is undergoing editing in preparation for release on Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 16. The map is a major goal of FABB, which helped secure funding from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2006. Input from county cyclists gathered at two public meetings is being evaluated and a final route network and map layout is almost completed. Look for copies of the initial printing of the map at Bike to Work Day or see the county bike pages for more info. To sign up for Bike to Work Day visit www.waba.org.


ROLLING ROAD WIDENING PROJECT PUBLIC HEARING

FABB has been working since 2005 to help make bicycling conditions better in Fairfax County. While we have made great strides during that time, we still have very few on-road facilities. Now is your chance to speak out in support of VDOT's plans for including wide curb lanes on Rolling Road.

The public hearing for the VDOT project will be held on Thursday, June 12, in the cafeteria of West Springfield High School, 6100 Rolling Road, Springfield, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Check the VDOT project website for details about the project. Cyclists are encouraged to attend the public hearing and speak out for on-road bike facilities on the widened road.

Cyclists should also contact Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, who does not support bike facilities on Rolling Road. Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly has been a strong supporter of bike facilities in the county and he needs to hear from concerned cyclists. Also contact other members of the Board of Supervisors and ask that on-road bicycle facilities be part of the project. VDOT Project website.


PROPOSED REBUILDING OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PARKWAY FROM SPOUT RUN TO THE AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE

The National Park Service is planning to rebuild the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway without accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists. We thus urge the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration to reexamine their plans for rehabilitation of this section of the parkway and to include as part of the roadway design a preferred route for the future extension of the multiuse trail to I-495 so that bicyclists and pedestrians can be reasonably accommodated. Let GW Parkway Supervisor Vela know that bicycle facilities should be part of this project by emailing his office at gwmp_superintendant@nps.gov.


LOCAL BIKE ENTHUSIASTS NEEDED

FABB began several years ago when a handful of bike enthusiasts, mostly from the Hunter Mill, Providence and Dranesville districts, decided to meet regularly to see what could be done to foster cycling as a transportation option in Fairfax County. We've since grown in membership to include most supervisor districts in Fairfax County. Despite the growth, we are still a grassroots organization and must encourage strong local support to maintain our momentum. If you are knowledgeable about bike routes and the needs of the cycling community in your district and have time to help coordinate bicycle advocacy we would appreciate hearing from you, especially if you live in the Braddock, Lee, Mason, or Springfield districts. Contact FABB at info@fabb-bikes.org. See a map of supervisor districts.


ROUTE 1 SPEED LIMIT REDUCTION DELAYED BY FAIRFAX BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

There is a direct correlation between how fast a car is traveling and the likelihood of a pedestrian or bicycle fatality in a crash. In two British studies, the odds of pedestrian death rose from 45% at 30 mph to 85% at 40 mph. The speed limit on Route 1 between the City of Alexandria and Old Mill Road is 45 mph. This stretch of road is one of the most dangerous sections in Virginia for pedestrian. See the recent article entitled "Walkers, Beware Urbanization of Rural Areas Is Linked to Pedestrian Perils" in the April 24th Washington Post.

After extensive study and work with Fairfax County police and county transportation staff, VDOT recently proposed to reduce the speed limit on Route 1 from 45 mph to 35 mph, where the majority of pedestrian fatalities has occurred in recent years. While simply reducing the speed limit will likely do little to reduce crashes, it is a good first step. Other traffic-calming measures are needed. One of the best is to implement on-road bike lanes, which narrows the travel lanes and effectively slows traffic.

The proposal was scheduled to go into effect on March 10, 2008. When the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors learned of the request, they ordered VDOT to halt the implementation pending further study. FABB feels strongly that Fairfax County must support VDOT and reduce travel speed on Route 1. We urge cyclists to write to the two supervisors in whose district the road is located, Supervisor Hyland, Supervisor McKay, other members of the Board, and the VDOT District Traffic Engineer and ask them to support lower speeds on Route 1.


UPCOMING EVENTS

May 14, 2008, Wednesday - PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE VDOT SIX-YEAR PLAN

The Commonwealth Transportation Board is holding public hearings on essential rail, public transportation, commuter services, bicycle, pedestrian, and highway projects in the Fiscal Year 2009-2014 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). Comments are also being solicited on the Statewide Maintenance Program. To view all Fairfax County or Fairfax City projects visit the Six-Year Program site and select the appropriate jurisdiction. There are 16 pages of projects in Fairfax County including funds for on-road bike lanes on Gallows Road. All road projects should include bike facilities.

The hearing will start at 7:30 p.m. at Northern Virginia Community College, Ernst Culture Center, Forum Area, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003.

May 16, 2008, Friday - BIKE TO WORK DAY

Join thousands of bicyclists around the Washington Metro area for a celebration of bike commuting during Bike Month. There will be 12 events in Northern Virginia, 6 of which are in Fairfax County. T-shirts, food, drinks, raffle prizes and bicycle literature will be available to everyone who registers at waba.org and attends the event.

May 20, 2008, Tuesday - HOT LANES PROJECT PUBLIC HEARING

May 21, Wednesday - HOT LANES PUBLIC HEARING

See above for more information.

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 unsubscribe to the newsletter, send a message to .

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

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