NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2010 FABB NEWSA periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
- Tysons Bicycle Master Plan in Progress
- FABB is Sheltered from the Elements Thanks to REI
- Wakefield Bike/Ped Bridge Construction
- Bike Light Giveaway
- FABB Recognized by Board of Supervisors for Advocates Guide
- Bike Positions of Congressional Candidate
- Working with VDOT to Help Bicyclists
- Upcoming Events
TYSONS BICYCLE MASTER PLAN IN PROGRESS
Planning for better bicycle conditions in Tysons is now underway. The Tysons bicycle master plan is being developed by the county with help from a team of contractors, a bicycle advisory committee, and the public. The contractors have been working since August with the advisory committee to develop goals, assess local conditions, and develop recommendations for future bike facilities. About 25 cyclists attended the public meeting on September 30. As a follow-up to that meeting, cyclists can make comments on needed bike facilities in Tysons by using the BikeTysons interactive mapping application. Log in using BikeTysons as the username and password, then enter proposed routes and locations for needed bike parking and note dangerous intersections, needed connections, etc. The deadline for interactive comments on the BikeTysons site is November 12.
On October 22 FABB helped organize a bike tour of Tysons so that county staff, contractors, and cyclists could field check various locations of possible future bike facilities. Several employees who work in Tysons joined the ride and discussed challenges they face while riding to work. We visited the site of the future Metro stations and discussed possible routes to the stations.
FABB IS SHELTERED FROM THE ELEMENTS THANKS TO REI
REI Fairfax recently donated the REI Alcove Shelter to FABB. We often have tabling or bike valet events and we usually hope it doesn't rain or that the sun isn't too intense. The new shelter is very compact and weighs about 15 lbs so we can easily carry it to events in our trailer or on a utility bike. The shelter also has removable sides for keeping out the rain and wind.
When the canopy was ready to be picked up FABB members rode to the REI Fairfax store, visited with Rhonda Krafchin, who coordinated the donation, met several of the REI bike staff, and picked up the shelter. This is a very generous donation from Rhonda and REI and we're thrilled to have the shelter for future events. REI supports Bike to Work Day at Fairfax Corner, they sponsored the recent 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride and they support many other good causes. Thank you REI!
WAKEFIELD BIKE/PED BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION
The bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Beltway/I-495 is being lengthened as part of the HOT lanes construction. Thanks to the contractor, a temporary crossing has been provided for most of the construction period (after a brief closing due to ADA-compliance issues). Many cyclists use this bridge to reach various destinations on both sides of the Beltway. There are no other safe crossings for many miles in either direction.
Because of construction of a new support structure, the bridge had to be closed again for a short period recently. The construction is nearly complete and we hope there will be no further closings. Thanks to cyclists who provided us with photos and comments on our Facebook page about the construction as it proceeded.
BIKE LIGHT GIVEAWAY
Thanks to a generous grant from Transurban, FABB will be holding several bike light giveaways again this year. For various reasons many cyclists ride at night without lights which poses a significant safety risk to them as well as the rest of the travelling public. Disproportionate shares of all bike accidents occur after dark. We are trying to reach as many of these cyclists as possible by installing front and rear bike lights on their bikes. Last year we held four events, targeting service workers who depend on bikes for transportation. We also held an event on the W&OD Trail to reach commuters and others who use the trail at night without lights. Watch for dates for upcoming bike light giveaways on the FABB blog. We will be seeking volunteer assistance for these giveaways.
This year we also received funds for placing a small number of inverted-U bike racks at locations along the HOT lanes corridor. If you know of a business or public facility that needs secure bike parking, let us know at chairman [at] fabb-bikes.org.
We also have funds to provide several bike commuting seminars for large employers in the HOT lanes corridor. If you would like your company to sponsor a bike commuting seminar, please let us know at chairman [at] fabb-bikes.org.
FABB RECOGNIZED BY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR ADVOCATES GUIDE
At the September 14 Board of Supervisors Meeting, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Hudgins presented the following Board Matter: "Recognition of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB): For their work on the completed Guide for Reviewing Public Road Design and Bicycling Accommodations for Virginia Bicycling Advocates, outlining ways bicycling proponents can get involved in the process of designing, and building roads to ensure that bicycling accommodations are integrated into the plans where needed."
Thanks to Supervisor Hudgins and the Board for this honor. We are scheduled to appear before the Board and be recognized at their December 7 meeting. We have received great feedback from advocates and others about the Guide, which can be downloaded from the FABB website. We are planning an event to celebrate the publication of the guide on November 4 at 9:30 a.m. For more information contact chairman [at] fabb-bikes.org.
BIKE POSITIONS OF CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES
Election Day is November 2. FABB does not endorse political candidates but we want to provide information on contested races in the county. The one Fairfax race that appears to be close this year is in the 11th District. We've asked the two main candidates, Democratic Congressman Gerald Connolly and Republican Keith Fimian to respond to the following two questions:
- Do you agree with the following statement? "I support bicycling as an alternate mode of transportation and will seek explicit funding for bicycle facilities (bike lanes, paved shoulders, wider outside lanes, bike parking, better enforcement of traffic laws protecting bicyclists, etc.)"
- In general, do you support bicycling as an integral part of our transportation network and if so, do you support the recent USDOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation: "Considering walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes?"
Congressman Connolly: 1. He authored the Comprehensive Bicycle Initiative for Fairfax County that incorporates all of these elements, created the first bicycle coordinator and developed the first bicycle trail map of the county. 2. Yes - He along with 23 of his colleagues sent a letter of support to Secretary LaHood. Congressman Connolly has also supported implementation of new experimental bicycle facilities in the MUTCD and an increase in funding for bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects in the Surface Transportation Authorization bill.
Candidate Fimian: We have not received a response. We've searched his website for information on bicycling and found nothing. In fact, "Transportation" isn't listed as a major issue. Recently Mr. Fimian and Congressman Connolly debated on the WTOP Politics Program. It seems that Mr. Fimian thinks we've spent too much money on bike paths: Mark Plotkin: "Isn't it time to raise the Federal gas tax of 18.4 cents to help fund transportation in your district?" Mr. Fimian: "Listen, the problem is that massive amount of tax money is gone and they spent it on a transportation museum and flowers in the median and bike paths."
WORKING WITH VDOT TO HELP BICYCLISTS
A FABB member recently solved a longstanding problem with a section of road in the Chantilly area: "A small section of Route 50 - Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway in west Fairfax County was scheduled to be resurfaced during October. Seeing that operation in progress, I wrote to VDOT on 14 October concerning a 15-year problem on the parallel service road; that being uneven transitions on either side of a concrete bridge crossing Flatlick Stream approximately 6,200 feet east of Rt 28.
"Residents had long complained about the hard bumps resulting from the vertical gap between the asphalt and the concrete, and cyclists were particularly irritated because of flat tires incurred there. VDOT responded immediately, pointing me to the Construction Manager for the job, Mr. Bradley Parkzes. He conferred with his supervisor, Area Construction Engineer Lauren Mollerup. On Wednesday 20 October Mr. Parkzes contacted me saying that the work would be accomplished that night. And true to their word, it was! A 15-year irritant was removed in short order thanks to flexibility and motivation to serve the public, working within the confines of an existing project." It is important for bike riders to speak up and give input to officials at the right time so they can fix infrastructure problems.
FABB monthly meeting - November 17, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue East Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail. We've asked staff from BikeArlington to discuss their programs to promote bicycling in Arlington.
Future of Fairfax Forum and Fundraiser; Coalition for Smarter Growth - November 17, Wednesday, 5:00pm-7:30pm. FABB is a sponsor of this event. From the Coalition for Smarter Growth: "Please join us for a lively forum on future growth and development opportunities in Fairfax County. We have three national experts – veritable celebrities! - lined up to discuss innovative transportation and urban design solutions, changing demographics, and current market demand. Proceeds from the event will go to our education and outreach program in Fairfax County. For details visit the CSG website. 5:00pm Reception; 6:00-7:30pm Program, Capital One Auditorium, McLean, VA.
Smart Cycling: Promoting Fun, Fitness and the Environment - November 18, Thursday, 7:00 p.m. at The Bike Lane, 11943 Democracy Drive, Reston Town Center. Andy Clark, League of American Bicyclists, will be discussing a new book, Smart Cycling: Promoting Fun, Fitness and the Environment. He'll be answering questions, signing copies of his new book, and discussing how the League is building a Bicycle Friendly America! The book covers everything from how to get started on a bike to advanced training.
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.