September 2007 FABB NEWS
A Bi-Monthly Publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
FABB Public Meeting in September
FABB will hold its first public meeting on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at the Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Ave. E, Vienna, VA 22180. The library is located just south of the W&OD Trail on the corner of Maple Ave (Route 123) and Center St. The meeting will be held from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
We will discuss current FABB advocacy activities, and spend some time listening to you tell us about your major concerns and how we can be a more effective advocacy organization. We also want to hear about your Top 10 Best and Worst bike-friendly roads. Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 14, 2007 if you plan to attend.
Update on "A more bike-friendly Stringfellow Road"
As we mentioned in our June newsletter, 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 road plan that allows cyclists to ride safely on-road. This plan was presented at a public hearing on June 12. Some cyclists spoke out in support of the plan and many cyclists sent comments (Public Comments PDF). Approximately half of the comments submitted support the on-road bike facility proposed by VDOT.
That plan is now in jeopardy. The Poplar Tree Estates Homeowners Association recently invited VDOT to attend a meeting to discuss the Stringfellow Road project. Many members of the HOA oppose the project. We support some of their concerns regarding fast traffic and pedestrian safety. However, we feel strongly that on-road bike facilities must be part of the project. Two feet of additional lane width in the outside lane is a minimal bike facility that some residents think is excessive.
It is now up to Fairfax County to implement the VDOT plan. While there is some local opposition, FABB thinks that the on-road bike facility is a critical part of the plan that must be retained. In response to the local opposition, some local politicians are proposing to remove the on-road bike route. Cyclists must act now to let county Board members know the importance of the on-road bike facilities in the Stringfellow plan. VDOT has done the right thing, now the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors should implement that plan with the on-road bike route.
Contact your Board member and Chairman Connolly to tell them to retain the on-road bike route. It should be part of the Boardís Bicycle Initiative, and their Cool Counties Initiative. Plus, itís the right thing to do. For Board member addresses see the Board website. Email Chairman Connolly.
Bicycle crossings needed in Beltway HOT Lanes project
VDOT and a private contractor are in the midst of negotiating the final details of the Beltway HOT Lanes project. In May of this year FABB sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer about the need for bike facilities as part of the project. On June 1, 2007 WABA sent an alert with similar information, asking Virginia cyclists to contact VDOT and the Fairfax County Board. Thanks to the many cyclists who sent letters of support.
The Beltway is a major barrier to bicycle travel in Northern Virginia. Most of the bridges over the Beltway will be reconstructed as part of the HOT lanes project. These bridges currently lack basic pedestrian and bicycle facilities such as multiuse trails, sidewalks, or on-road bike lanes. We are hoping to meet with VDOT soon to review the plans for bicycle facilities on these bridges. We have heard that VDOT will provide some bicycle access on the new bridges. However, the County Trails Plan calls for on-road bike routes on Little River Turnpike (Route 236), Chain Bridge Rd (Route 123), Gallows Rd, and Braddock Rd. We have heard of no plans to include these County requirements in the project.
VDOT will hold public hearings in the near future. As soon as the date is announced we will send alerts to cyclists asking for their support. In the meantime, you can learn more about the project by visiting the FABB blog entry or the HOT lanes project website.
Bicycle Parking Requirements to be proposed
How many times have you ridden to the local coffee shop, restaurant, or grocery store and discovered that there is no rack for you to securely lock your bike? How often have you passed a local restaurant and seen the many bicycles parked in back, locked to trees, signs, and utility pipes? Unfortunately it happens all the time, in part because Fairfax County currently has no formal bicycle parking requirements or standards.
FABB members recently met with Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth to discuss the need for bicycle parking requirements in the county. Although the county has no formal bike parking requirements, county staff are using the Arlington County requirements as a guideline for new and redeveloped projects. However, without formal requirements, the guidelines are not uniformly applied, and each development application presents unique problems that must be dealt with on a case by case basis. With formal requirements, developers will be aware of their responsibilities and county staff will spend less time using ad hoc requirements with each application.
Charlie Strunk, the County Bicycle Program Manger, will be working with the Board to develop bicycle parking requirements to be incorporated into the Public Facilities Manual. The first step may be to implement requirements for retail establishments only and to later add requirements for commercial and residential developments. FABB thinks that a more comprehensive approach is preferred but will work with the County regardless. The requirements should include specifications for racks that allow a bicycle to be locked in multiple places, typically an inverted U rack, which is the standard in Arlington County and DC.
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 email@example.com.