September-October 2009 FABB News
A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
LAWYERS ROAD AND GALLOWS ROAD BIKE LANES COMPLETED
VDOT recently restriped Lawyers Road from 4 to 3 lanes with 5-foot bike lanes and a center turn lane between Fox Mill Rd and Myrtle Lane, about 2 miles in length. These are the first bike lanes in Reston, home of many cyclists who use Lawyers on a regular basis. This could be one of the first of many "road diets" in the county that result in better bike facilities and safer roads.
At the same time new bike lanes were striped on Gallows Road from just north of the Dunn Loring Metro station north to the W&OD Trail. The wide center lane was reduced in width and the four travel lanes were shifted to the center, making room for the bike lanes. There is a short section of wide curb lanes between the W&OD Trail and Idylwood Rd. The second phase of the project, planned for 2010, will include bike lanes and wide curb lanes from Idylwood Rd to Old Courthouse Rd. There are now 17 miles of bike lanes in the county, out of approximately 4,000 miles of roads.
DRANESVILLE DISTRICT GETS BIKE ROUTE SIGNS
Without the new Fairfax bike map, it's difficult to navigate the streets of the county on a bicycle. While there are many bike-friendly roads, almost none have bike route signs. Fairfax County recently worked with Dranesville Supervisor Foust's Pedestrian and Bicycle Task Force (on which FABB was represented) to develop a list of streets for placement of wayfinding and bike route signs. In downtown McLean, signs should begin to appear on the following streets: Fleetwood Rd from Elm St, on Old Chain Bridge to Brawner St to Calder Rd to Kurtz Rd to Dolly Madison (123). In Great Falls signage will be on River Bend Rd, Beech Mill Rd and on to Brockman Lane at the county line, where there is a link into Loudoun County.
A long term goal of FABB is a network of bike route and wayfinding signs throughout Fairfax County to guide cyclists to major destinations. This is a major effort that could be part of the development of a bicycle master plan for the county, which is the number one goal of FABB.
BIKE/PED PROJECTS RECEIVE NEARLY $1M IN FEDERAL FUNDS
The Commonwealth Transportation Board recently selected four projects in Fairfax County [pdf - see p. 14] to receive $969,500 for fiscal year 2010. VDOT received $500,000 to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections from the HOT Lanes project limits to existing sidewalks and trails. Only one of the VDOT HOT lanes projects includes funding for on-road bike facilities (3 foot shoulders on Oak Street). The most significant project on the VDOT list is to provide a shared use path on Route 123 from Tysons Boulevard to Old Meadow Rd, which will help cyclists overcome a longstanding barrier between the McLean area and Tysons. Below is a list of all four projects and the funds allocated to each in FY2010:
- HOT lanes connections - Design and construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities to provide connections from the HOT Lanes project limits to existing sidewalks and trails. Total Cost $1,775,000, amount requested $1,000,000, awarded $500,000
- Mason Neck Trail - Construction of a paved multi-use trail to provide non-motorized access to the historic, environmental and recreational resources of several regional and state parks. Total Cost $1,920,367, amount requested $401,436, awarded $115,500
- Civil War bike map - Design and printing of a bicycle map identifying sites of local, state, and national Civil War significance. Installation of wayfinding signs and interpretive markers at historic sites having significance to the community. Total Cost $130,000, amount requested $104,000, awarded $104,000
- Cross County Trail - Design and construction of a multi-use trail between Occoquan Regional Park and the Laurel Hill Greenway. Total Cost $2,328,841, amount requested $1,000,000, awarded $250,000
2009 Final Enhancement Allocations (FY10) (see page 14 for Fairfax County).
FABB PROVIDES BIKE VALET SERVICE AT RESTON FESTIVAL
Approximately 125 people parked their bikes at the free bike valet parking provided by FABB at the Reston Festival on July 11&12. Cyclists were very enthusiastic about the service. They could leave their bikes and wander the festival. The parking was located inside a vacant retail space next to The Bike Lane. Thanks to Boston Properties for making the space available and to The Bike Lane and bikes@vienna for their support. Thanks also to WABA for providing the valet parking supplies. And thanks to the Reston Festival for supporting FABB and WABA and promoting biking to the festival.
BICYCLING AND HEALTH
As the health care reform debate continues in the U.S., it has become clear there are many ways we can reduce the cost of health care. One way is through regular exercise. It is estimated we spend $147 billion a year treating the obese. That is the finding of a recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control entitled Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: "obesity rates increased by 37 percent between 1998 and 2006 (from 18.3 percent to 25.1 percent of the population)."
Also from that report, "although health reform may be necessary to address health inequities and rein in rising health spending, real savings are more likely to be achieved through reforms that reduce the prevalence of obesity and related risk factors, including poor diet and inactivity. These reforms will require policy and environmental changes that extend far beyond what can be achieved through changes in health care financing and delivery."
What environmental changes are needed? The CDC provided some guidance in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published recently entitled Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States. The report lists specific recommendations for preventing obesity. Number 17 is Communities Should Enhance Infrastructure Supporting Bicycling: "Longitudinal intervention studies have demonstrated that improving bicycling infrastructure is associated with increased frequency of bicycling. Cross-sectional studies indicated a significant association between bicycling infrastructure and frequency of biking."
See the FABB blog for details of both reports: http://www.fabb-bikes.org/blog/2009/07/how-to-fight-obesity-ride-bike.html
BIKE HELMET GIVEAWAY
On Saturday August 15th, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) held a successful Bike Helmet Giveaway program at Barcroft Plaza Apartments, Falls Church, for children, ages twelve and under. The helmets were funded through the 2009 Bike Smart Virginia Bicycle Helmet/Rodeo Mini Grant program paid for by the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Injury and Violence Prevention. The mini-grant provides up to $1000 for the purchase of bicycle helmets.
Before getting their new bike helmet, the children looked at bike safety information and answered bike safety questions. Jeff Hermann of the FCDOT then fitted each of the children with a size-appropriate Bell helmet before sending the excited children on their way. The helmets were enthusiastically received by the recipients.
- September 8, Tuesday - Mt Vernon Community Citizen's Association Transportation Committee meeting to discuss Route 1 profile.
- September 16, Wednesday - FABB monthly meeting
- September 22, Tuesday - Car Free Day*
- October 17, Saturday - Bike DC is back*
*See 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. If you would like to unsubscribe to the newsletter, send a message to .