SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER FABB NEWSA periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
- County Bicycle Master Plan Development Process Begins
- Wakefield Chapel Bike Lanes
- Draft Virginia Bicycle Policy Plan Released
- Lawyers Rd Bike Lane Survey
- FABB Advocates Guide
- Wakefield Bridge Construction
- Telegraph Road Project - S Van Dorn to S Kings Hwy
- Upcoming Events
COUNTY BICYCLE MASTER PLAN DEVELOPMENT PROCESS BEGINS
One of FABB's main goals has been to get Fairfax County to prepare a bicycle master plan, which will provide a roadmap for bicycle facilities in the future. A two-phase planning process is now underway. The first phase is to develop a comprehensive plan for bicycle facilities to guide redevelopment there.
The kickoff meeting for the Tysons advisory committee was August 3. Two public meetings are planned to allow cyclists to weigh in on the process. The first public meeting is planned for early October. During this process the county will host a web page devoted to the planning effort with information about meetings, progress reports, maps, and other related information. The next advisory committee is on September 8.
The second phase will extend the plan from Tysons to the entire county. It is fully funded and will begin after the completion of the Tysons plan. This is a major landmark for bicyclists in Fairfax. It will be the first bicycle plan for the county. Prioritized project recommendations included in the plan will guide the development of bicycle facilities in the future.
Now it's up to Fairfax cyclists to help. We'll announce the dates for the public meetings in the near future on the FABB blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. More information should also appear soon at the County bike program page.
WAKEFIELD CHAPEL BIKE LANES
As part of a traffic calming project, VDOT recently striped bike lanes on Wakefield Chapel Road. The lanes extend from just north of the intersection with Braddock Rd to Pulley Ct. The two-lane road is used by many cyclists. The southern end of the road at Braddock Rd is narrow with limited VDOT right of way. A small section at the north end has similar issues. Before the project, travel lanes were wide and many motorists exceeded the speed limit. With the bike lanes in place, the travel lanes are narrower which should slow traffic. Unfortunately, where the lanes are needed the most, at the southern and northern ends, there is not enough pavement or right of way to easily add bike lanes.
Parking is allowed along sections of the road and in some areas the new bike lanes are located much too close to parked cars. Cyclists riding in the bike lane at these locations would be in the door zone and could be seriously injured. In these locations shared lane markings might have been a more appropriate alternative treatment. We hope shared lane markings will be placed at the southern and northern sections to guide cyclists and motorists. Read the FABB blog entry on the project.
DRAFT VIRGINIA BICYCLE POLICY PLAN RELEASED
VDOT recently released the Draft State Bicycle Policy Plan. The Plan is intended to strengthen implementation of the 2004 Policy for Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations. The Plan will go a long way toward making Virginia more bicycle-friendly. We applaud the effort that has gone into producing the draft plan and recommendations and we look forward to its implementation throughout the Commonwealth.
Recommendations from the VA State Bicycle Policy Plan that we strongly support and that could have a major impact on future bicycle facilities include:
- Semi-annual review the bike policy implementation (Action 1.2b)
- Allowing narrow travel lanes (down to 10 feet) to provide space for bike lanes (Action 1.3a). This is currently done in Arlington Co. and elsewhere with little impact on road capacity.
- Reviewing lane widths and capacity during new construction, reconstruction and resurfacing projects to provide space for bicyclists (Road Diets, Action 1.3b). This could lead to more projects similar to the one that created the Lawyers Rd. bike lanes.
- Improving routine maintenance by VDOT of state-maintained bicycle routes, shared use paths, paved shoulders, bicycle lanes, and other existing bicycle facilities (Action 1.7c).
- Better use of shoulder paving funds (Action 1.8a).
FABB will be submitting detailed comments to VDOT. We have the following general comments:
- Each VDOT District should have a bicycle advisory committee. This will improve communication between VDOT and area bicyclists and give bicyclists an opportunity to provide feedback on current problems and planned projects.
- VDOT should provide recommendations on bike parking and shower and changing facilities at buildings owned or occupied by the Commonwealth of Virginia. VDOT should also encourage use of bicycles by state employees to be a model for businesses and other organizations.
- VDOT should encourage more people to use bicycles for short trips by providing public service announcements, fact sheets, and other encouragement materials.
- VDOT should track and make better use of the 2% of maintenance funds dedicated to providing paved shoulders for bicyclists. Two-foot shoulders are not sufficient for bicycle travel. The minimum should be increased to three feet, with four feet being the preferred width.
LAWYERS RD BIKE LANE SURVEY
A year ago bike lanes were striped on Lawyers Road in Reston. The road was modified from four travel lanes to two travel lanes, two bike lanes, and a center turn lane, in what is known as a "road diet." VDOT is gathering statistics about safety and traffic volumes before and after the project. If you're familiar with the road, you can tell VDOT what you think about the project by filling out an online survey on Lawyers Road bike lanes.
FABB ADVOCATES GUIDE
FABB recently published the Guide for Reviewing Public Road Design and Bicycling Accommodations for Virginia Bicycle Advocates by Fionnuala Quinn and Bruce Wright. From our press release, "Virginia bicycling advocates have a new resource to help them review and comment on public road projects. The new guide, prepared by FABB in consultation with the VDOT and Fairfax County departments of transportation, outlines ways bicycling proponents can get involved in the process of designing, approving, building, and retrofitting roads to ensure that bicycling accommodations are integrated into the plans where needed.
"Readers will find helpful tips for speaking at public hearings and meeting with engineers. The easy to read booklet covers the basics of understanding engineering plans and also outlines various roadway features (such as intersections, roundabouts, wide curb lanes, and bike lanes) that could be shown in the plans. Design standards and guidelines, design and safety issues, and a checklist for each of these features help advocates review and comment on road design plans." Download a copy of the guide order a printed version at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAKEFIELD BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION
Due to construction of the I-495/Beltway HOT lanes, the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over the Beltway at Wakefield Park was recently closed without any prior public notice or a detour provided. The bridge is being lengthened and the temporary access route was deemed to be unacceptable. After further review, and a meeting with Fairfax County staff, the bridge is now open.
According to a VDOT press release "Construction crews are continuing to work on raising the bridge and building a permanent access ramp. On or about September 13 the bridge will be closed for approximately 4 days to safely raise the structure and reposition the temporary ramp structure. Once the temporary ramp structure is repositioned the bridge will reopen to users with the permanent access ramp scheduled for completion and ready for service on October 10, 2010." Before closing the bridge again we are urging VDOT to provide sufficient notice in English and Spanish to cyclists. See the FABB Facebook page for more info and photos.
TELEGRAPH ROAD PROJECT - S VAN DORN TO S KINGS HWY
VDOT is planning to modify a short section of Telegraph Rd just north of Huntley Meadows Park near Ft. Belvoir. This part of Telegraph Rd, from S Van Dorn St to S Kings Hwy, is a narrow, congested two-lane road. It is now part of U.S. Bicycle Route 1. See also the Adventure Cycling U.S. Bicycle Route page.
VDOT plans to modify the two-lane section by adding several new turn lanes, bike lanes, a shared use path on one side and a sidewalk on the other. With two busy roads on either end of the project, there are many turning movements and safely routing bike lanes through traffic will be a challenge. See the VDOT Telegraph Rd project web page.
A public hearing will be held on September 23 from 5-8 p.m. at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria, 22315. Area cyclists are encouraged to attend the public hearing and support the proposal to make Telegraph Road more bike-friendly. FABB supports five-foot bike lanes and wider turn lanes. See the FABB blog for a map and more info.
WABA Annual Business Meeting - September 9, Thursday, 6:30-8:30pm at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church. RSVP.
FABB monthly meeting - September 15, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue East Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail.
Car Free Day DC - September 22, Wednesday, 11:30-1:30 at Crystal City location of Capital Bikeshare.
Telegraph Road Public Hearing - September 23, Thursday, 5-8 p.m. at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria, 22315
50 States & 13 Colonies Ride - September 25, Saturday.
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.