SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2011 FABB News

A periodic publication of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling
Contents

County Bicycle Master Plan seeking citizen input

As part of the countywide bike master plan process, Fairfax County will hold a series of meetings to hear from local cyclists. Cyclists of all ages and abilities need to let the County know what bike improvements are needed in your area, including facilities such as bike lanes, signed bike routes, and bike parking. The County also wants to identify potential connections or shortcuts for cyclists that may not be well known and to identify “pinch points” that are discouraging cyclists from using otherwise acceptable routes. This is your chance to add your local knowledge and to contribute your ideas to the plan for the coming years.  Please try to attend one or more of the meetings so that your suggestions and wishes can be added to the planning process.

The County is divided into 8 planning areas and the meetings will be held in those areas. The first meeting will focus on the Clifton area and is being scheduled for mid to late September. Check the FABB website or the schedule page of the master plan website for more information.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS)

FABB is part of a Safe Routes to School working group convened by Fairfax County to encourage more kids to walk and bike to school. The group is planning activities forInternational Walk and Bike to School Day on Wednesday October 5. The group is also developing a better process for applying for Safe Routes to School funding from VDOT. If you are interested in seeing more school children walk or bike to school, visit and “Like” the Safe Routes to School - Fairfax County Facebook page, where you can follow what is going on locally. See the International Walk and Bike to School Day VA events page for a list of local events. You can also register your event on that site.

Regional Call to Action Summit planned for November 3

WABA will be holding a regional bike summit in November. Prior to the summit WABA will conduct 6 pre-meetings to gather information about what cyclists think are the short, medium, and long range goals that will improve bicycling in their jurisdiction. The Fairfax pre-meeting is October 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry library. Cyclist input will be used by WABA to develop a five-year plan of regional and local priorities for bicycling in the Washington region. The plan will be presented at the Regional Call to Action Summit on November 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Waterview Conference Center, 1919 N Lynn St, Arlington, VA 22209. The summit will also include sessions on Metro's long-term bicycle and pedestrian plans, health planning and bicycles, a panel discussion on the economics of the bicycle industry and much more.

VDOT bicycle advisory group

We have asked VDOT to establish a Northern Virginia (NoVa) District bicycle advisory committee (BAC) to enhance communication between VDOT and the local bicycling community. We are drafting a letter of support to VDOT and asking all of the bicycle advocacy groups in NoVa District jurisdictions to sign on to the letter of support for this request. This includes groups in the following areas: Arlington Co., City of Alexandria, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, Fairfax Co. (incuding the towns of Herndon and Vienna), Prince William Co. and Loudoun Co. A VDOT NoVA BAC could help focus VDOT's bicycle programs strategic priorities, provide local agency and citizen guidance and assistance on specific projects, and vastly improve communication between VDOT staff and the bicycling community.

Virginia Bicycling Federation 2012 legislative agenda

Virginia Bicycling Federation (VBF) recently held a conference call with bicycle advocates around the state to discuss the upcoming legislative session. VBF is working on getting the three-foot passing bill introduced again this year. Last year the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0 but was narrowly defeated in the House. With many delegates up for re-election this year, changes in Richmond could affect passage of the bill.

VBF also plans to pursue a change to the “following too closely” code (46.2-816) to include bicyclists. It would modify the code so that drivers of motor vehicles shall not follow a bicycle “more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vehicles and the traffic on, and conditions of, the highway at the time.” Cyclists riding in a paceline would not be included.

VBF also discussed a new bill that would place a statutory burden on drivers to exercise due care around bicyclists and pedestrians. Many states have adopted this language. A 2007 Virginia Transportation Research Council report (p. 54) recommended that Virginia code be modified to include this provision. During the legislative session we will notify cyclists when to contact your legislator to show support for these proposals.  It is critical that legislators hear from constituents so we always appreciate your assistance on this. Follow the VBF blog during the session for the latest info.

VDOT State bike coordinator position filled

In July of this year John Bolecek was hired as the new VDOT state bicycle coordinator. John came from the US Department of Transportation. He's a University of Virginia graduate who is the author of Local Planning and Promotion of Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations: A Review and Analysis of Virginia Government Efforts. We're excited that John will be working to make Virginia a more bicycle-friendly place, and that the Draft State Bicycling Policy Plan and the State Bicycle Advisory Committee will be revived.

We recently hosted a brief tour of parts of Fairfax County for John and Zack Fields of Congressman Connolly’s office. A small group of FABB members met John and Zack in Vienna and cycled into Tysons to Gallows Rd where bike lanes are planned later this year, along the new bridges over the Beltway on Oak St and the W&OD Trail, to the Dunn Loring Metro station where we dropped off Zack, and back to Vienna. It was a great chance to meet and talk with John and Zack and discuss current bike-related issues in Fairfax.

FABB FACT

The majority of bike crashes involve a bicyclist falling (50%). Another leading cause of crashes involves a cyclist running into something other than a car (33%). Only 17% of crashes involve a bicycle and a motor vehicle. Source: League of American Bicyclists.

Events

September 21, Wednesday - FABB monthly meetingat 7:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue E., Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail. All are welcome. For more information contact Bruce Wright at chairman@fabb-bikes.org.

September 22, Thursday - Car Free Day

September 24, Saturday - Moving the Planet Day, sponsored by the Sierra Club, to promote alternative transportation. See the Moving Planet event page for more info.

Mid- to late September - Bicycle master plan Clifton area meeting. Location and date TBD. See the project website schedule page for more information.

October 5, Wednesday - International Walk and Bike to School Day. Why not organize a walk and bike to school event at your local school? See the International Walk and Bike to School Day VA events page for more info and to register your event.

October 17, Monday - Fairfax pre-meeting for WABA’s Regional Call to Action Summit from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Avenue E., Vienna, VA near the W&OD Trail.

November 3, Thursday - WABA’s Regional Call to Action Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Waterview Conference Center, 1919 N Lynn St, Arlington, VA 22209.


Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling is a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, aiming to make bicycling an integral part of Fairfax County's transportation network. Visit us on the web at , on Facebook and on Twitter. 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. Donations to FABB are tax deductible. If you would like to support our advocacy work in Fairfax, you can donate by sending a check made out to WABA/FABB to WABA, 2599 Ontario Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20009 or donate online