Written by Sonya Breehey. Sonya is an active member of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling. concept plans for an extension of the Custis Trail along I-66 outside the Beltway in Fairfax and Prince William Counties. Hundreds of Fairfax County trail users contacted VDOT asking for the trail extension as part of the I-66 project. While it is exciting to see the trail one step closer to reality, VDOT still has not included the trail as part of the I-66 project. VDOT is asking for additional feedback on how the parallel trail will benefit you, your commute, and your neighborhood. The Custis Trail is one of the most successful bike trails in Northern Virginia, providing a popular recreation destination and critical bike-commuting route for thousands of commuters each year. In 2014, over 500,000 people rode a bike or walked along the Custis Trail. A similar trail outside the Beltway would be a major benefit to bicyclists in Northern Virginia. A recent study showed that 25% of Fairfax County residents live within a mile of the proposed I-66 trail or within 1/2 mile of either the Fairfax Co Parkway or W&OD Trails, both of which would be connected by an extended Custis Trail. While there are right-of-way concerns and some backyards may be impacted, similar challenges were faced when building the Custis Trail. VDOT should seek to reduce the impacts by fitting as much of the trail within the existing project right-of-way and minimize impacts to neighbors. Now is the time to take the long view. Providing safe accessible connections for people to bike and walk to transit, and along and across I-66, will offer residents and commuters transportation options that enable us to shift more trips to biking and walking. If you want the I-66 trail to be a reality, here is how you can help. Speak Up at an Upcoming I-66 Public Hearings Attend one of the I-66 Public Hearings and tell VDOT you support bicycle improvements, especially extending the Custis Trail, as part of the I-66 improvement project. Hearings are scheduled from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. Wednesday, May 27, 2015 VDOT Northern Virginia District Office 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 Thursday, May 28, 2015 Oakton High School – Cafeteria 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181 Tuesday, June 2, 2015 Battlefield High School – Cafeteria 15000 Graduation Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169 Wednesday, June 3, 2015 Bull Run Elementary School – Cafeteria 15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121 Send a Message to VDOT Written comments may be submitted through June 18th by mail to Ms. Susan Shaw, Megaprojects Director, at the VDOT District Office address above, or by email to Transform66@VDOT.Virginia.gov. Reference “Transform 66 Outside the Beltway” in the subject line. Copy your public representatives on your email to make sure everyone gets your message for better bicycling! Don’t wait until June 18th, send your comments now. Involve Your Neighborhood Association Contact your neighborhood association to let them know how improving bicycling as part of the I-66 project will help your neighborhood, and urge them to get involved. Visit FABB’s I-66 page for more information about efforts to include bicycling in the I-66 project.The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently unveiled
Fairfax County recently announced that several major roads in Tysons could soon have bike infrastructure as part of the county’s summer repaving schedule. We need you to speak up for biking at a public meeting on Monday, March 16 at Westbriar Elementary School from 7-9 p.m. Here is the proposed new bike infrastructure:
- Greensboro Dr. – Road diet from Spring Hill Rd. to Solutions Dr.
- Tyco Rd. – Road diet from Route 7 to Spring Hill Rd.
- Westbranch Dr, – Road diet from Westpark Dr. to Jones Branch Dr.
- Jones Branch Dr. – Climbing lane from International Dr. to Westpark Dr.
- Spring Hill Rd. – Combination of bike lanes/sharrows from Route 7 to International Dr.
- Westwood Center Dr. – Sharrows from Route 7 to the end of the road
proposed Bike Master Plan contains recommendations for developing a comprehensive bicycle network. It also includes guidelines for bike-friendly programs and policies. The plan vision is “Meeting the safety, access, and mobility needs of bicyclists today, while encouraging more people to bicycle in the future…making Fairfax County bicycle friendly and bicycle safe.” Without a master plan, Fairfax County Department of Transportation has fallen behind in implementing bicycling improvements. The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the county’s Bicycle Master Plan (Phase II) on Wednesday, October 1 at 8:15 p.m. There needs to be a strong showing by residents who support the plan. Please consider attending the public hearing to show your support for the plan. Details about the October 1st hearing can be found online here. You can sign up to testify at the Planning Commission using this form. The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on October 28. Look for another WABA email alert prior to that hearing. We are also asking cyclists to sign the FABB Bicycle Master Plan petition urging the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to approve the plan. This petition is from the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist AssociationFairfax County currently does not have a bike master plan. And that’s not good. The
Pete Beers is one of our part-time bike ambassadors. Pete lives in Virginia and spends a lot of time biking in D.C.’s suburbs and, as a BA, has worked tirelessly to make getting around WABA’s suburban jurisdictions by bike easier and more accessible. Recently, Pete led a holiday shopping trip by bike to Tyson’s Corner and the Mosaic District in conjunction with Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling. We’re reposting his account of the day–which was, by all accounts, exceedingly enjoyable–on our blog. You can read Pete’s blog, I Love My Commute, here. The best response that I got when I proposed this ride was “Ho Ho NO. I’ll follow you to Certain Death, Pete, but not to Tyson’s Corner (a fate worse than . . . ).” I think many people dread crowds and parking problems associated with holiday shopping at the mall the week before Christmas. The mall can get a bit crazy this time of year. My goal was to make it fun. I did this by getting there by bicycle and by bringing along as many friends as I could. I’ve also wanted to share how amazingly easy it is to ride to Tyson’s Corner by bicycle. That was the genesis of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) / Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) Holiday Shopping Ride. Both FABB and WABA are all about showing people that it is easy to live by bicycle.
Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development, that examines the challenges of transforming low-density suburban areas into more compact, transit-oriented, mixed-use developments. The ULI report looks at rebuilding existing suburban infrastructure (primarily transportation infrastructure) in order to support more compact development. Over the next 30 years, the U.S. is expected to grow by 90 million people. The majority of that growth is expected to occur outside urban cores. Many young workers are choosing to live in more urban places with multiple transportation options, like walking, biking, and transit. In order to become competitive, some suburban communities want to be less car-dominated and more walkable and bikeable. Different types of suburban development lend themselves to different redevelopment strategies. Included in the ULI report are models of suburban mall retrofits, suburban transit-oriented development, suburban arterials or commercial corridors, wholesale or large-scale suburban transformation, and suburban town centers. All are present in Fairfax County—respectively, Springfield Mall; Merrifield; Routes 1, 7, and 50; Tysons; and Reston Town Center and Merrifield. Retrofitting suburban arterials such as Routes 1, 7, 50, and 123 is a major challenge. Such roads are often traffic-clogged and serviced only by infrequent and slow-moving bus service. Because of outdated zoning regulations, the only development that can occur is located low-density retail and commercial businesses immediately adjacent to the road. High-capacity highways like the Beltway, I-66, I-95, and the Dulles Toll Road also create barriers to dense development. Redevelopment needs to occur while being sensitive to the concerns of residents in nearby residential neighborhoods, or it won’t happen. The Ballston corridor is an example of high-density development existing near low-density residential development. Fortunately, there are considerable transit connections to these neighborhoods. But there are no easy solutions to reorganizing inner-ring suburbs for an expanding population. Changing a culture and landscape dependant on cars for mobility is a tremendous challenge. There is also a risk of creating islands of mixed-use communities in a sea of sprawl, which can only be accessed by wide, dangerous roads. Eight examples of suburban redevelopment are documented in the ULI report, including White Flint/Rockville Pike in Montgomery County. Here are some takeaways from reading about it and other case studies:The Urban Land Institute recently published a new report,
- There is a significant last mile problem in trying to connect low-density suburban sprawl with mixed-use development centers. Unless walkable and bikeable transit-oriented suburban developments are connected to surrounding low-density areas by transit and safe, convenient, non-motor options, people will continue to drive for most local trips.
- The importance of bicycling as a way to overcome the last mile problem is not discussed in the report. Bicycles can be a viable solution for accessing new developments from areas within 2-3 miles. ULI’s report treats cycling as an afterthought, such as when it describes a development as bike-friendly there are 35 bike racks. In sum, bicycling is briefly mentioned as a way to connect to transit but not as a viable mode in and of itself.
- One advantage to wide, suburban arterials is that there is room to add options other than moving cars, like dedicated bus and bike lanes, physically separated cycletracks, bus rapid transit lanes, and streetcars.
NEXT SATURDAY, June 16th, The New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Ale, and WABA are hosting the biggest, most fanciful, bicycle celebration of all time. And for the first time ever it’s coming to DC! We’re going to celebrate bikes, make some new friends, and sip on a couple of cold, Rocky Mountain barley pops–all in the name of local bike advocacy! The Tour de Fat benefits WABA, MORE (Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts), Black Women Bike DC, and FABB (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling). Before the big day we want to make sure you know all the event details so that you and your friends come prepared, because a) you can’t miss this, and b) you must come prepared.
Vital DetailsWHEN: Saturday, June 16th, 9am – 4pm WHERE: The Yards Park COST: FREE with $5 suggested donation REGISTRATION: on-site
SCHEDULE: 9:00am – Parade Registration 9:00am – Free Bike Valet 10:00am – Bike Parade 11:00am – Main Stage 12:00pm – Slide Show 12:00pm – Slow Ride 1:30pm – Bike Trade 3:30pm – De Finale!
How to Get to the Tour de FatWITH OLD FRIENDS: By bicycle, of course! The Yards park is located at 10 Water St. SE, Washington, DC near the National’s Stadium. . For those traveling from far and away, it is advised that you find parking far from Yards Park. Parking in the area will be extremely limited due to the Yankees/National’s baseball game. WITH NEW FRIENDS: A number of local shops and organizations are leading convoy rides down to the park. We will update this list as convoy information becomes available. – Alexandria BPAC: One-way group ride departing at 8:30am at St. Elmo’s (2300 Mt Vernon Ave, 22301) RSVP to Bruce Dwyer, email@example.com
What to wearFor those who’ve never participated, this is indeed a COSTUME AFFAIR. Costumes are enthusiastically encouraged!! For some inspiration, check out this montage of photos from Tour de Fat’s of yore.
What to expectThe time of your life PARADE: We will show off our rides and our bike pride by taking a short and slow cruise along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail FREE BIKE VALET:No need to bring your heavy U-lock, the folks at MORE are providing safe and secure bike parking all day long. MUSIC: Featuring Mucca Pazza, Ian Cooke, and Yo-Yo People GAMES: We don’t want to giveaway all the surprises, but we heard for one of the games, New Belgium’s creative genius’ constructed life-size Jenga. Yes, life-size. BIKE PIT: Imagine if instead of creating candy, Willy Wonka created bicycles. PERFORMANCES: Le Tigre’s whimsical ways will woo us all day long.
How to prepareStart mixing up your papier-mâché pulp, pull out that tutu from your college years, give your bike a quick tune-up, and invite your friends to the biggest bike festival DC has ever seen.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) regional network is ending the year with several major successes in Fairfax County. After convening a special SRTS working group within Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Transportation and Safety division in June, FCPS has agreed to several initiatives that will highlight SRTS activities and increase the numbers of students walking or biking to school everyday. FCPS will add SRTS specific language to their “Golden Wellness Award” scorecard, which is used to determine how closely the individual schools are implementing the FCPS Health and Wellness Policy. This sought after award will now include specific recommended activities, like Walking Wednesdays, Bike Trains, Walking School Buses, participation in International Walk to School Day (IWTSD) as well as Bike to School Day. In addition, delivery of bicycle and pedestrian safety education at the individual school will be a required element in order to win the award. The schools system’s 95210 A Day (9 hours of sleep, 5 fruits and vegetables, less than 2 hours of screen time, at least 1 hour of exercise and 0 sugary drinks) will be updated to include walking or bicycling to school as a suggested activity to get to the 1 hour daily activity goal. FCPS has also agreed to create and host a SRTS focused webpage with resources for school administrators, parents, community champions and children who would like to see more SRTS activities at their school. This site will include policy, curriculum standards and sample lesson plans, state and local contacts, grant application resources, sample newsletter articles and resources for planning walking and bicycling events. FCPS will also prepare scripts and create videos specifically geared to youth bicycling and safe pedestrian practices for the Fairfax County public access television channels as well as the internal FCPS channels. An annual survey of schools will be continued (modeled after the first one in May 2011) in order to adequately account for how every student is transported to and from school. Counts will be made of bus riders, walkers, kiss and ride users as well as data collected comparing those numbers to the assigned mode. The survey in May proved invaluable, allowing us to create a list of the top ten schools where with a little encouragement, FCPS could see an increase in the numbers of students walking or bicycling to school, thereby alleviating the extreme traffic jams due to the kiss and ride queues. Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) is contemplating creating a “Green Transit” award for the top schools in Fairfax Co who increase their assigned mode numbers, whether it is by bus transportation or walking or bicycling. A survey of the 27 schools who participated in IWTSD will also be completed to determine their strategies, success and participation rate. FCPS officials also committed to working in tandem with Fairfax County transportation planners to submit an application for a SRTS non-infrastructure grant in the spring and also agreed to begin the process of determining which school locations would most benefit from an infrastructure grant, when the application is revised and those grant opportunities announced. The FCPS SRTS Working Group will continue to meet quarterly throughout 2012 to update partners on progress, monitor initiatives and strategize for system wide events, including Bike to School Day (in conjunction with Bike to Work Day) in May and International Walk to School Day in October. Author’s Note: This article inadvertently left out those on our Fairfax County SRTS Task Force who have worked tremendously hard to achieve this progress in the County. Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), Trails for Youth as well as Wolf Trap Elementary parent, Jeff Anderson and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Advisory Committee member Jenifer Joy Madden were central to this effort.
It turns out that the fastest way to get to the Reston Town Center from the neighborhood near South Lakes Highs School, about 3 miles away, is to ride a bicycle. Bruce Wright of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) made the trip in just over 13 minutes. Another bicyclist who took the same route but rode at an easier pace, Kerie Hitt, also of FABB, arrived next 3 and a half minutes later. Delegate Ken Plum’s trip in his hybrid car took him 19 minutes. Taking the long route with a ride through Hunter’s Woods Village Center on her way to the Town Center was Reston Association President and School Board candidate Kathleen Driscoll McKee. She had a leisurely trip of 50 minutes. “This was a good simulation that demonstrates real alternatives to the automobile for short trips in Reston and the rest of our community” noted Delegate Plum. He also said that short car trips are the least efficient, even for his hybrid car, which only averaged 30 mpg on the 3 mile trip. The group was met at the Pavilion by Supervisor Cathy Hudgins who is a long-time supporter of transportation alternatives for Hunter Mill District residents. She has supported Bike to Work Day in Reston from the beginning in 2002. The last several years she has appeared at the event on her folding bike. Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20. The Reston event will be held at the Town Center Pavilion. Susan Stillman, who is a member of the Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee and a FABB member, rode from Vienna to greet the group at the Pavilion and to congratulate Bruce. According to Bruce, “Riding a bike for transportation is a viable option for many people. What we showed today is that bicycling and driving travel times are very comparable for short trips, and bicycling costs much less and is better for the environment. I didn’t use any foreign oil on the trip.” While RA President Driscoll McKee had the longest trip, she noted that the RIBS 2 bus was nearly full during the trip. The fare was $1.50. As a bus rider she could read, check her email, or otherwise make productive use of her time. To schedule her trip we used WMATA’s Trip Planner, entering an origin, destination, and either arrival or departure time and selecting from the options. When Metrorail arrives in Reston local bus routes will be modified to provide more frequent service for accessing the Wiehle and Reston Parkway stations, making them a much more attractive alternative to driving and paying to park. See coverage of the event on the Reston Patch, including a video segment.
Bruce Wright is a member of the WABA Board of Directors and Chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), a sponsored project of WABA advocating for improved cycling in Fairfax County, VA.
–This entry cross-posted with the FABB Blog at fabb-bikes.blogspot.com– Most of us who travel by bike know that for short trips riding a bike is often faster than driving, especially when you consider the time it takes to park and walk to your destination. We also know that our travel time is fairly consistent. Motorists usually have to allow extra time to account for possible congestion, wrecks, parking problems, etc. To prove that bicycling is a good option for short trips we’ve challenged some local officials to compare travel time for bike/car/bus for a 3 mile trip to the Reston Town Center. Starting near South Lakes HS I will be bicycling on roads and trails. Delegate Ken Plum will drive his hybrid car, and Kathleen Driscoll McKee will take the bus. We’ll compare travel times and we’ll compare the cost of the trips, including the direct cost of the trip (breakfast for me, gas for Del. Plum, and bus fare for Ms. McKee), the cost of annual maintenance (bike/car), and other indirect costs such as “free” parking and air pollution. See our news release, below, for more info: Bike/Car/Bus Challenge to be held on Monday, May 2, 2011 Reston, VA, April 26, 2011 – Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20 at the Reston Town Center Pavilion. To promote traveling by bicycle, on Monday, May 2, several residents of Reston are holding a bike/car/bus commute challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to compare the cost and travel time of the three modes during a typical short commute within Reston. For short trips, bicycle travel time compares favorably to car and bus travel times, and the cost of the trip is much less. National surveys indicate that nearly 50 percent of all trips are 3 miles or less. The event will begin at 8:15 a.m. on May 2 and will last approximately an hour. The participants will leave from Cobblestone Lane in south Reston and travel to the Reston Town Center Pavilion, slightly more than 3 miles away. Each participant will be timed. The motorist must park in long term parking, as if he is going to be working at the Town Center for the day, and walk to the Pavilion. The bicyclist must also park and lock his bike and walk to the Pavilion. The bus rider’s time includes walking to and from the bus stop. People can choose their own route and must obey traffic rules. Bruce Wright, Chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, will ride his bicycle, Del. Ken Plum will drive his hybrid car, and Reston Association President Kathleen Driscoll McKee will ride the bus. “I’m confident I can get to the Town Center before Ken and Kathleen. On a bicycle I’m not affected as much by congestion on the road,” said Bruce. “Plus, I’ll have fun, save money, and get a workout at the same time.” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins has been invited to meet everyone at the Town Center. The cost of maintaining a bike is around $200/year. By comparison AAA estimates that the cost of maintaining a car is about $8,000/year, more than most people spend on clothing, health care and entertainment combined. Driving also has many indirect costs as well. Nationwide, motorist user fees pay for about half the cost of building and maintaining roads. All of us pay for the rest of the cost. Most of us also pay for “free” parking by paying higher prices for goods and services. The cost of one structured car parking space is around $15,000. The cost of a bicycle rack is approximately $300 installed. Transit costs are more difficult to quantify, varying by type and usage. Bruce Wright is a member of the WABA Board of Directors and Chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), a sponsored project of WABA advocating for improved cycling in Fairfax County, VA.
When you bike at night /Cuando andas en bicicleta en la oscuridad… Got Lights?/¿Tienen Luces? FREE Lights for cyclists/Luces para bicicleta GRATIS You must bring a bicycle to get a free set of lights./Tiene que traer bicicleta para obtener un par de luces gratis. Mon/Lunes – November 22 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm St. Anthony’s Catholic Church 3305 Glen Carlyn Road Falls Church, VA 22041 View Larger Map Sponsored by/patrocinado por: Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), Transurban, and Fluor.