Bicycling in the region is so challenging and fun in part because the bike infrastructure can change so quickly. Fairfax residents recently had the opportunity to appreciate and experience just how unpredictable biking can be on our first Community Ride in the county. Specifically, WABA was asked by Connections at MetroWest to conduct a ride that started and ended at the community center on their property next to the Vienna Metrorail Station. The purpose of the ride was to show the community how easy and fun it is to get around by bicycle. Fourteen folks showed up for the ride with a variety of bikes and experience levels. The age of the participants–as well as the number of months since they last rode a bike–ranged greatly from 9 – 75. After everyone was checked in and the waivers were signed, a few of WABA’s excellent, experienced educators (all of them certified as League Cycling Instructors) reviewed helmet-fit, explained how and why to do pre-ride bike checks, and gave out tips for riding in a group. Finally, it was time to set off and explore the community. The first stop was Nottoway Park, a beautiful stretch of green space in Vienna with walking trails and a variety of courts and fields for games. As soon as we passed the park, a few participants in the ride stated, “I had no idea this was so close, and so easy to get to.” We proceeded to climb Tapawingo road, demonstrating how to ride outside of the “door zone” simply by riding in the middle of the lane. Once the group crested the hill, we wended our way through the neighborhood to get to the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail. Before riding on the trail, the group reviewed proper trail etiquette such as riding single-file, staying to the right, slowing down and giving ample space when passing slower moving trail users. We also stressed the need to plan ahead for the most unpredictable users of the trail: pets, children, and wildlife. After our time on the trail, we made our way back to our starting point where delicious cookies and water, generously provided by Connections at MetroWest were waiting for us. WABA’s Community Rides are intentionally not fast or lengthy. On this ride, we covered 5.5 miles in about 90 minutes. These rides are specifically designed to explore communities, give riders the opportunity to become more familiar with riding, and to connect them more closely with their neighborhoods (and neighbors!). Big thanks to the team at Connections at MetroWest for providing this opportunity, we can’t wait to go for another ride! Would you like to explore your region by bike? Then come and ride with WABA.
There are a few big projects in Fairfax County that we’re working on this month that you should know about:
The I-66 TrailThanks to the hard work of a number of advocates, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is extending the Custis Trail from Dunn Loring to Centreville as part of the Transform I-66 project, but the designs we’ve seen don’t look good. In many sections, the trail is squeezed between the highway and the sound barrier, which limits access and makes for an extremely unpleasant trail experience. VDOT needs to hear that this design is not good enough. The agency is hosting three meetings next week, if you’d like to tell the project managers that the design needs to be improved. Monday, June 12, 2017 6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session. Oakton High School Cafeteria 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181 Wednesday, June 14, 2017 6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session. Stone Middle School Cafeteria 5500 Sully Park Drive, Centreville, VA 20120 Thursday, June 15, 2017 6-8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A session. Piney Branch Elementary School Cafeteria/Gym 8301 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136 You can find more information about the Transform I-66 project here.
Support Bike Lanes on Rose Hill Drive:Despite having almost no impact on parking or existing travel lanes, the County has received vocal pushback to proposed bike lanes on Rose Hill Drive. The comment period is open until June 19, so share your support for bike lanes in Fairfax today: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/bike/rosehillbikelanes2017.htm
Also some good news: Have you seen Fairfax County’s new bike map?You can obtain a free copy of the print version of this map at a variety of locations around the County, or you can see the online version here. You can provide feedback, too! If you have input or feedback on the map, give the bike team a call at 703-324-BIKE (2453).
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
Last night, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in support of the Fairfax Bike Master Plan (read the official county press release). The plan recommends 1,130 miles in new on-street and off-road trails to create a connected network across the county. This is first bike master plan for the County. 17 speakers testified at the public hearing in support of the proposed plan. Only one person spoke in opposition. “By giving me [transportation] choices, you literally have changed my life” said Jenifer Joy Madden, a County resident speaking about connecting to new bus and Metro service in Tysons on bicycle. Building a bike-friendly community starts with a plan and strong commitment from elected officials. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors made a important endorsement of bicycling for recreation and transportation. Chairman Sharon Bulova said, “bicycling is not only for recreation, but for transportation” citing the full bike racks at the new County bike parking facility at the Wiehle Ave Metro Station. Thank you to all 700 local residents who signed our petition in support of the Bike Master Plan. Congratulations to the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), including a special shout-out to Bruce Wright, for tireless efforts on this campaign. FABB is a sponsored project of WABA. We worked together on this advocacy effort. WABA’s advocacy is supported by your membership dollars. Join or donate to WABA today.
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
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is almost finished installing the bike lanes on on Sherwood Hall Lane. We asked our WABA members and supporters in southern Fairfax County to speak up in support of the project during the public process back in March. With overwhelming support for the bike lanes, VDOT moved this project forward. VDOT proposed traffic calming improvements and bike lanes on Sherwood Hall Lane in southern Fairfax County. This road is an important bicycle connection between Mount Vernon Parkway/Fort Hunt Road and the Route 1 corridor. Bike lanes now extend about 1.75 miles. Del. Scott Survell (VA-44th) has recorded a video tour of the new bike lanes with his helmet camera, you can watch them on his blog. There has been little push back to the new bike lanes. There was however a negative Letter to the Editor about the Sherwood Hall Lane bike lanes in the Mount Vernon Voice on August 20th. Read it online here. Letter to the Editor in support of the bike lanes can be sent to their editors through their website. Thank you to Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald Hyland, Virginia Senator Toddy Puller, and Virginia Delegate Scott Surovell for their support of this project. WABA’s advocacy is supported by your membership dollars. Join or donate to WABA today to enable us to continue to achieve success in our advocacy work.
Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The NACTO guide presents state-of-the-practice solutions that create safe, enjoyable complete streets for current and new bicyclists. The NACTO guide provides county traffic engineers with additional designs for innovative bicycling facilities that use several techniques to encourage new bicyclists, primarily by separating bike lanes from car traffic. The guide also has recommendations for designing on-road facilities such as buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes (cycle tracks), bike boxes, contraflow bike lane and other facilities. Adoption of the NACTO guide by local DOTs clears one of the many obstacles to building protected bike lanes.This week, WABA sent letters to local departments of transportation requesting consideration and adoption of the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO)
Why protected bike lanes?Protected bike lanes keep current bicyclists safer while encouraging new people to use bicycles for transportation. WABA is working to increase the miles of protected bike lanes throughout the region. Learn about our advocacy priority and our local campaign to build a protected bike lanes in Bethesda. More local campaigns are coming soon. We sent letters to the Directors of Transportation for Fairfax County, Prince Georges’ County, Montgomery County and the City of Alexandria*. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Arlington County have already endorsed the guide and are currently implementing protected bike lanes. We will publish the written responses we receive from the departments to the blog. Read the full letter requesting adoption of NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. * Update: The City of Alexandria has also endorsed the NACTO guide.
bookmark our public Google advocacy calendar, which is full of public meetings, WABA advocacy trainings and other upcoming events. If you have items for the calendar, email them to us at email@example.com Rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW Tues., Nov. 5 , 6:30 p.m. Methodist Home of D.C., 4901 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. DDOT is studying four alternatives for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW as part of an Environmental Assessment. The section of Broad Branch slated for rehabilitation is 1.5-mile length of roadway between Linnean Avenue and Beach Drive. Only one alternative would include any bicycle facility: Alternative 4 purposes a climbing bike lane on the uphill side and a shared-laned on the downhill side. The EA is being released for 30 days for public comments; please submit your comments to DDOT by Nov. 22, 2013. The complete EA is available for public review on the project website at broadbranchrdea.com. Proposed Rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Alternatives Meeting Wed., Nov. 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. The Little Theater, Washington Lee High School, 1301 North Stafford St., Arlington, Va. The George Washington Memorial Parkway is holding a public meeting to present alternatives for the proposed rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. All alternatives would resurface the road and repair the sidepath surface, which would be great improvement for commuters. However, no presented alternative improves the bridge’s greatest deficiency: access from the trails on both sides of the river. Any improvement of the bridge should address this major safety issue. There should be direct access to the bridge from the Mount Vernon Trail and trails on the National Mall. Comments may be submitted electronically on the project website at parkplanning.nps.gov/memorialbridgeea. Community Meeting on the Rock Creek Trail Facility Plan Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m. Meadowbrook Park Activity Building, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, Md. Montgomery Parks invites the community to review renovation plans for the Rock Creek Trail, including proposed renovations to the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, opportunities to enhance the natural environment along the trail, ways to reduce the frequency of trail maintenance, and ideas to improve safety, pavement conditions, drainage, and accessibility. For more information visit parkprojects.org. Fairfax Countywide Dialogue on Transportation Tues., Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Forest Edge Elementary School Fairfax County is seeking input on how to spend its new transportation funding from Virginia’s recently passed funding bill. How should $1.2 billion be spent over the next 6 years? And how much should be spent on bicycling? Show up to these two public meetings—the last regarding this transportation funding—and demand funding for bicycling be increased. Information about the meeting locations and time, and the entire planning process is online at fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/cdot/engage/meetings.htmWinter is coming, but regional bike advocacy opportunities are heating up! November is packed with public meetings across the D.C. area that will impact bicycling. We’ve listed as many as we know about below. If you can attend, speak up for bicycling. Planners need to hear from you about the impact proposed projects could have on the bicycling community. You can also
Register now for the second annual Fairfax Bike Summit, at George Mason University from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 2. The theme is making mixed-use, transit-oriented developments bike friendly. Can Tysons become a bicycle-friendly community? We think it can, and we’ll explore the many challenges and opportunities for making Tysons and similar communities in Fairfax more bikeable. Additionally, vendors will have lots of interesting bikes and gear on display. Bike advocates and community leaders will have an opportunity to network and learn how to make Fairfax a better place. The registration fee is $25 and includes lunch and other refreshments. Register online. A limited number of slots are available for the pre-summit workshop, Infrastructure Advocacy 101, that will be held from 9-9:45 a.m. Jeff Olson of Alta Planning + Design, author of The Third Mode: Towards a Green Society, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists and author of Smart Cycling: Promoting Safety, Fun, Fitness, and the Environment, Bill Nesper who directs the Bicycle Friendly America program at the League of American Bicyclists, Robert Thomson (Dr. Gridlock), and representatives from WABA, WMATA, Fairfax County DOT, VDOT, and several other organizations/companies. Fairfax County is undertaking a major transformation of Tysons in an effort to create a livable, walkable, automobile-independent community. Four new Silver Line Metro stations due to open in Tysons in 2014 are part of the foundation of that transformation. The Summit conversation:
- Importance of bicycling to the future of Tysons
- Bicycle and transit integration
- Access and encouragement for all
- Bikes and business
- Safety, law enforcement, and evaluation
- Where to next for Fairfax biking?