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Bike Plan Moves Fairfax Forward on 2 Wheels

by Karen Goff September 23, 2014 at 9:00 am 10 Comments

Wiehle-Reston East bike room courtesy of Comstock/David Madison PhotographyFairfax County is looking towards the future of transportation with its new Bicycle Master plan.

The county planning commission will hold a public hearing on Oct. 1 about the plan, which aims to treat cyclists as valid users of the roadway as the county moves forward as an increasingly transit-oriented walkable and bikeable community.

The county bicycle master plan has been in the works for several years, building off of the county’s 2008 bike route map and the 2010 Tysons Corner Bicycle Master Plan.

The 2013 general county  comprehensive plan says that “A keystone policy for future planning and facilities includes achievement of a multi-modal transportation system to reduce excessive reliance upon the automobile.  Regional and local efforts will focus on planning and developing a variety of transportation options. Sidewalks, trails and on-road bicycle routes should be developed as alternate transportation facilities leading to mass transit, high density areas, public facilities and employment areas.”

To that end, the bike plan proposes to:

  • Incorporate adequate, safe and secure bicycle parking at all public buildings, park-and-ride lots, transit facilities, libraries and school.
  • Locate improvements for bicycle links and crossings, interchange improvements, transit station accessibility, stream crossings and road crossings.
  • Coordinate with nearby jurisdictions on bicycle route connectivity.
  • Provide a comprehensive network of on- and off-road bicycle routes.
  • Evaluate road diets in order to establish on-road bike lanes.
  • Consider various types of bicycle amenities, including shared roadways, shared roadways with safety treatment, shared-lane markings, striped shoulders, bike lanes, climbing lanes, buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks and shared-use paths.

While the Reston area already has a network of bicycle and pedestrian paths — including the Reston Association’s 55 miles of paved trails as well as the W & OD Trail — the county bike plan expands the area connectivity further, with additional trails throughout Reston. See the entire report and proposed trail maps on the Fairfax County website.

Reston also has a top bicycle amenity with the dedicated 200-space bicycle room at the Silver Line’s Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

The county planning staff recommends the bike plan for approval, as does the group Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB). FABB has an online petition citizens can sign to show their support of the plan.

If approved by the planning commission, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on it on Oct. 28.

The staff report says the county bicycling conditions vary greatly and that the county has some serious connectivity constraints. Among them: paths in poor condition, poor signage, lack of connectivity with other trails, barriers such as I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road, and aggressive behavior from car drivers.

Photo: Wiehle-Reston East Bicycle Room/file photo

  • Kelley Westenhoff

    It’s FABB, not FAAB. And the Reston Association Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee is also very involved in Reston specifically trying to make things safer for all of us — pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. We could use more pedestrians on our committee if anyone wants to get involved.

    • Joe

      Please consider implementing safeguards to discourage unsafe cycling as part of your plan. I frequently see bicyclists riding down 286, despite the bike trail 10 feet away, and long lines of cars crawling behind inconsiderate cyclists on Lawyer’s Road. I suspect that new safeguards are not actually needed, but existing ones are seldom enforced.

      • Mel

        Ditto for unsafe jogging. I frequently see runners out during dusk or when it is still dark out running in the streets with no lights or reflective gear.

        Also, can runners stop being so upity about their right to the road. I was walking once and told a jogger that almost got hit by a car that he should use the RA path. His response was to come on to the trail and do sprints within inches of me repeatedly.

      • kbikeva

        Joe, I agree. The bike plan is designed to phase in infrastructure over the next many years so that cyclists don’t have to be in unsafe positions — believe me, most cyclists do not want to be next to cars going 40. If the money/plan had been in effect when the Lawyers Rd bike lanes were painted, they would have been complete and no one would have to crawl behind a cyclist. On the other hand, bikes are vehicles and have the right to use the road — until there is safe infrastructure that’s going where we need to go, we’ll have to use what is there and hope that everyone can behave like a respectful citizen.

  • John Lovaas

    When and where is the Planning Commission hearing on the new plan?
    Thanks for the info on the RA committee.

    • Karen Goff

      John – It says in the story. Oct. 1. Planning commission hearings are at county govt center at night. Visit their website for more info.

  • Lilian

    Planning Commission public hearing is on October 1 at 8:15 p.m. at the Board Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax.

  • Mike M

    Putting bikes on the same road where motorists are free to travel at 35 and 40 mph will never be safe and will always be foolhardy. Righteousness aside, it just sets up situations where bicyclists will be killed or crippled and the random motorist will get sued into poverty and maybe jailed.

  • Jason Hanson
  • Demorat

    This whole idea is nonsense! The roads in this area are already overburdened. The roads that do exist are not meant for bicyclists recreation. They were built to move cars from point A to point B. Some people would do anything for a vote.

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