Council Approves First Bicycle Master Plan for Town of Herndon

With little fanfare and a nod to staff, the Herndon Town Council unanimously approved the town’s first bicycle master plan on Tuesday (August 13).

The plan, which was created by staff and the town’s Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee, offers policy guidance for the town’s bicycle network planning and design, as well as a longterm plan for connectivity and network improvements.

The plan highlights the locations of mixed-use trails, cycle tracks, bicycle lanes, and sharrows —  including future connections. Areas in the center of the town are largely designated for further study.

Council members lauded staff for their work on the plan and the town’s efforts to promote cycling as a viable alternative mode of travel.

Councilmember Pradip Dhakal said the document — which is part of the town’s efforts to seek a national award for being a bicycle-friendly community — was a “step in the right direction.”

“This is a product that I think the town can be proud of,” council member Cesar del Aguila added.

The plan also ensures that connectivity is a priority, especially between new developments, said council member Signe Friedrichs.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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With First Bicycle Plan, Town of Herndon Seeks Award for ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’

The Herndon Town Council is looking to move forward on its first bicycle master plan this month.

Bryce Perry, the town’s Deputy Director of Community Development, discussed the plan at the council’s meeting in August.

Perry said the town’s plan is modeled after the county’s initiative and is intended to offer policy guidance on bicycle network planning and design.  It was drafted in coordination with the town’s pedestrian and bicycle advisory committee and the town’s planning commission.

Staff indicated the plan would “serve as an important guiding document for the town,” giving that the town is one of the few jurisdictions in the area that does not have an adopted plan for its bicycle network and facilities.

The plan is also part of the town’s efforts to seek a Bicycle Friendly Community Award, which is a nationally-recognized program that awards localities to localities that excel at providing bicycle programs, services and infrastructure to their communities. The award is administered by the League of American Bicyclists.

The town plans to incorporate the plan — which will also remain as a standalone document — into the town’s 2039 comprehensive plan.

Discussions on the plan are expected to continue this month.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Town of Herndon Drafts First Bicycle Master Plan

The Town of Herndon is in the process of drafting its first bicycle master plan, which lays out a longterm plan for bicycle route locations and a vision for the town’s bicycle network.

The plan, which was discussed by the town’s Planning Commission at a meeting earlier this week, intends to promote cycling as an alternative mode of travel and improve connectivity for cyclists.

The plan notes that Herndon’s population density is high in comparison to other suburban communities. As expected redevelopment around Metrorail stations and downtown Herndon continues, town officials say they will need to better incorporate bicycle facilities in the town.

The current plan builds on the 2012 Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan, which was endorsed by the Town Council and the town’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC).

Once approved by the Town Council, PBAC will evaluate the implemented of the plan on a yearly basis.

Currently, the town has nine active bicycling-related projects, including:

  • Bicycle lanes and a cycle track between Fairfax County Parkway: The project is nearing design completion. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.
  • A mixed-use trail on Chandon Park to connect Worldgate Trail to Van Buren Street: Construction is expected to begin this year as the project goes to construction biding.
  • A cycle track from Spring Street to Van Buren Street: The project is partially under construction and will be built in phases depending on the pace of private development.
  • Bicycle lanes on Van Buren Street from Spring Street to Herndon Parkway: Construction is expected to begin in late 2019.
  • Bicycle lanes on Sterling Road from Elden Street to Herndon Parkway: Funds were allocated in the town’s capital improvement plan and the project is in the early planning phase.
  • A mixed-use trail from Worldgate Drive to Herndon Metrorail Station: The project is fully planned and designed. Construction will likely begin in late 2019.
  • Folly Lick Regional Trail from Herndon Parkway to Center Street: Construction is expected to begin in late 2019 since the project is fully designed and planned.
  • Sharrows from Park Avenue to Van Buren Street — Construction is expected to begin this year.

The plan also suggests exploring guidelines and policies to ensure residents safely use personal transporters like electric scooters, Segways and pedal-assisted bikes.

Much of the plan’s success will depend on whether or not bicycling is seamlessly incorporated into the county’s existing and future infrastructure, as well as a balanced approach to transportation infrastructure improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The plan suggests adopting a “complete streets” policy in order to guide decisions on the planning and design of infrastructure projects in the town.

Image via Town of Herndon

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Op-Ed: Cyclists Just Asking for Ensured Safety on Area Roadways

This is an op/ed submitted by a group of area bicycling advocates. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

Today is Bike to Work Day in the Capital Region. Cyclists will be all over the trails and roads like cicadas emerging from their hibernation.

And as the weather turns warmer and summer approaches, it seems true that many of us and our neighbors begin to head outdoors to exercise, emerging from gyms into the spring sunshine. Roads and trails begin to fill up with walkers, runners and cyclists who are enjoying the benefits of warmth and longer days.

Our region has made incredible strides in providing infrastructure to support these activities. From the Washington and Old Dominion Trail to the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) that was recently passed, we are all fortunate citizens to have a government with the foresight to build and plan infrastructure for the future.

While riding a bike is legally allowed on all non-limited-access roads in the Commonwealth, the increase in traffic of all kinds, motor and bicycle, has led the county to seek ways to increase safety for all road users. One way in which the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) upholds the BMP is through a partnership with VDOT.

When VDOT repaves a road, in many cases the road is studied for installation of a “road diet.” A road diet is a change in the allocation of space on an existing road to increase road safety for all users. A road diet can include a center turn lane for left-turning traffic as well as bike lanes. Since the passage of the Bicycle Master Plan, over 100 miles of bike lanes and road diets have been implemented.

Road diets and the addition of bike lanes and center turn lanes serve to slow traffic through many of our streets, some of which used to be quiet neighborhood roads, but which have now become fast cut-throughs for commuters. The benefit of slowing traffic on those roads, through the re-striping during repaving, accrues to the people who live on those roads as well. People who want to walk their dogs, chat with neighbors, cross the street to pick up their mail — all of them benefit from road design that slows the traffic passing through.

Fairfax County is home to an incredibly diverse population. However, one thing that is universal is we all want our loved ones to come home safely. No one wants to get a call that their mother, husband, daughter, brother, wife, father, sister or son was killed for any reason. This universal human desire is sometimes forgotten when people take to the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle, ignoring the indisputable facts of physics. The human under the bike helmet in front of you us is 150 percent more likely to die when hit by a car at 40 mph than at 25 mph (Source: NHTSA). It’s in all of our interest to address this.

Cyclists are members of the community — we are your neighbors, your doctors, your waiters and your pharmacists. We ride bikes for transportation, exercise and recreation. Some of us do not have cars and commute solely by bike. But we are no different from you and your neighbors in our desire to get home safely. That’s all we ask.

Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling
Reston Bicycle Club
The Bike Lane
Green Lizard Cycling
Evolution Cycling Team

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Fake Facebook Forecast: 2 Feet of Snow NOT Heading Here This Weekend

The Facebook graphic that created snow panic.<

Weather experts are not sure exactly how the epic storm rumor for Feb. 9 got started. They only know they are trying to stop it.

A little over a week ago, weather buzz began to build calling for an epic storm this weekend — as much as 20 to 30 inches on the East Coast.

The may have begin, as many do, on Facebook.

The Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow says he first saw the forecast on Facebook on Jan. 29, when the page run by Weatherboy Weather said the European Model showed the blizzard formation.

Samenow says Weatherboy Weather admitted he did not trust the model — but it was too late. The radar picture he posted was shared countless times and the the rumor spread, well, like a blizzard.

“The same forecast independently ended up on The Delmarva Firefighter Forums Facebook page and was shared over 41,000 times,’ Samenow points out.

Upon further review, it turned out the image was an alternative version of the European model called a control run, not the real thing – and represented 10 days worth of snow, Samenow writes.

Many meteorologists have reposted the picture to Facebook, some drawing a big black “x” over it, to spread the world it is false. They are also reminding readers that forecasts cannot be made 10 days out — and to get your weather information from trusted sources like the National Weather Service.

The NWS said that the forecast was “nonsense then and it is nonsense now.” In fact, the hundreds of inquiries the NWS had to field prevented staffers from doing its job during Wednesday’s very real East Coast snowstorm.

To review: No big storm this weekend in Reston or the rest of the Mid-Atlantic/East Coast. The forecast here is for snow flurries to a dusting on Saturday and Sunday.

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