Reston Rider Tackling Country by Bike — Len Forkas talks about the perils of riding cross-country on a bicycle in 11 days, and about why he’s doing it again: to help raise $1 million for a children’s charity during the annual Race Across America event. [Bicycling]
Reminder: Community Center Pool Closed — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center is closed through Friday as soil testing is conducted around the pool. [Reston Community Center]
SLHS Team Finishes Fifth in State — Freshman Hannah Waller finished third in the 100 meters and fourth in both the 200 meters and 4×400 meter relay in leading the South Lakes High School girls team to a fifth place finish at the state track and field championship June 2-3. [Press Release]
Virginia Leaders Continue Climate-Change Fight — In reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, both Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday said Virginia is joining coalitions that remain committed to the agreement. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Following a community meeting last month regarding the potential addition of bike lanes to Glade Drive, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation has decided not to go forward with that possibility.
“We obviously heard from the community along Glade about their preference for parking, and that helped to drive our decision,” said Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bike Program manager, Friday morning. “We’re not going to take any parking; we’re sticking with just sharrows.”
A shared-lane marking, or sharrow, is painted in a travel lane to show where bicycles may be on the road and what direction they should be traveling. Lanes remain the same width, as does space for cars to park.
Some residents had expressed concern that if bike lanes were added to Glade Drive, the subsequent removal of street parking would cause problems with overflow parking at Glade Pool, Walker Nature Center, the Quartermaster Soccer Field and other locations along the road.
In another community meeting in March, Lind presented possibilities for bike lanes on Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road. In regard to those plans, Lind said:
- bike lanes will be added in both directions on Colts Neck Road, along with a road diet
- there will be a bike lane in one direction and sharrows in the other along North Shore Drive, with the location of each alternating “depending on the section of the street”
- bike lanes will be added in both directions on Twin Branches Road
“No major alterations [from what was presented],” Lind said. “Most of the tweaks have been local comments about specific items — [such as] where we’re looking to shift the double yellow to give more room for people to pass when there’s parking along a road.”
At March’s meeting, a number of residents were particularly concerned about the proposal for the road diet on Colts Neck Road, which will take the road from four lanes of vehicle traffic to two between Glade Drive and South Lakes Drive.
Bicycle riders responded by saying Colts Neck Road is particularly dangerous for them and for pedestrians as well. The road diet could also allow for the addition of a crosswalk. Lind also said it is not believed the diet will have a major adverse effect on vehicle traffic. In a presentation during the March meeting, Lind said roads with traffic less than 20,000 cars per day don’t require four travel lanes, and a traffic count showed less than half that on Colts Neck Road. Those cars will be slowed by the diet and safety will be increased, Lind said.
Residents argued, however, that the road is a major “cut-through” during rush-hour times when traffic is backed up on Fairfax County Parkway, and that the road diet would cause additional traffic delays specifically during those times. According to a recent study, less than 1/2 of 1 percent of Fairfax County commuters bike to work — an amount some residents said is not worth potentially causing daily bottlenecking of cars. Possible safety hazards that could be presented by a center left-turn lane were also raised by citizens.
Repaving and re-striping will be conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation after school lets out for the summer, Lind said. Further details will be provided on VDOT’s paving program website.
Anyone seeking additional information can request it by emailing [email protected].
Let us know what you think below:
File photo at top from Glade Drive community meeting April 27. Map of Colts Neck Road redesign via Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
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
About 525 bicyclists had passed through the stop at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station plaza as of about 9 a.m., said Ashleigh Soloff, Reston Association’s special events coordinator. She said this is the third year the event has been held at the Metro plaza in coordination with Comstock Partners.
“[Riders] have been telling me that this is the best pit stop that they’ve come through today so far,” Soloff said of participants’ feedback on the event. “It’s very active and lively.”
Nineteen organizations participated in the event to share information and goodies with riders. Food was provided by Whole Foods and Einstein Bagels. A DJ was playing music and giveaway drawings were being held every half-hour.
Soloff said the concept of biking to work is important to Reston Association.
“We’re trying to get everybody out of their cars just for one day, but then they learn that ‘Hey, I can actually do this every day,'” she said.
Rod Colen, of Reston, was riding along with his daughter, Steph. He said increasing participation in bicycling to work is important for multiple reasons, including public health and improving commute times.
“There’s just so much pressure on everybody for productivity and hours and commute time,” he said. “As traffic gets worse, biking to work will actually be competitive.”
Colen said improved infrastructure and planning is needed to increase the number of bike commuters in Fairfax County. His daughter, who now lives in Arlington but works in Reston Town Center, said she doesn’t regularly ride to commute but she chose to today.
“I also have friends who live in Arlington and work in the Town Center who decided yesterday when they found out about [Bike to Work Day], they’re not big bikers, but they were just going to do it casually,” Steph said.
Adam Lind, Bike Program manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said the county seeks to expand participation in Bike to Work Day each year. He was providing visitors with information including copies of the county’s new bike map. In addition, he said, the county is running a 50 percent discount through the end of May on yearly memberships to Capital Bikeshare, which is expanding in Reston.
The regional Bike to Work Day event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving.
Hot Weather Continues Today — The DC area had weather hotter than nearly anywhere else in the country Wednesday, including a record high of 91 at Dulles International Airport. Temperatures are expected to be similar today and Friday. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has issued information to help people avoid heat-related illness. [Washington Post]
Bicycle Commuting Up in DC, But Not Here — A report shows that the nation’s capital now has the third-highest percentage of bicycle commuters among major cities in the nation, 4 percent. The number has nearly doubled from 2010. However, in Fairfax County, only about 0.3 percent of commuters ride to work. The difference is in part due to lacking infrastructure, says the Fairfax Alliance for Better Biking. [WTOP]
Cicadas Making Early Entrance — Thousands of the bugs have already turned up in the region, four years ahead of their regular schedule. The 17-year cycle on Brood X means this is just a precursor of a major emergence in 2021. [WAMU]
SLHS Track Teams Tops Again — The boys and girls track teams at South Lakes High School have won their conference championships. It’s the seventh title in a row for the girls and the fourth for the boys. [Press Release]
Commentary: Increased Class Sizes Will Hurt — An advocate for Class Size Matters says Fairfax County Public Schools’ plan to increase average class size by half a student per room will have “a negative impact on students’ ability to learn and succeed, and on teachers’ ability to teach.” An online petition is opposing the increase. [Reston Connection]
Thousands of area commuters will ride to work Friday during Bike to Work Day, and those in Reston are invited to a “pit stop” to get refreshments, gear and more.
The event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region, including 13 in Fairfax County. Free registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a Bike to Work Day T-shirt.
Reston’s pit stop will be located on the plaza level at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. More than 500 local bike commuters are expected to participate at the local stop, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.
The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.
“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”
File photo courtesy Fairfax County
(Updated at 12:10 p.m. after Reston Association’s annual Community Yard Sale was postponed.)
Another SafeTrack Surge Starts Next Week — Metro’s latest round of work will have five stations on the east end of the Orange Line closed, which will also affect Silver Line traffic. Tuesday through June 15, trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory only every 12 minutes. This means more than 50 percent fewer trains during morning peak hours. Fairfax County is suggesting alternatives for commuters, including car pooling and buses. [WMATA]
League of American Cyclists Honors County — Fairfax County has been recognized with Bronze-level status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. It is one of 416 communities nationwide that have been honored. [Fairfax County]
Community Yard Sale Postponed to Sunday — With rain in the forecast, Reston Association’s annual Community Yard Sale has been postponed from Saturday. It will now be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at 1900 Campus Commons Drive, at the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue. Those planning to attend are still encouraged to call 703-435-6577 after 4:30 a.m. Sunday to check the event’s status. [Reston Association]
County Embracing Driverless Future — Fairfax County is the testing ground for self-driving cars and connected infrastructure in Virginia. Officials recently brought in autonomous-vehicle experts, policymakers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to share their research. [Fairfax County]
Reston Couple Share Love Story — Roger and Anita Lowen are approaching 50 years of marriage. It all started, they remember, with a prank call. [Washington Post]
The Tour de Cure is the largest cycling event for diabetes in the country, with 91 events in 44 states with more than 63,000 participants, says the ADA.
The event not only features routes that take cyclists throughout Northern Virginia on a beautiful spring day, but also starting ceremonies with noted speakers, fully stocked rest stops, and closing ceremonies featuring complimentary lunch and festivities.
Registration is still open for individuals and teams who will ride distances of 4, 14, 20, 35, 55, 82 and 106 miles. All routes start at Reston Town Center. The shorter distances stay in Reston; the longer ones take riders past Leesburg. See the routes on the Tour de Cure website.
The registration fee is $25.00. The fundraising minimum is $250.
Check-in and breakfast begin Saturday at 6 a.m. Shorter routes start later in the morning. The finish line celebration will take place in the Reston Town Center pavilion after the ride.
For complete information and registration, visit the Northern Virginia Tour de Cure website.
Photo courtesy American Diabetes Association.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has put three possibilities on the table as it looks toward adding bike lanes and sharrows to a 2-mile stretch of Glade Drive during the re-paving process this year.
The options were presented to residents Thursday evening during an open house at Hunters Woods Elementary School. People were able to ask questions of FCDOT staff regarding the plans and were invited to fill out comment forms to rank the options and give additional feedback.
The stretch of Glade Drive in question is a 1.93-mile portion between Glade Bank Way and Twin Branches Road. Alternatives for striping the road, which will take place in conjunction with re-paving efforts by the Virginia Department of Transportation this year, are:
- Parking and sharrow on north side, bike lane (no parking) on south side
- Parking and sharrow on north side, bike lane (no parking) on south side except from Old Trail Drive to Quartermaster Lane, in the area of Glade Pool, Walker Nature Center and the Quartermaster Soccer Field (parking remains and sharrows are added on both sides in that section)
- Parking remains on both sides with sharrows added in each direction — no bike lane is added
Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bicycle Program manager, said the options were the result of information that was gathered from the community during a November meeting.
“We gathered feedback about how many people were interested in bicycling, walking, parking, driving — whatever their priorities were,” he said. “We did get a lot of feedback from people, on all the streets, that bicycling was high up there.”
Based on that feedback, possibilities for other Reston roads — Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road — were presented at a separate community meeting in March. However, Lind said, Glade Drive received a proportionally large amount of feedback and “deserved its own priority” through Thursday’s separate presentation.
“I can understand that people want to ride and be safe, but I would suggest to you if you’ve ever lived on Glade — like I have — it’s not going to be safe,” he said. “For the everyday riders, we don’t need to block off traffic permanently. The streets are not easily enlarged.”
Jeff Anderson, president of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, said he passed five cyclists along the stretch of Glade Drive on his way to Thursday evening’s meeting. He said the option of putting a south-side bike lane on the entirety of the stretch of road would be the best choice for the community.
“Having on-again, off-again bike lanes isn’t always the best thing for cyclists or motorists,” he said. “There’s not a lot of cars parking on the south side on a daily basis. I think it’s a happy medium — you get a bike lane on one side, and you get the sharrows [on the other].”
Lind said all comments received at Thursday’s meeting, as well as during previous meetings, will be analyzed by FCDOT before they decide how to proceed. He said any residents who were unable to attend Thursday’s meeting but who would still like to provide feedback are welcome to email comments to [email protected] through May 11.
An April 27 meeting on safety improvements on Glade Drive will regard proposed bike lanes and sharrows along a nearly 2-mile stretch of the road.
Information released Friday morning by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation regarding the meeting says it will be to discuss proposals for Glade Drive between Glade Bank Way and Twin Branches Road. That’s the 1.93-mile portion of the road scheduled for repaving this year by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
“The purpose of the meeting will be to gather input on various proposals to improve traffic safety, bicycling and the pedestrian environment. There will be an open house at 6:30 p.m., and then representatives from FCDOT and VDOT will present plans for the project, which includes sharrows/shared lane markings, bike lanes, crosswalks and pedestrian improvements, starting at 7 p.m.”
FCDOT said recently that there are plans for 10 additional Capital Bikeshare stations in Reston, and information provided regarding the Glade Drive meeting shows three in that part of the community:
- at South Lakes High School
- near the intersection of South Lakes Drive and Soapstone Drive
- near the intersection of Soapstone Drive and Glade Drive
Bike lanes already exist along Soapstone Drive.
A meeting last month regarding the potential addition of bike lanes and sharrows on Twin Branches Road, Colts Neck Road and North Shore Drive drew spirited debate among the community. FCDOT and bicyclists say the work would increase safety for all users of the road, while other residents are concerned about potential loss of parking spaces, increased congestion and possible safety hazards for drivers.
The FCDOT presentation from that meeting is available through the county website.
The Glade Drive meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hunters Woods Elementary School (2401 Colts Neck Road).
Project map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Transportation
The second annual DC Bike Ride is your chance to pedal down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, taking in the iconic sights of Washington, D.C., but without dodging traffic!
As a bonus, this year’s DC Bike Ride offers a fun and exciting Mother’s Day opportunity that the entire family (ages 3+) can enjoy. The 20-mile, car-free ride takes place Sunday, May 14, starting in West Potomac Park and finishing, after traversing closed roads in Washington and Arlington, on Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol.
DC Bike Ride begins at 8 a.m. and music and activities at the Finish Festival wrap up at 1 p.m. Registration is now open at this site. Register by March 26 and use the code RESTONNOW to save $10.
The course, which will have live music and aid stations, is designed for riders of all fitness and experience levels. The ride is mostly flat, very scenic and noncompetitive. If 20 miles sounds like a lot, there is a 6.5-mile turnoff point, but most riders complete the course and start enjoying the Finish Festival in about 90 minutes.
DC Bike Ride was created in 2016 by Arlington-based Capital Sports Ventures as a way to “celebrate life on two wheels,” said Tassika Rodphotong Fulmer, senior director of business operations. “We wanted to do an event locally for the vibrant bike community, to get new folks onto bikes, and to provide a unique perspective in our nation’s capital.”
Tassika said last year’s inaugural DC Bike Ride raised $38,750 for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, to help support street safety initiatives in the region as part of Washington’s Vision Zero effort, which works to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by 2024.
New this year is an opportunity to sponsor riders from underserved communities. You can chip in $1, $5, $10 or $48 and sponsor the registration fees for selected participants from organizations like Gearin’ Up Bicycles whose purpose is to create career development opportunities and teach essential workplace skills to teenagers from underserved communities.
Children must be 3 years old or older and those under 7 participate for free but must ride in tandem or pulled in a trailer by an adult. Bike, tandem and trailer rentals from our partner Bike and Roll DC are available at DCBikeRide.com.
Graphic design students at South Lakes High School have once again used their talents to create a new jersey design for members of the Reston Bicycle Club.
Bike Club member Ken Thompson said the annual design contest has been taking place for the past several years. Each year, the Bicycle Club selects a winning design through a member vote, and it is produced by a jersey manufacturer. The winning student receives a jersey, as does the school, and they are also made available for sale to club members.
This year’s winning design is by SLHS student Clark Bautista. In addition to the jersey, he will receive a $500 prize. Bautista took second place in the contest last year.
Other honored students this year were:
- Sierra Schuman, second place, $300
- Seiji Urano, third place, $200
- Maggie Mark, Ashley Wallace and Joycee Zhiyi, honorable mention, $100 each
The students’ teacher at SLHS is Amy Saylor.
Thompson said the awards presentation will take place around late May.
Jersey designs courtesy Reston Bicycle Club
The Bike Lane has been serving its customers in Reston Town Center for going on nine years.
Now, the owners of the store say they are actively seeking to leave because of the Town Center’s new paid-parking initiative.
“We believe in providing our customers with an amazing shopping experience and we do not agree with charging for parking. We are actively looking to relocate The Bike Lane in or around Reston and we will keep you updated about our future plans as they progress.”
Todd Mader owns the shop along with his wife, Anne. He tells Reston Now they only have a little over a year left on a 10-year lease and they have every intention of leaving early.
“This is not the experience we want our customers to have, to come in here during the week and battle with a parking app,” Mader said. “They come in here to buy a $10 inner tube and now they’re paying $12.”
The store is offering customers in-store credits and gift cards to compensate them for weekday parking. But Mader said in the long run, the hassle isn’t worth it when the store can just relocate.
“We were hoping parking wouldn’t be a big deal,” he said. “But if given the opportunity to move sooner rather than later, we’d do that.”
Mader said the parking situation has never been ideal for many of his customers, who may have bicycles attached to the roof or the back of their vehicle and may therefore find parking garages difficult to navigate. Now that it costs by the hour as well, he’s had enough.
“Having a space that’s more traditional, open-air shopping… that’s more what we’re looking for,” Mader said.
Social media backlash has been heavy on Reston Town Center and its owner, Boston Properties, because of the new parking fees, with many people threatening a “boycott.” However, Mader said the result of that hurts businesses such as his more than anyone.
“That’s not hurting [the Town Center and Boston Properties], not directly anyway. That’s hurting the merchant — big and small,” he said. “There is a noticeable drop in the plaza during the week. Friday night was dead, in the restaurants and in foot traffic.”
Mader said his hope is to relocate the store within a mile of its current location, so it can continue to serve its loyal patrons.
“We’re overwhelmed by the support of our customers,” he said. “We want to make it very convenient for people to find us and continue to shop with us.”
A “Jingle Bell Family Ride” is planned for Saturday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m., according to Kidical Mass Reston, the event’s organizers.
Bike riders are instructed to meet at the YMCA Fairfax County Reston, located at 12196 Sunset Hills Road.
“Get in the holiday spirit and join us for some festive family fun!” a Facebook event post reads. “Wear your warmest Christmas attire and listen to sounds of the season as we ride along the W&OD to the Reston Town Center Christmas tree.”
Participants will get free hot chocolate after the bike ride.
Though kids will need to bring their own bikes, adults can rent Bikeshare bikes at no charge, organizers said. All cyclists under 15 are legally required to wear a helmet.
Image via Kidical Mass Reston
Who is ready for a little bicycling before feasting?
Reston Association is organizing its annual Thanksgiving Day Bike Ride. Want to take part? Here is what you need to know.
Ride starts Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day) at 9 a.m.
The main ride meets up at at South Lakes Village Center, 11120 South Lakes Drive at 8:30 a.m. RA also encourages you to organize your own group of riders leaving from your neighborhood.
All rides converge at Starbucks at Reston Town Center.
Contact [email protected] or call 703-966-6182 for more information and to connect with a ride coordinator in your neighborhood.