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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Monday Morning Notes

Pride of Herndon Band Leaves for D-Day Celebrations Tomorrow — “The Herndon High School band of Herndon leaves Tuesday to participate in 75th D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Band members will carry pictures and stories of crew members who served on the USS Herndon during the invasion.” [WTOP]

Candidates for Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Discuss Stances on Cycling Issues  The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling caught up with two candidates running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor. Candidate Walter Alcorn says he hopes to “accelerate existing plans to enable non-motorized access to transit stations and work centers” while candidate Maggie Parker discusses how biking is “a great equalizer.” Other candidates did not respond immediately to requests for comment. [Fairfax County Alliance for Better Bicycling]

Last Day for “LOVE” Letters in Reston Town Center Tomorrow — The iconic letters sign will leave RTC tomorrow as they tour 11 different sites in Fairfax County to celebrate the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50th anniversary of “Virginia is for Lovers!” [Reston Town Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Performance Bicycle Shop to Close in Plaza America Shopping Center

Performance Bicycle Shop is closing at 11634 Plaza America Drive in the Plaza America Shopping Center.

The Reston location’s plans to shut down comes nearly two months after its parent company filed for bankruptcy in November.

An employee at the store was not able to share any information about the closing date. The store currently has sales with 30 to 50 percent off items.

Performance Bicycle Shop started as a bicycle catalog company in 1982. Currently, the national chain sells bikes, bike gear, accessories and cycling apparel in more than 20 states across the country.

Image via Google Maps

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Thursday Morning Notes

Tinsel ‘n Tinis — Don your cocktail or business attire and head to the Signature at Reston Town Center tonight from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the annual holiday celebration, which will include food, martinis, casino entertainment and a raffle. A portion of the casino proceeds will benefit an educational foundation. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

FABB holiday party — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) is hosting a party at 7 p.m. at The Bike Lane (11150 Sunset Hills Road). Expect finger food and a cash bar. Bike Lane Brewing will donate $1 from every beer sold during the event. [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling Facebook]

More problems for the Silver Line’s second phase — Hundreds of concrete rail ties installed at track crossovers along the second phase of the Silver Line are flawed, according to officials. The problem could further delay the project, which is already 13 months behind schedule. [The Washington Post]

Reston company didn’t land Marine Corps contract — The Marine Corps chose BAE Systems as the amphibious combat vehicles (ACV) prime contractor over competitor Science Applications International Corporation. Both companies had received separate contracts worth a combined $225 million in late 2015 to develop prototypes. [GovCon Wire]

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Grand Opening This Afternoon for New Trail Cycling

Updated 2:30 p.m. — Elizabeth Kamp, owner of New Trail Cycling Studio, has specified that the opening is a private event

New Trail Cycling Studio, a new indoor cycling studio at Lake Anne Plaza (1641B Washington Plaza), is celebrating its grand opening this afternoon (Tuesday) in a private event from 4:30-6 p.m.

The grand opening will include finger food from Kalypso’s and a chance to win a five-pack of rides.

The indoor bicycling studio first opened its doors in early November with a series of preview classes. Participants can buy a pack of classes, from $22 for two classes for new riders to more expensive unlimited memberships. Riders receive free shoe rentals, towels and herbal washcloths.

The studio also offers specials — $65 for four rides for college students — and “Free New Trail 101” classes to teach proper form and explain cycling settings.

Photo via Facebook

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Reston Bicycle Club Raises Over $5,000 for Local Groups

As the year comes to a close, the Reston Bicycle Club topped $5,100 in donations to community projects that support bicycling.

“The Reston Bike club is proud to provide financial and member volunteer support to community initiatives that promote cycling for fun, exercise, and as a commuting alternative,” Club President Chip Magrogan said in a press release.

The club’s executive committee voted last week to donate to local bicycling organizations. Kelley Westenhoff, the vice-chairman of the Reston Bicycle Club, said the checks are in the mail.

TrailsforYouth.org, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts and the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling will receive $1000 each, while $500 was donated to NOVA Cycling. Earlier this year, the club donated to the Be AMYazing Reston Youth Triathlon as well as the Reston Sprint Triathlon.

“2018 was our first year of formalizing donations with a grant application, etc. thus donations for past years are hard to track as they were on a more ‘as needed’ basis,” Westenhoff told Reston Now via email.

“That said, I’ve been on the board for two years, and was involved with some of the past donations, so I can say that this year’s total so far is the highest we’ve gone in a year — with the exception of some big projects we funded such as bike racks in Reston and the bike counter for [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling],” Westenhoff added.

The club, founded in 1982, aims to promote bicycling around Reston and other nearby communities. Funding for philanthropy comes from club member dues and the club’s annual Century Ride, held in August.

Club membership includes social rides and training rides every day of the week from April through September and on weekends year-round. Membership costs $25 annually.

Photo via Facebook

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Indoor Cycling Studio Coming to Lake Anne Plaza

As winter sets in and the temperatures start to drop, if you’re looking for a place to keep up your cycling, New Trail Cycling Studio is opening next Monday (Nov. 26).

The indoor bicycling studio will be opening at 1641b Washington Plaza in Lake Anne Plaza. An official grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration is planned for Dec. 11.

In the meantime, owner Liz Camp said New Trail Cycling Studio will be running a week of free “preview” classes.

There’s two classes tonight (Monday) at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. More classes are planned on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. A full schedule is available online.

Prices vary by the number of classes, the cheapest being $22 for two classes for new riders. Unlimited monthly memberships are $165 per month for three months or $150 per month for six months.

All riders receive free shoe rental, towel and herbal washcloth post-workout.

Photo via Facebook

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Reston Expansion Planned for Capital Bikeshare Over the Next Two Years

A little over two years after Capital Bikeshare launched in Fairfax County, the program is planning to expand across Reston. But details on where the new stations, which were proposed last year, are pending.

According to Nicole Wynands, Bicycle Program Manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the bike-share expansion is planned for late 2019 or early 2020.

“We are still working on the exact locations,” said Wynands, “but additional stations are planned to be added in both North and South Reston.”

A list of sites in Reston had been proposed last year, but Wynands said further study found some of the sites did not meet federal criteria for grant funding.

“The previously proposed stations [were] a concept proposal which [is] always subject to final engineering,” said Wynands. “We have since conducted surveys and developed preliminary design concepts. As the expansion is funded through a federal grant, each location has to meet a long list of criteria stipulated by federal requirements, state requirements and operator requirements. The surveys revealed that some of the originally proposed stations did not meet all siting criteria, so alternative sites are being considered.”

Additionally, Wynands said sites are being reconsidered based on proximity to new bike trails built through Reston over the last year.

“We will be able to announce the new station locations after we have received all needed permits,” said Wynands. “We are still planning on adding up to 11 new stations in Reston”

At its busiest, typically during June, Wynands said there were 1,861 trips starting or ending in Reston. Capital Bikeshare also recently implemented a pilot project to add new battery-operated bikes to Reston. The program will continue through the end of the month.

Wynands said the most popular stations in Reston are the ones at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, followed by the Reston Town Center Transit Station and the Sunset Hill Road/Isaac Newton Square Station.

“The system is designed primarily to cover the first and last mile between the origin/destination and transit,” said Wynands. “This is evident in the popularity of the bike share station at Wiehle Metro, which serves both as an origin and a destination for commuters in the morning and afternoon, as people working near Reston Town Center are arriving by Metro and continuing their trip to Reston Town Center via the W&OD, while at the same time Reston Town Center residents commute via the W&OD to the Metro station to continue their trip to Tysons, Arlington or DC.”

The station with the lowest use is at North Shore and Cameron Crescent, a station which primarily serves as an overflow to the busy Lake Anne station down the hill at North Shore and Village Road.

According to Wynands, the system is continuing to grow in ridership, with a seven percent year-over-over growth recorded thus far.

“It takes a few years for a new system to establish itself, and we expect additional growth through the expansions as we will serve additional riders and destinations.”

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Reston Association Becomes ‘Ambassador’ for Washington & Old Dominion Trail

Reston Association is officially the first business to join the Washington & Old Dominion Trail Ambassador Program, an initiative that encourages local businesses near the trail to support bicyclists during business hours.

The program is operated by the Friends of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, a citizen-led organization that aims to protect and improve the trail. The organization was created as an advisory body to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority in 1997. It aims to maintain the trail’s position as a recreational, environmental and historic resource through volunteer efforts like fundraising, promotional, educational programming and maintenance, according to the organization’s website.

According to an RA release, the program encourages local businesses near the trail to support to bicyclists during business hours, including bicycle tools, restroom facilities, drinking fountains, and telephone access. The program is part of a supportive community that is expanding surrounding the trail.

Ambassador businesses within four miles of each side of the 45-mile trail are envisioned to join the ambassador community, extending from Arlington to Purcellville.

Photo via RA

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Summer Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Campaign by Local Police Targets Problem Intersections

Pedestrian and bicyclist safety is on the radar of local police at the Reston District Station, particularly as the area becomes more urbanized.

In response to an increase in accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians during the summer, local police officers launched a public safety campaign. Although the campaign was focused on educating the public instead of enforcing violations, local police offered tips about safety, including obeying traffic signals and using traffic laws, to more than 1,000 residents.

The public safety campaign ran from June 4 through the end of the summer following the death of a 71-year-old pedestrian who was hit by a car in May. Police officers met with hundreds of residents to promote pedestrian safety and distribute literature in order to reduce accidents.

Accidents between pedestrians and cars have become more frequent, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

FCPD’s first priority was areas where pedestrian and car accidents have happened in the past. Other areas that were targeted have heavy traffic and pedestrian crosswalks, Sgt. Aaron Pfeiff told Reston Now.

“The public was very appreciative of the officer’s efforts and it was noticed that more pedestrians and bicyclist were obeying traffic signals and using crosswalks,” Pfeiff said.

Pfeiff identified the following intersections where officers focused their efforts:

  • Georgetown Pike/Walker Rd
  • Bluemont Way/Library St
  • Reston Pkwy/New Dominion Dr
  • Sunset Hills Rd/Michael Faraday Dr
  • Sunset Hills Rd/Isaac Newton Dr
  • Sunset Hills Rd/Whiele Ave
  • Parcher Ave/Centreville Rd
  • Coppermine Rd/Thomas Jefferson Dr
  • Hunter Mill Rd/Hunter Station
  • Sunrise Valley Dr/Cross School Rd

Photo via FCPD

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Driver Shoots Gun at Bicyclist in Herndon, No Injuries Reported

A man fired a gunshot at a bicyclist in Herndon on Wednesday (September 5) at around 10:40 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Local police are investigating the incident, which occurred on the 2400 block of Centreville Road in Herndon.

Police said the victim, who was not hit, knew the man who fired the gun. The victim left the area on his bicycle after a “physical altercation” with the man, according to police.

The suspect then drove a car next to him on Centreville road and fired at the bicyclist from inside the car. The suspect then drove away. No arrests have been made.

File photo

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A New Indoor Cycling Studio is Coming to Lake Anne Plaza This Summer

New Trail Cycling Studio is opening at Lake Anne Plaza in the late summer at 1614 Washington Plaza.

Liz Kamp — a Reston resident of nearly 10 years, an avid indoor cyclist and a mother of three — is behind the venture, which will offer indoor cycling classes for all levels.

Kamp hopes to use the studio to create a welcoming, tight-knit community.

“I’ve always wanted to create a fitness business where community is important. Cycling offers that,” she said.

The studio takes up half of the former location of Lakeside Pharmacy, which closed in 2014 after 44 years of business. Another tenant is expected to take up the other half of the site.

Classes, which blend authentic cycling drills paired to the beat of music, will be offered for adults, teens and individuals age 55 and and up. Riders of all levels are welcome to take classes.

Kamp, who has 15 years of experience in the fitness industry, said the idea for her business has been “a long time coming.”

“I’ve been planning on launching a brick and mortar store for the last six years. There’s a real need for building and capitalizing on this great community,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Liz Kamp

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Thursday Morning Notes

Woman with Reston Ties Recounts Las Vegas Shooting — Courtney Robey was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last weekend through her work with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, based in Reston. She told her hometown news station about what she experienced the night of the tragic mass shooting there. [WAJR]

Early-Bird Tickets on Sale for Reston Home Tour  Discount-priced tickets for the 16th annual tour on Oct. 14 are on sale through Saturday for $25. The tour focuses on six homes where owners have moved within the last few years and gain and gained a new perspective. Full-price tickets are $30. [Reston Historic Trust and Museum]

Local Ghost Stories — The Herndon Historical Society shares a trio of tales about the town’s visitors from beyond. [Herndon Patch]

County Fire and Rescue Promotes Escape Plans  — As part of National Fire Prevention Week, which begins Sunday, the department encourages residents to develop a home escape plan in the event of a fire. Department representatives will be available on Saturday, Oct. 14 at area fire stations, including Reston Station 25 (1820 Wiehle Ave.), to review plans and ask questions. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

‘Cupcake Ride’ Rolls Through Herndon — Herndon Parks & Recreation put on its first “Cupcake Bike Ride” recently. About 20 riders took part in the four-mile ride, which featured stops at bakeries and businesses. [Connection Newspapers]

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FCDOT, Pedestrians Agree Increased Safety Needed at Parkway Trail Crossing

A handful of local residents joined Fairfax County Department of Transportation representatives Thursday at Dogwood Elementary School to discuss how best to increase pedestrian safety in the area of the Dulles Toll Road.

FCDOT hosted the community meeting to discuss options for proposed changes to the crossing of the Fairfax County Parkway Trail over the eastbound Dulles Toll Road ramp. In that area, the crossing is around a curve as cars northbound on the parkway turn onto the ramp.

“There’s no visibility, and they have to do something about visibility if they can’t do anything about the grade,” said Steve Steiner, who said he has particular interest in safety on the trail after being struck by a car two years ago at a nearby crossing and spending four days at Inova Trauma Center. “We’re putting a really expensive and massive transportation system and we’re trying to promote the use of the trail for commuting … and you want to try to make it safe and accessible.”

FCDOT has given two options for safety improvements at the intersection in question, which was flagged as part of the Reston Metrorail Access Group (RMAG) II improvements study. It is proposing either at-grade improvements including a signalized crosswalk, or the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the ramp.

Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bike Program manager, said neither choice was the department’s first option.

“Our original plan, actually, was a tunnel option [under the Toll Road ramp],” Lind said. “However, once we did a survey we found out there are four major utility lines and an underground stormwater tank — that pretty much nixed that option.”

The two options that remain have a vast difference in cost. The at-grade improvements would cost about $633,000 to implement, according to FCDOT, while the cost of the bridge would near $7 million.

Lind said the at-grade option focuses on improving sight distance by bringing the trail up to the shoulder of Fairfax County Parkway and creating two one-lane crossings instead of the current two-lane crossing over the ramp. He said options of stop signals for cars or the installation of a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon to alert drivers are also being considered.

The bridge option, Lind said, would require about 700 feet of structure. It needs to be so long and high, Lind said, to allow 18 feet of clearance on the ramp below it. The result would be a bridge that travels parallel to the ramp as its elevation increases, then crosses, then decreases in height back down to the parkway.

Lind said there will be a lot of other projects similar to this one in the area as connectivity to Silver Line Phase II Metro stations is addressed; however, he said, this particular intersection doesn’t directly affect Metro access.

“While this is a big and important connection for the county and the region, it doesn’t directly serve the Metro station,” Lind said. “If you’re coming from the north, you can get off at Sunset Hills … and if you’re coming from the south, you can access via Sunrise Valley Drive.”

While it may not directly connect with the Metro, local residents Norman and Barbara Happ said the crossing is very dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists and they are happy to see it being addressed.

“I can’t imagine anything being safer than the bridge, but at least with the [at-grade crossing] you could be seen,” Norman said. “With the Bikeshare coming in on the south side, there are going to be a lot more people using this.”

FCDOT will continue to collect comments on the project through Friday, Sept. 29. Those comments can be made online; by writing the FCDOT Bicycle Program at 4050 Legato Road, Suite 4050, Fairfax, VA 22033; or by calling 703-877-5600.

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Bikers on W&OD Trail Plagued by Unexpected Problem: Tacks

Rides on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail in recent days have been damaging for some bicyclists, as tacks spread on the path in the Herndon area have disabled bikes.

Bernard Kocis, service manager at Green Lizard Cycling in downtown Herndon, said he’s had to fix about 10 flat tires in the past two days because of the issue.

“That’s just people who have come in,” Kocis said. “How many people have fixed their own or called for a ride or whatever, I don’t know.”

The Reston Bike Club is warning its social media followers of the concern.

There has been a rash of tacks on the W&OD west of Herndon, causing many flats. W&OD Maintenance has gone out…

Posted by Reston Bike Club on Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In a comment on Reston Bike Club’s Facebook page, Green Lizard owner Beth Meyer said a majority of the tacks were reported to be in the area of the trail between Ferndale Avenue and Crestview Drive in Herndon. A moderator for the Bike Club’s page said they have been noted as far out as the Pacific Avenue crossing in Sterling, which is just west of Route 28.

“All the tacks look the same,” Kocis said, adding that while he rode into work on that area of the path Monday, he didn’t suffer damage.

Karl Mohle, park manager for the W&OD Trail, said a crew was sent out Monday afternoon with a magnetic sweeper in the effort to capture as many of the tacks as possible.

“They went down the trail and swept it clear, [and] we’re going to check it out almost daily,” Mohle said. “I don’t know if this is just a one-time, kind of high-school thing, or what.”

Mohle said that in his 10 years on the job, this is the first time he has heard of such an incident on the trail, which runs 45 miles from Purcellville in Loudoun County to Shirlington in Arlington County. Kocis also said this is an abnormal occurrence that is causing undue heartache to riders.

“[The bikers] are not happy when they have to have a tack pulled out of their tire and have to pay for service to have it repaired,” he said. “It’s an irritant, and people are riding bikes to have fun.”

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