This is the bikes@vienna mission, as stated on our home page: “We want people to use a bike to have fun, to exercise for good health, to save money, and to protect the environment” In order to accomplish that mission, people need safe, convenient facilities where they can ride their bikes. We have joined with a group of people in Fairfax County to press for better bicycling conditions in the county. We call ourselves Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), and we are affiliated with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).
FABB has been meeting with county supervisors and staff to discuss several specific measures that are needed to improve cycling conditions: 1) a bicycle coordinator position in the county; someone who is responsible for ensuring that all transportation projects accommodate cyclists. 2) a bicycle map; showing the locations of roads that are bicycle-friendly and showing paved trails, and 3) a network of on-road bike routes; either dedicated bike lanes or signed bike routes where roads have wide curb lanes or paved shoulders.
Our work is paying off. At the December 5 Board of Supervisors meeting “Chairman Connolly moved that the Board direct staff from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning and Zoning to report with a list of recommendations to better incorporate bicycle facilities as part of the transportation infrastructure”. You can read the summary of the motion on the county Web site (search for “bicycle”), or read the article in the Washington Post (Supervisors Seek Bike Policy Update, Cross County Trail to Open Dec. 17, By Jacqueline L. Salmon, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, December 8, 2005; Page VA03).
During our meeting with Chairman Connolly, he invited FABB to attend the opening of the Cross County Trail on Dec. 17. Several FABB members were able to attend. John, Kerie Hitt, Hunter McCleary, and I rode from bikes@vienna. Douglas Stewart, the FABB chairman, and his family joined us there. John showed us a great route from Vienna on Cottage St. to right on Gallows Rd., past the Dunn Loring Metro station, down Gallows Rd. to right on Woodburn Rd. near the Beltway. We took Woodburn south then turned left on Guinevere Dr., then right on Saxony Dr. to Camelot Dr. where the trail head was located for the ribbon cutting. Gallows Rd. was not bad at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday. I've heard that several cyclists use Gallows to ride north from the Springfield area.
I'm compiling a map of routes that cyclists use and will add some of those roads to the map. Three of the Board supervisors were present at the ribbon-cutting. Most of us were able to speak to one or more of them, to let them know we were there and to thank them for their support. All of the supervisors said that they appreciated the many the letters that cyclists had sent thanking them for their recent Board action.
This is a very optimistic time for cyclists in the county. However, our work is really just beginning. We’ll need to show up at budget hearings to ask for funds to implement the new policy, and we’ll need to work closely with the Board and with staff to ensure that the goals we’ve set are accomplished. If you want to help, let us know (b r u c e (at) b i k e s a t v i e n n a .com).