Bicycle advocates are pushing for the adoption of a master plan for cycling in the Tysons Corner area. The plan makes several recommendations for encouraging bicycling as a viable alternative form of transportation in the area.
“The Master Plan will be a roadmap for creating better conditions for bicyclists in Fairfax County over the next 10-15 years,” Bruce Wright, chairman of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, said in an email.
The plan, which was sponsored by Fairfax County, splits its recommendations into five different categories that focus on both infrastructure improvements and ways to encourage new riders.
“Children and adults need to learn how to ride safely through bicycle safety classes in school and other venues, and police need to enforce traffic laws to reduce speeding and dangerous behavior by motorists and bicyclists,” Wright said. “We also need better knowledge of how many people currently ride and whether that number is changing over time, and there need to be concrete goals that are evaluated on a regular basis.”
The plan is meant to provide a roadmap for how best to improve bicycling prior to the opening of the Silver Line Metro stations in December of this year.
“Both Supervisors Hudgins and Smyth recommended that a bike plan be created for Tysons before trying to plan the entire county,” said Wright.
Proposed infrastructure projects include paths directly to Silver Line stations, and available bike facilities, as well as improvements to existing roads.
“I think the most difficult part of the plan was how to fix major roads, often referred to as major arterials, such as Routes 1, 7, 28, 50, and 123,” said Wright. ”There are various possible treatments depending on how the adjacent areas develop in the future. Some advisory committee members wanted more specific recommendations for these roads. They are a major challenge in creating a safe, connected bicycle network.”
In 2006, the county created an initiative to incorporate bicycling into many of its planning objectives and studies.
“The initiative included creation of the bicycle program, including hiring of the bicycle coordinator, production of the bicycle route map, and development of some on-road bike routes,” said Wright. “From looking at the route map it’s clear there are several areas where there were no safe ways to connect safe bike routes. Creating a connected bicycle network is one of the goals of the plan, which would help close those gaps.”
“County staff who developed the plan have been worked long hours and attended many meetings in helping to create the plan,” Wright said. “The plan is in draft form so there has not been much feedback from elected officials yet. There have been two presentations to the Planning Commission and feedback was mostly positive.”
The master plan must be approved by the county planning commission and board of supervisors before it is fully incorporated as county policy.
“FABB is hopeful that the plan will be approved by the Planning Commission early this spring and by the Board of Supervisors this summer,” said Wright.
Both the Tysons Corner plan and the countywide bicycle plan will go before the county planning commission and board of supervisors later this year.