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Bicycles parked outside the Greensboro Metro station entrance in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County hopes to increase the availability of bicycle parking spaces by establishing a tiered system that sets minimum requirements for developers.

At a land use committee meeting last week, the Board of Supervisors received an update on the county’s Parking Reimagined project, a comprehensive overhaul of the county’s three-decade-old parking requirements.

One goal is to increase bicycle parking availability, potentially by setting minimum requirements for any new construction, change in use of a building, or expansion of an already-existing development. The requirement would vary based on density — essentially the inverse of the tiered system proposed for car parking, which the county hopes to reduce in high-density, transit-oriented areas.

“The minimum bicycle parking requirement increases as auto parking minimums decrease within the tiered framework, reflecting enhanced abilities to use this mode of transportation within higher density and intensity development areas,” county staff said in a white paper. “Overall, minimum bicycle parking requirements are expected to encourage more biking as the community will begin to expect these parking facilities to be [placed] at their destinations.”

At a minimum, any new construction will have to provide two bicycle parking spaces. From there, the number of required spaces will depend on the type of construction, location, and number of vehicle parking spaces.

A bicycle parking space is defined as an outdoor rack or a built storage facility.

Most developments — from apartment buildings and other multifamily dwellings to museums — would need to match 5% to 15% of the provided car parking spots. The denser an area is, the higher the percentage it will be required to meet.

For example, a community swim club located in the Tysons Urban Center would need bicycle spots equal to 15% of the number of car parking spots. If there are 20 spots for cars or other motorized vehicles, there has to be at least three spots for bicycles.

A shopping center in a suburban neighborhood along the Richmond Highway Corridor would face a 10% minimum. So, if there are 100 vehicle parking spots, there needs to be 10 available for bikes.

The potential for increased availability of parking in the county has been met with strong support from local bicycling advocates.

The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling has followed the Parking Reimagined initiative closely since it launched last year and has advocated for bicycle parking requirements from the beginning. While not perfect, FABB President Bruce Wright believes “they are a start.”

“Creating more space for secure bike parking encourages greener transportation, frees up land for housing or green space, and most importantly, is more equitable,” Wright said in a statement to FFXnow. “Requiring bike parking in the zoning ordinance is a major accomplishment.”

However, he said the requirements remain “insufficient” and believe that demand, especially in multifamily dwellings, will far outweigh supply if developers only meet the proposed minimum.

More public hearings and engagement opportunities on the plan will be scheduled for the remainder of this year and into early January.

County staff plan to bring a final Parking Reimagined draft plan incorporating public feedback back to the Board of Supervisors sometime in early 2023.

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A Capital Bikeshare station outside Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County might soon expand its Capital Bikeshare network beyond the Silver Line corridor.

The county’s transportation department has proposed adding 28 new stations, including seven in the Franconia District and 21 additional locations in the Providence District.

This will be the rental bicycle-sharing system’s first foray into the Franconia District, where the Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to install four stations near the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and three near the Huntington Metro station.

FCDOT will discuss its proposal in a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

The county hopes to fund the Franconia station sites with a Commuter Choice grant that it’s requesting from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, while the Huntington sites will be covered by federal money secured by Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

“The opportunity to install stations near the Huntington Metrorail Station is due to the County working with our Congressional delegation to secure federal support to expand Capital Bikeshare to underserved populations in the County,” FCDOT said in a news release. “…Residents who qualify for certain state or federal assistance programs may be eligible for CaBi’s Capital Bikeshare for All equity program, which offers unlimited 60-minute rides with an annual membership of just $5.”

The department will also hold a virtual meeting this coming Monday (Dec. 5) to share an update on its plans to expand Bikeshare in the Tysons area, including to the Vienna area and West Falls Church.

There are currently 30 Bikeshare stations in Tysons and Merrifield after the recent addition of a location at Hartland Road and Harte Place.

According to FCDOT’s Bikeshare webpage, proposed new locations in Providence include:

  • Circle Woods Drive and Lee Highway
  • Gatehouse Road and Telestar Court
  • Hilltop Road & Willowmere Drive
  • Kingsbridge Drive and Draper Drive
  • Mission Square Drive
  • Mosaic District garage
  • Prosperity Flats
  • Providence Community Center
  • Vienna Metro South Entrance

“Since Fairfax County launched Capital Bikeshare in Tysons in 2016, recently completed residential and commercial developments have provided new opportunities to better serve residents and visitors by moving some existing Capital Bikeshare stations to be closer to those types of properties,” FCDOT said.

The Providence District expansion is being funded by a combination of county money and outside grants.

In addition to answering questions at the meetings, county staff will accept comments on the proposed expansions by email (bikefairfax@fairfaxcounty.gov), phone (703-877-5600) and mail (FCDOT, Capital Bikeshare Program, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033) until 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16.

The county also has Bikeshare stations in Reston, where a new one was installed at North Shore and Wainwright drives this fall. Two additional stations are expected at the now-open Reston Town Center Metro station.

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Pedestrians cross the intersection of Gallows Road and Cottage Street in Dunn Loring (via Fairfax County)

Two pedestrian and bicyclist improvements on Bluemont Way and Green Range Drive in Reston were among more than a dozen projects granted funding earlier this week. by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors earlier this week.

At a meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 1), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved $5 million for active transportation and maintenance projects, including $2.7 million for two crosswalk improvement projects in each magisterial district.

The projects were identified based on their feasibility within the public right-of-way and the scope of land acquisition needs, design challenges or utility impacts, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

“The Board set a goal to identify $100 million over a six-year period and directed the Department of Transportation to compile a list of potential projects and develop a prioritization process for implementation,” the department said in a news release.

At the meeting, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn emphasized that more opportunities would be available for additional projects.

“This is the beginning of this process…If you don’t see your project in here, don’t worry about it,” Alcorn said, providing the only discussion on the matter.

In the Hunter Mill District, a refuge and ramps will be installed at the intersection of Bluemont Way and Explorer Street in Reston Town Center. Ramps and a marked crosswalk will also be installed on Green Range Drive’s intersection at Pyrenees Court.

The Dranesville District projects include a refuge and ramps on Georgetown Pike near Bucks Lane by the Great Falls Library. The facilities will go on the west side of the driveway for El Tio Tex-Mex Grill.

A complete list of all the projects is available online.

The funding package also includes $1 million to maintain trails currently managed by the county and a another $1 million for trails maintained by the Fairfax County Park Authority.

The board also approved a $200,000 local grant match that is required to accept state funding for a safety project at Bush Hill Elementary School in Rose Hill and $100,000 for the police department to buy speed display signs that will be utilized throughout the county.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Person walks across a new pedestrian/cyclist bridge in Tysons (image courtesy VDOT)

A new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians is connecting two parts of Tysons previously separated by the Beltway.

The new bridge helps provide a link between the residential communities east of the Beltway to the Tysons Corner Center mall.

“The new bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-495 (Capital Beltway) between Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road/Dolley Madison Boulevard) opened this afternoon,” the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said in a release, “greatly improving bicyclist and pedestrian accessibility, connectivity, and safety in the Tysons area.”

Construction started in August 2021 and was supposed to be finished this summer, but VDOT officials previously said the weather was uncooperative.

“Construction on the first phase of the Tysons/Old Meadow Road Bike/Ped Improvements project began in August 2021 and is now substantially complete, with minor work occurring in the coming weeks until final completion with minimal impacts,” the release said. “The project’s second phase will extend the new shared-use path by half a mile along Old Meadow Road from Provincial Drive to Route 123; final design and construction will occur on the second phase as additional funding becomes available.”

The bridge and related improvements cost $13.4 million, paid for with a mix of federal, state and Fairfax County funding.

The trail has already seem some use from enthusiastic locals. Timothy Barrett, President of the McLean Hills Condominium Board of Directors, emailed FFXnow to share some of the excitement from the neighborhood.

“Yesterday, I took a walk with my dog, Bobby, across the new pedestrian bridge,” Barrett wrote. “I’m president of the McLean Hills Condominium Board of Directors, and we are delighted to have immediate access to Tysons now without crossing any streets! Bobby Barrett was most excited, enjoying a puppuccino at Starbucks on the Plaza, previously out of reach for his little legs!”

Bobby Barrett enjoying a puppuccino (image courtesy Timothy L. Barrett)

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A federal budget plan approved by the U.S. House includes funding for more Fairfax County Capital Bikeshare stations (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new bikesharing station is coming soon to Reston.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to install a Capital Bikeshare station at the corner of North Shore Drive and Wainwright Drive within the next six months.

The county will repurpose two parking spaces for the station, which provides a first and last-mile option to the Silver Line, Reston Town Center and other locations, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said yesterday (Wednesday) in his latest newsletter.

Two additional stations will also be installed at the end of October at the entrances of the Reston Town Center Metro Station.

Overall, the county has 54 Capital Bikeshare stations dispersed throughout Merrifield, Reston and Tysons. Work is underway to expand the system.

The program launched in October 2016 in an effort to make bicycling more accessible to the community.

Options for users include a single trip — which is $1 per every unlock of a bicycle — as well as a 24-hour pass, which is $8 per day, and an annual membership of roughly $8 per month.

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A new county-supported study is recommending pedestrian and bike-friendly improvements in the Huntington Metro corridor, including more crosswalks, wider sidewalks, additional lighting, and increasing shared-use paths.

At a virtual meeting tomorrow (Sept. 14) night, a Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) study – “Huntington Metrorail Active Transportation Study” – will be presented to the public that looked into the pedestrian and biking conditions within the Huntington Transit Station Area (TSA).

The Huntington TSA covers an area bordered by North Kings Highway to the south, Huntington Avenue to the north, Telegraph Road and Jefferson Manor Park to the west, and Richmond Highway to the east.

As the study points out, the area is continuing to grow in density.

“The Huntington TSA has been transitioning from low density to mid density for decades and will continue to become denser,” it reads while providing a list of new developments and projects that will contribute to the growing population in the years to come.

Along with that, the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit is expected to create a “greater need” for pedestrian access and safety in the corridor when the system opens within the next decade.

While considering all future conditions and projects up to 2045, the study concluded generally that the corridor is “uncomfortable” for pedestrians and bicyclists. That’s due to a prevalence of narrow sidewalks, lack of bike lanes, high speed of traffic, and the far distance pedestrians have to go to cross major roads.

“Almost all of the analyzed roads were deemed highly uncomfortable for pedestrians… due to narrow sidewalks, large crossing distances, and high speeds,” reads the study. “It is also worth noting that areas around community resources such as Mt. Eagle Elementary School and the Huntington Community Center are also highly uncomfortable due to sidewalk quality and a lack of pedestrian scaled lighting.”

Three intersections are particularly worrisome due to the crossing length exceeding 400 feet.

These include Huntington Avenue between Biscayne Drive and Foley Street, North Kings Highway between Telegraph Road and Jefferson Drive, and North Kings Highway between Fort Drive and Fairhaven Avenue.

There are also no official bike lanes in the Huntington TSA.

To rectify these issues, the study recommends a number of fixes and solutions.

At the intersections with long crossing lengths, it’s suggested that “high visibility” crosswalks be added with crossing warning signs and pedestrian refuge islands.

Where pedestrian crossings currently exist in the Huntington Transit Station Area (via Fairfax County)

There are also suggestions for implementing for a number of roads the concept of “Slow Streets,” where traffic speeds are lowered and entry points are closed to traffic to create a safer space for pedestrians.

In terms of costs, the study notes that “improving sidewalk quality” is a lower-cost option than adding new or widening sidewalks. The highest cost options are changing road diets, adding new bike and pedestrian facilities, like shared use paths, or subtracting traffic lanes.

Overall, the study recommends potential options for individual streets with a focus on lower and medium-cost options.

For example, on Monticello Road in the Jefferson Manor neighborhood, the recommendation is to fix the “cracked and failing” sidewalk and widen it to 8 feet in some places plus adding more lighting. On North Kings Highway, the recommendations include new traffic signs telling traffic to stop for pedestrians, restricting truck traffic with signs, a new crossing location at Fairhaven Avenue, and a high-cost option of removing traffic lanes on Jefferson Drive.

Besides this study, a number of other planned infrastructure improvements are found in other county-supported plans, including a 10-foot wide path along N. Kings Highway and Huntington Avenue, narrowing travel lanes on N. Kings Highway to allow for wider sidewalks, installing more barriers, lights, and crosswalks, and installing a beacon crossing signal in front of Mount Eagle Elementry School.

Throughout the county – and region – car crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists have continued to be a major and tragic problem. In July, a woman was killed by the driver of a car who hit her while she was crossing an eight-lane section of Richmond Highway included in this study.

There have been 10 fatal crashes involving pedestrians on Richmond Highway since 2017.

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Morning Notes

Ping pong games are underway at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

GW Parkway Rehab Prompts Closures — “Rolling single-lane closures are coming to a busy portion of George Washington Memorial Parkway starting today (August 1) and continuing through Friday (August 5). Impacted will be the seven-mile segment of the GW Parkway between Spout Run Parkway in Arlington and the I-495 interchange in McLean.” [ARLnow]

Wolf Trap Road Closed for Route 7 Project — “Starting on or about Aug. 2 and continuing until Aug. 19, Trap Road will be closed at Route 7 while crews continue to build the improvements in this area. Drivers will use Towlston Road for access between Trap Road and Route 7. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible.” [VDOT]

Patrick Henry Housing Project Advances — “The Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 27 endorsed a proposal to replace the Patrick Henry emergency family shelter in Seven Corners with a new building providing permanent supportive housing. The new four-story facility, called Patrick Henry Place, will have 16 units.” [Annandale Today]

FCPS Mostly Staffed But Still Hiring — Fairfax County Public Schools will interview candidates for teacher and counselor positions both in person and virtually on Thursday (Aug. 4). Superintendent Michelle Reid said last week that classrooms are 97% staffed, and there are “plans in place to address the remaining vacancies” before the new school year starts Aug. 22. [FCPS/Twitter, WTOP]

County Gets Money from Opioid Settlement — “Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) announced July 29 that payments were heading out to Virginia’s 133 counties and cities as the first installment of the settlement with McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health…Fairfax County — the commonwealth’s largest jurisdiction by population — is entitled to 8.672 percent of the latter total, or $352,630.” [Sun Gazette]

Clifton Restaurant Prepares for Reopening — “Nearly three years ago, the decade-old, highly acclaimed restaurant Trummer’s on Main completed a major renovation and menu overhaul to reopen as an American bistro, hoping to pivot from its reputation as a special-occasion spot to something more approachable…Fast forward two-and-a-half years and Trummer’s is completing what it set out to do, led by a new executive chef, Zack Ridenhour” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Herndon IT Company Looks to Grow — “Fairfax County is the ideal location for Herndon-based IT solutions provider Iron Bow Technologies’ new 35,600-square foot headquarters, said Rene LaVigne, president and CEO of Iron Bow… ‘We’ve recently relocated to new offices in February to accommodate our employees in this new era of hybrid work,’ said LaVigne.” [Fairfax County EDA]

Discount on Bicycle Storage Available — Fairfax County is currently offering a 50% discount on memberships for its secure bicycle lockers, which can be found at the Wiehle-Reston and Herndon Metro station as well as the Stringfellow Park and Ride. Anyone interested can use the code FFX50 to get the discount. [FCDOT]

Vienna Youth Players Musical Sells Out — “All remaining shows for ‘Shrek The Musical’ are officially sold out. There are no more tickets available for purchase online or in person on show night. Thank you, Vienna, for supporting the arts and for supporting all those who help make shows like this possible!” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:12 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Construction on the bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Capital Beltway in Tysons will take slightly longer than anticipated.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says the first phase of the project — which will eventually connect Tysons Corner Center and the McLean Metro station via Old Meadow Road — is now expected to be completed this fall, behind the previously advertised summer 2022 timeline.

“No particular reason,” a VDOT Northern Virginia spokesperson said when asked what led to the delay. “But summer weather certainly doesn’t adhere to our timetables.”

VDOT has spent more than half a decade now working to provide a crossing from Tysons East over the Beltway (also known as I-495) for bicyclists and pedestrians, initially unveiling concept plans for a trail along Route 123 in 2017.

However, community members quickly raised concerns about the potential safety risks of at-grade crosswalks on ramps at the I-495/Route 123 interchange, prompting officials to pivot to the current bridge and shared-use path proposal.

Construction began on the bridge in August 2021. With this first phase, the project is also adding a 10-foot-wide path from the bridge, which leads to Tysons One Place, to the Old Meadow and Provincial Drive intersection.

The path will eventually be extended all the way to Route 123, but VDOT is still in search of funding for that phase of construction.

“VDOT continues to work to identify additional funding sources for Phase 2,” VDOT Northern Virginia Communications Coordinator Mike Murphy told FFXnow by email.

The first phase carries an estimated construction cost of $13.4 million, a price tag fueled in part by agreements for property easement and right-of-way acquisitions. VDOT says the cost hasn’t changed with the delay, despite inflation and supply-chain issues driving up construction costs nationwide.

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Morning Notes

Capital One Center on Scotts Crossing Road in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Pedestrian Hospitalized By Route 1 Hit-and-Run — “Officers are investigating a crash involving a pedestrian on Rt. 1 & Huntington Ave in Alexandria. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital with injuries considered life threating. Striking vehicle left the scene.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Suspect in Tysons Corner Center Shooting Denied Bond — “The D.C. rapper accused of firing a gun inside Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, Virginia on Father’s Day weekend has been denied bond. The Commonwealth’s Attorney announced that Noah Settles, 22, was denied bond after a bail hearing was held on Wednesday.” [FOX5]

Herndon Police Officer on Leave After Shooting — “A Herndon police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he shot a man fleeing on foot from a traffic stop on Tuesday afternoon, according to Capt. Justin Dyer of the Herndon Police Department.” The man is reportedly in stable condition, and the investigation has been turned over to the Northern Virginia Criminal Incident Response team. [Patch]

Plan to Restrict Trucks Near West Falls Church Metro Nixed — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will no longer hold public hearings next month on a plan to reroute truck traffic away from Grove Avenue at Haycock Road in McLean. The proposal fell through in the face of resident opposition and news that Falls Church City has already banned trucks on N. West Street, which had been suggested as part of the detour. [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax City Bicycle Shop Gets New Name and Owner — “Trek Bicycle Fairfax is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its store on Fairfax Boulevard at 12 noon, on Friday…The bike shop, which is located at 10937 Fairfax Blvd., has been operating from that storefront for years as Spokes Etc. In March, bicycle manufacturer Trek purchased the business from the shop’s previous owners, who chose to retire.” [Patch]

Merrifield Tech Startup Stretches Legs — MarginEdge Co., which runs a platform that helps restaurants manage their finances, is moving its headquarters to a 23,500-square-foot office above Arlington’s Ballston Quarter mall. The company has outgrown its existing 10,000-square-foot space in Merrifield and hopes to “appeal to a new era of office-goer,” co-founder and CEO Bo Davis said. [Washington Business Journal]

Coalition for TJ Cofounder Appointed to State Board — Suparna Dutta was recently appointed to the Virginia Board of Education by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. She co-founded the Coalition for TJ, which has sued the Fairfax County School Board over changes to the admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. [ABC7]

Lake Accotink Park Prepares 60th Birthday Celebration — “A daylong event will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, for the 60th anniversary of Lake Accotink Park. Members of the public are invited from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. for special cost-free activities. Bring your family for classes, demonstrations, historical guided experiences and much more.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]

It’s Thursday — Rain until evening. High of 82 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:52 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Pedestrians cross Route 7 at Glen Carlyn Drive in Culmore (photo by Sonya Breehey)

For residents of Bailey’s Crossroads, particularly the Culmore area, crossing the street is no small feat.

In some spots along Route 7, it means surviving six lanes of traffic traveling at 40 miles an hour without the refuge of a median or sidewalk, or walking two blocks to reach the nearest crosswalk. Limited street lighting creates an added danger at night.

It’s a corridor built for cars, moving an estimated 24,000 vehicles per day, even though residents of the surrounding, predominantly Spanish-speaking, neighborhood frequently travel by walking, bicycling, or bus, a new report says.

“We have folks who are relying on those means of transportation, but we’re not doing anything to make it safer for them, and we know it’s a problem area for vulnerable road users,” Coalition for Smarter Growth Northern Virginia advocacy manager Sonya Breehey told FFXnow.

Released on Friday (June 10), the report was developed by the nonprofit coalition and the immigrant advocacy organization CASA as part of an ongoing campaign to improve the safety of Route 7 in Culmore for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized travelers.

A survey of 202 residents found that 91% of female respondents and 80% of male respondents walk more than once a week. 63% of women and 38% of men said they walk every day — much higher than the 9% daily walk rate reported in the D.C. region prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walking, bicycling, and transit use among Culmore residents (via Coalition for Smarter Growth)

According to the report, 67% of survey respondents said they don’t feel safe walking, bicycling, or getting to transit, compared to about 10% who said they felt safe or very safe.

While crime was highlighted as a top concern, traffic-related issues included inadequate lighting, drivers not following the 40 mph speed limit and other rules, a lack of continuous sidewalks, insufficient bicycle lanes or paths, and pedestrian signals not allowing enough time to cross the street.

Pushed by the advocacy campaign, which started in response to a fatal pedestrian crash in December, the Virginia and Fairfax County transportation departments are looking at possible safety improvements on Route 7 between Glen Carlyn Drive and Glen Forest Drive. Read More

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