FABB’s president has sent the following letter to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) regarding the Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), which allocates public funds to highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian, and public transportation projects. Watch our social media for future posts about showing your support to the CTB for Northern Virginia (NOVA) bicycling projects during the public comment period running through May 24, 2023.
My name is Bruce Wright, President of Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB). The following are comments for the May 1 NOVA public meeting on the Draft Fiscal Year 2024 – 2029 SYIP and for new projects valued in excess of $25 million:
1. We support bicycle and pedestrian projects in Fairfax County and City in the SYIP. In Fairfax County in 2022, 48% of all traffic fatalities were pedestrians. Until that number decreases, there is a strong argument to be made that 48% of transportation funding should be devoted to creating safer conditions for those vulnerable road users. Many of those fatalities occurred on primary roads in urbanizing areas. That is the price we are paying for prioritizing the fast movement of motor vehicles over safety for all road users. Additional funding could help tame those roads in such a way that motorized traffic flows efficiently at a reasonable speed while allowing safe movement for pedestrians and cyclists.
2. Bicycle facilities in Fairfax County, trails, on-road bike lanes, and other facilities, are in dire need of proper maintenance. Some funding has been allocated in the past to repave the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, but little has been done to maintain the many other miles of VDOT-owned trails. Fairfax County has by far the most paved VDOT trails in Virginia. FABB recommends that dedicated funding be allocated for paved trail maintenance and sweeping and other maintenance of on-road bike facilities. We also recommend hiring a NOVA District Trails Coordinator to oversee inventory and maintenance of those facilities.
3. We urge you to fully support the NOVA Bicycle/Pedestrian Network Study that is getting underway. We do not currently have a safe, connected bicycle network in Fairfax County. This study will help identify a prioritized list of needed improvements along with planning estimates for implementation. We urge you to also plan on allocating dedicated funding for those priority improvements.
4. Regarding the meeting format, we regret not having the opportunity to provide our comments virtually. COVID is still a concern for those of us living with vulnerable people and the pandemic proved that virtual meetings work. In the future I recommend that provisions be made to allow live virtual comments.
Bruce Wright, President, Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling