The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is now considering the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget of $4.44 billion, a $156.9 million (or 3.67 percent) increase over the current budget. Upcoming public meetings and Board hearingsprovide multiple opportunities for bicyclists to speak up in support of bike infrastructure and other multimodal transportation improvements.
FABB will be focusing its advocacy this year on for funding to update the Bicycle Master Plan. FABB President Sonya Breehey last month sent County Executive Bryan Hill a letter asking for this funding. She reminded him that when the Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan was adopted, the plan stated: “It is expected that the bicycle network will be updated on a five-year schedule and recommendations will be revised based upon existing conditions and the state of the practice at the time.” The estimated cost of a plan revision is $400,000.
FABB encourages bicyclists and others interested in better bicycling to speak up for the inclusion of funding for a Bicycle Master Plan revision in the FY 2020 budget. You can do this by attending budget briefings in your communities. These meetings started in late February and run through early April. If unable to attend the meetings, you can still provide input to your supervisor through mid-April. You also can sign up to speak at public hearings on the proposed FY 2020 budget at the Government Center on April 9-11, 2019. Finally, you can email your comments to the county budget staff by April 15.
Here are some of the highlights related to bicycling from the FY 2020 budget justification:
- $815,000 is included to provide improvements and repairs to park facilities and amenities including playgrounds, trails and bridges, athletic courts, fences, picnic shelters, parking lots and roadways. In addition, funding will provide for annual reinvestment to 327 miles of trails and replacement of un-repairable wooden bridges with fiber glass bridges to meet county code. FY 2020 funding represents an increase of $50,000 to address trail reinvestment throughout the park system. This increase is consistent with annual increases to county-wide trail reinvestment funding.
- $700,000 is included to meet emergency and critical infrastructure requirements for County trails, sidewalks and pedestrian bridges. The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation are responsible for the infrastructure replacement and upgrades of 678 miles of walkways and 76 pedestrian bridges. Ongoing critical repairs include the correction of safety and hazardous conditions such as the damaged trail surfaces, retaining wall failures, handrail repairs, and the rehabilitation of bridges. The FY 2020 funding level represents an increase of $100,000 over the FY 2019 Adopted Budget Plan.
- $60,000 is included for the “Bike to Parks” bike rack installation pilot project. This pilot project will promote biking as a safe and reliable transportation choice for recreational destinations. The Park Authority will add 60 bike racks in approximately 15 parks and RECenters that are near countywide trails in two high density revitalization areas, Annandale and Richmond Highway. In addition to the bike racks installation at the collaboratively identified locations, this project will include public outreach, and targeted improvements such as adding bike lanes and connections at appropriate locations, and adding signage and wayfinding systems from major regional trails to the bicycle parking locations at park entrances.
Again, please contact the supervisors by attending meetings or emailing the budget staff to ask for the needed $400,000 to revise the Bicycle Master Plan.