- FABB wants local riders to complete a survey by next Monday, October 2, 2023, to make sure bike facilities are included in planning for the proposed 495 Southside Express Lanes (add your comments to Question 5).
Earlier this month, FABB representatives attended the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)-hosted virtual meeting about the 495 Southside Express Lanes Study. The project, if adopted, would extend the Express Lanes system on the southern section of the Capital Beltway (I-495) by 11 miles from the Springfield interchange (I-95/I-395/I-495) in Fairfax County, Virginia, across the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, to the MD 210 interchange in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
FABB is not in favor of the overall project, but, should it become a reality, we want the plans to include biking infrastructure that would actually help with reducing congestion and pollution by creating other viable and safe travel options.
Nick Nies, a VDOT environmental manager in Richmond, commented that bicycle and pedestrian facilities will be included in all alternatives being considered pending the public comments received in the next few weeks. In her respons to two bicycle related questions, Michelle Shropshire, the VDOT project manager, was less than encouraging.
Even though it is early in the planning process, we need bicyclists to Speak Up! and remind VDOT that safe and comfortable trails must be included in the analysis of all alternatives. Bicycle facilities should not be an after-thought or given a lower priority since they are not revenue producing.
Don’t wait! Act now and encourage VDOT to include bike facilities as part of the 495 Southside Express Lanes project.
In addition to the survey, you can send comments by October 2 to [email protected].
The more comments VDOT receives about the need for bicycle facilities the more likely VDOT will build a quality trail rather than depending on others to build and fund a recreational trail. With the I 66 Parallel Trail, FABB members made their voices consistently heard early in the process and we got results. Let’s do it again and make bicycling better in Fairfax County!