• Plan now to Speak Up for better bicycling infrastructure on the two parkways.
  • Attend virtual community meetings or fill out online surveys.

FABB encourages area riders to participate in the third and final round of community meetings hosted by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) on the Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Alternatives Analysis and Long-Term Planning Study. The meetings will be held online to avoid potentially exposing participants to the COVID-19 virus and are scheduled for:

Registration is required. Follow these step-by-step process instructions for registration, logging in, and participating in the meeting. Presentation materials, display boards of maps and other information, and the study survey will be available soon. Comments and surveys will be accepted through Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.

Local riders may recall that over the last two years FCDOT has examined the current deficiencies and future needs along the 31-mile corridor between Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) in Herndon to Route 1 (Richmond Highway) in Alexandria. The goal was to develop improvement strategies and test the Preliminary Alternatives recommendations that will be presented this summer.

The upcoming meetings and survey are another opportunity to tell FCDOT that more and better bicycling infrastructure needs to a part of the final recommendations. Wider roads will not fulfill the county’s transportation needs and will not improve commuting efficiency. Fairfax County needs more and better multimodal transportation options to get people out of cars to reduce congestion and all of its ill effects.

Although FCDOT says that the Parkways Analysis is a multimodal study that considers the future needs of both bicyclists and pedestrians, its study’s goals are heavily weighted toward serving commuters in motor vehicles. In addition, the study does not focus on specific design issues of existing/proposed crossings and is not used as a method for changing speed limits that might benefit riders and walkers.

On the plus side, the two previous rounds of community meetings, public comment, and online surveys showed that some of the most popular strategies for evaluation were those representing bicycle and pedestrian enhancements. Let’s build on this momentum!

The process is long, but we need to make our voices heard through to its completion. After FCDOT gets the upcoming round of feedback, it plans to test these preliminary recommendations in its transportation models to ensure that the recommended improvements address future demand/commuter needs. FCDOT will present the final recommendations to the Board of Supervisors this winter. Once the Board of Supervisors have endorsed the study, FCDOT will propose amending the Comprehensive Plan in Spring 2021with plans for near- and long-term implementation.

Please plan now to participate in the meetings. At a minimum, fill out the surveys when they become available to Speak Up for better bicycling infrastructure.

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