Fairfax County Adopts its First Bicycle Master Plan
Oct. 28, 2014
Fairfax County adopted its first, comprehensive bicycle plan today, meeting the growing demand for getting around on two wheels instead of four. It was adopted by the Board of Supervisors at their Oct. 28, 2014, meeting.
This bicycle master plan maps out 1,130 miles in recommended, new on- and off-road bike routes. These new bikeways—along with the 353 miles in existing bike lanes, shared-use paths and trails—form a connected network across the county. It will allow bicyclists from age 8 to 80-plus to enjoy a safe, easy way to ride.
Importantly, the plan represents a significant shift in transportation planning. It elevates bicycling as a key means of transportation that must be considered when making land use and transportation decisions. The board also formally incorporated the plan’s recommendations into the county’s land use plan when it took action today.
The plan calls for new facilities and infrastructure, including:
- On-road bike lanes, shared roadways, striped shoulders
- Shared-use paths
- Bicycle and pedestrian bridges and overpasses
- Intersection improvements
- Trail access improvements
- Installing bike racks or secure parking at transit stations
These new facilities will take the next 10 to 30 years to install or complete. However, many on-road lanes can be created just by reconfiguring existing road markings. In fact, almost all of the county’s existing on-road bike lanes were installed at no cost through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s annual repaving program.
In addition to new infrastructure, the plan also calls for education programs to:
- Encourage bicycling among the public, employers and employees
- Educate drivers and bicyclists on safe behavior
- Encourage more teachers and students to bike to school
- Train police, drivers and bicyclists on traffic safety laws
Bicycle usage is increasing. In Fairfax, bikers accounted .3 percent of commuters, according to the 2010 Census. This is an increase from .1 percent 10 years earlier. However, county officials believe the potential for bike ridership is even greater beyond commuters.
About one-third of all daily trips in the county are less than three miles in length, a distance that can be easily covered in 15 to 20 minutes on a bike. In the future, these trips could be made by bike when the county provides the safe, connected bike network laid out in its plan.
The plan was developed based on extensive public outreach. Fairfax conducted 30 public meetings, an online survey, and received input from a 26-member advisory committee.
The Board of Supervisors' 6-Year Transportation Plan includes projects from the Bicycle Master Plan. Some projects from this plan will be funded by the 2014 transportation bond referendum if approved by voters on Nov. 4.
For more information, contact the Fairfax County Department of Transportation at 703-877-5600, TTY 771.