April 12, 2006 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Minutes of the Fairfax County Trails & Sidewalks Committee Meeting on April 12, 2006

Members present: Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill, Chairman), Peter Christensen ( Mount Vernon), Roger Diedrich ( Providence), Mary Flowers (Clifton Horse Society), Dennis Frew (WABA), Becky Cate (FCFCA), Paul Johnson (NVBIA), Jenny Pate (FCPA), Ann Pimley (FADSB).

Staff Present: Sheng Leu (DPZ), Chris Wells (FCDOT)

Guest: Jay Guy (FCDOT)

Approval of Minutes for the March 8 meeting: Motion to approve as presented by Pate (Frew, Christensen) adopted unanimously.

Funding Sources for Trails and Sidewalks: Jay Guy of FCDOT gave a thorough overview of the various sources available for Fairfax County. They included:

Federal programs CMAQ, RSTP, TCSP, JARC, Transportation Enhancement and Safe Routes to School under the new SAFETEA-LU Act.

State sources include VDOT Revenue Sharing and their Six-Year State Improvement Program.

Local sources include the County General Fund, Proffers and Bonds. This year’s proposed budget has $10 million for Bus stop improvements and $10 million for sidewalks, trails and street lights. The Chairman’s Bicycle Initiative calls for a new Coordinator position and funding for mapping. It has been several years since the S&T Committee was able to direct (or advise for) spending.

Grants are a possibility and Bruce responded to a question that they should be pursued and to not impose limits on amounts sought. The SAFETEA-LU funds will be difficult to obtain and the rules are still being developed. Bus stop ownership is very complex and if funds for improvements are allocated, there will be a need to do title searches before proceeding.

In response to a question, Bruce and Chris noted that grants for educational programs for pedestrians, especially the handicapped, are a distinct possibility. They could come from FHWA Enhancement or Safe Routes to School programs. VDOT has some SR-S money available, but it is unclear how it will be distributed at this time.

It was noted that schools typically discourage bike riding to school, especially below 4 th grade. There is a view that the bus is safer.

Jay had a four-page outline of the Funding sources and upon Bruce’s request, will look into posting it on the S&T Committee website.

Proposed Amendment to the Public Facilities Manual. Chris Wells discussed material that had been sent to the Committee in advance of the meeting. The general intent of the proposal is to require all ½ acre lots, clustered lots and large lots near schools to have sidewalks on at least one side of the street. It was a matter that had been discussed in the past. It was believed this coming back to us because it had been left off the final Board action due to incomplete advertising. There may be minor administrative matters to correct. No action from us is required at this time and we may be revisiting it at the May meeting.

Staff Reports – Sheng presented a GIS photo of an example of the existence of both a trail and a sidewalk along a stretch of Rt 123. This goes beyond what we normally seek.

An update on waiver requests was presented.

Chris Wells discussed the budget situation, noting that the lack of a state transportation budget may trigger a need to prepare two budgets. Several items proposed in the budget were $700,000 for a bike may, funding for a Bike Coordinator and funds for Bus stop access. We will learn the outcome in May.

WABA recently gave an award to Chairman Connolly/Fairfax County. The County’s annual Street Smart campaign is drawing near. The ads have begin running on buses and other places. It was noted that they don’t mention the handicapped. Chris had been interviewed by Channel 5 and other press.

Chris reported that in the last two weeks, there had been four pedestrian fatalities, and there was no identifiable pattern as to possible cause.

The Bike/Walk conference in Lynchburg is coming up, Chris will give a presentation.

Bike to Work day will be held May 19. There will be even more pit stops this year, including an informal one at Tyson’s Corner.

There was uncertainty on the status of the County Transportation Plan revision. Hearing would be coming up and a map of projects is being prepared, but it has not been available to the public. We may seek a presentation on this at our May meeting.

Chair’s Report. Bruce had gotten a request for more information from Roger Diedrich on procedures. It was noted that this only affects District reps and few were in attendance. Sheng seeks a 30-day turnaround when they come in. The site reviewers decide but they depend upon our recommendations. There is not a consistent pattern across the County and every case can be different, for many reasons. Sheng has a set of guidelines and will send them out. Bruce thought we should have a more in-depth discussion at a later meeting.

New Business – None

Old Business – None

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 pm.

Minutes submitted by Roger Diedrich


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