September 13, 2006 Minutes - Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Meeting Minutes - September 13, 2006

Fairfax County Trails and Sidewalks Committee

Members Present.

Wade Smith (Dranesville), Bruce Wright (Hunter Mill), Robert Michie (Lee), Peter Christensen (Mount Vernon), Roy S. Brooks (Mason), Michael Shannon (Springfield), Dan Iglhaut (NVRPA), Gregory J. Galligan (At-Large), Jenny Pate (PA), Ann P. Pimley (Fairfax Area Disability Services Board), Chris Wells (DOT), Shen-Jieh Leu (DPZ)

Staff Present.

Sheng-Jieh Leu (DPZ), Chris Wells (DOT), Charlie Strunk (DOT)


Fatemeh Allahdoust (VDOT)

1. Call to Order.

Bruce Wright called the meeting to order at 7:30PM

2. Approval of Meeting Minutes.

July 13, 2006 - Minutes approved unanimously after correcting some typos.

3. Introduction of Charlie Strunk (Bicycle Coordinator).

Charlie took over the position on 20 August 2006 but is still transitioning. Mr. Strunk is a 21 year employee of Fairfax County who used to be the head of Capital Projects. Charlie sees the coordinator position as a “new opportunity”. Charlie Identified the two following issues as Chairman Connolly’s top issues:

  • Bike Map
  • More On-Road Bike Lanes “Bicycle Beltway”

- Mr. Strunk’s office is preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a $350,000 study

Charlie indicated that the County hasn’t been taking care of our trails as well as we should and mentioned the need for signage and maintenance.

- Gallows Road Discussion:

Four lanes divided and not a raised median

Charlie mentioned the issue of Sheehy Ford parking on the trail

Mr. Shannon mentioned that people are walking on the street and that the parking on the trail is doing damage. He also mentioned the need to talk to developers about proffers to make better connections.

Mr. Wright indicated his concern with the police riding on the sidewalk as opposed to the street.

Mr. Smith expressed interest in extending shoulders which might create enough room for bikes. He also questioned Charlie on whether he will get involved in Tysons land-use issues and wants a plan for bikes.

Ms. Alladoust echoed the concerns about not enough space on Gallows to walk.

4. Household Transportation Survey – Jenny Pate, Park Authority.

Study for DOT that was sent to a representative sample of the community. The surveys were mailed to citizens. Jenny indicated that there is a window for the Committee to add input to the report. There weree some concerns voiced from the Committee about being not sure how the data is set-up (zipcodes, tax map, etc.)

5. VDOT pedestrian and bicycle activities – Fatemeh Allahdoust, N.Va. District Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, VDOT.

Fatemeh updated the Committee on a new policy effective from March 2004. She indicated that the current Secretary of Transportation (Piere Homer) is an avid bike person. Ms. Allahdoust also told the committee that the state is not applying policy consistently across the Commonwealth. VDOT’s goal is to provide accommodations across all areas that VDOT controls. She mentioned that an October 2006 report will update the bike and peds plan. Specifically, the Location & Design (LD) 430 Form will add areas for bikes and peds. Fatemah outlined the need for bike and ped elements and how to take advantage of re-striping, patching, resurfacing issues, etc. Many of these issues are in DRAFT FORM at this time. There will be a 0900hrs meeting on October 11, 2006 in Richmond to discuss many of these maintenance issues.

- Safe Routes to School Program was discussed:

Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced on September 19, 2006 the launch of a statewide “Safe Routes to School” program. The program encourages creation of additional opportunities for Virginia children in grades K-8 to safely walk or bike to school.

The program will be funded by $13 million in federal funds through 2009, provided specifically for this purpose in the most recent reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will administer the grant program and begin accepting applications this winter.  Mini-grants of $5,000 will be available for the development of bicycle and pedestrian plans and project grants of up to $500,000 will be available for improvements such as improved crosswalk signalization, sidewalk extensions and trail connections. 

Applications will be reviewed by VDOT with the assistance of a statewide advisory panel.  The project grants will initially be focused on potential model schools.  Priority will be given to schools with existing bicycle and pedestrian plans and a demonstrated capacity to advance improvements in coordination with other local authorities.       

For more information go to the Federal Highway Administration’s SRTS Clearinghouse at

Fatemah also mentioned that Sec Homer was pushing to get a state wide bike map out and that it may have errors but will help tourism in the state.

5. Staff Reports.

Dept of Planning and Zoning – Sheng Leu

Mr. Leu indicated that his office had ordered 500 sets of old maps and that he expected delivery in the next week. He plans to give 10 maps to each Committee member at the next meeting. Sheng informed the Committee about The Millennium Forum 2006-2007. For more information you can contact County Staff.

He also distributed the Trail Waiver Request list and indicated that projects drop off each year.

Dept of Transportation – Chris Wells

Chris mentioned the successful countdown pedestrian head retrofits that occurred at 125 intersections. It was an example of VDOT and FC DOT working together.

6. Chair Report.

Bruce mentioned the 2007 Park Bond and the fact that $5M of the $25M will go to trails. He also mentioned that the Transit Oriented Development Committee was looking for comments at this time.

7. New Business.

Mr. Smith brought up the issue of the Cooper MS and its two missing trail segments. Wade believes the county approved a bad plan He wants a better plan review.

Mr. Wells brought up the question of how does the county tell developers what to build and where? When trails are not designated – what is the procedure?

Ms. Allahdoust mentioned the need to get a plan together for a list of on-road bike lanes in the state plan ASAP. Comprehensive approach is better than doing one piece at a time. She also mentioned that a power line issue is putting the trail at risk on the Fairfax County Parkway.

Ms. Pimley mentioned that October 15, 2006 is White Cane Safety Day. The proclamation was started in 1964.

8. Old Business.

Bike covers question was tabled for a future meeting.

Meeting minutes by Greg Galligan

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