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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bicycling improvements considered for Little River Turnpike

A service road on Little River Turnpike by Medford Drive.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has $7.35 million to spend on bicycling improvements along Little River Turnpike and is seeking public input on what should be done.

Currently, bicyclists along the LRT corridor traverse a mix of paved shoulders, sidewalks, trails, parking lots, and frontage/service roads. “The goal is to create a connected network where everyone feels safe,” said Adam Lind, FCDOT bicycle coordinator, at a community meeting on the project May 17 at Annandale Terrace Elementary School.
Local residents write comments on a map of the Little River Turnpike corridor.
The study area extends for seven miles between Picket Road on the City of Fairfax line and Beauregard Street in Alexandria.

At this point, FCDOT is seeking public input on where access for bicyclists needs to be improved along LRT.  “We want to know where you have problems and what is your vision for the corridor,” said project consultant Adam Vest, a senior engineer with Kittelson & Associates.

There will be another public meeting in September and a “pop-up meeting” in June, where county officials will speak to people they encounter along the corridor. Residents can also submit comments on an online interactive map.

Possible improvements could include sharrows on service roads (with road markings indicating a lane is shared by vehicles and bicyclists), bike lines indicated by road striping, buffered bike lanes with road markings separating them from traffic, protected bike lanes with a structure between the bike lane and traffic lanes, two-way bike lanes, elevated bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and crosswalks. 

Some of the simpler improvements could be done in 2018; the more extensive projects would take four or five years.

The county’s comprehensive plan calls for widening LRT between the beltway and John Marr Drive, but there’s been no decision about when that might happen, and no funds have been budgeted other than for an environmental study.

FCDOT doesn’t want to spend money on bicycling projects that might be torn out in a few years if LRT is widened, Lind said. As a result, it might focus on putting in less complicated projects, that just involve striping, for example, in the area that could be widened.

In a separate project, bike lanes and other improvements for bicyclists are scheduled to begin this summer in conjunction with VDOT repaving in Annandale along Evergreen Lane, Patriot Drive, McWhorter Place, John Marr Drive, Ravensworth Road, Heritage Drive, and Markham Street.

In addition, several pedestrian improvements have been funded along the corridor, including crosswalks at Old Columbia Pike, a walkway on the north side of LRT near Roberts Avenue, a walkway between Hillbrook Drive and Little River Run, and a walkway on the south side between Columbia Road and Mayhunt Court.


  1. For the love of God just repave Old Columbia Pike and I swear I won't care what else you waste your money on after that.

    1. how about more speed tables instead? I'm concerned people may be driving too fast.

    2. :) Old Columbia Pike is scheduled for this year. See this Northern Virginia Paving Program link for which roads are scheduled.

    3. My day care lady told me it was getting repaved and I couldn't believe it. She also said there is frequently a speed trap on that road...who the F is capable of speeding?

    4. Adam, as a resident of that road, my neighbors who claim that they see people whizzing by at 60 MPH are positively batsh!t crazy. More often, people are going 10 MPH so as to not completely wear out the suspension on their cars.

    5. IIRC there was already a community vote about speed tables, FCDOT study of speeds (which were VERY high) and FCDOT plans to install speed tables.

    6. I "may" have gone 60MPH down that road on my dirt bike, so your neighbors complaints might not be totally unfounded.

    7. My recollection from the hearings before installation of speed humps on Old Columbia was that VDOT found drivers speeding at about 36 mph, despite the 25 mph speed limit. The speed humps and potholes have clearly slowed down cars from that high average speed. Let's hope VDOT keeps the speed humps to keep the neighborhood viable for people who walk and ride bicycles. According to information at

      about 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling 20 mph, about 40 percent for vehicles traveling 30 mph, about 80 percent for vehicles traveling 40 mph, and nearly 100 percent for speeds over 50 mph.

  2. Evergreen lane is pretty terrible too, the lane markings were eaten by potholes.

  3. Most side and connecting roads in Annandale are in line with those in a war zone. Nothing but potholes and refilled pavement bumps. I find it laughable to be discussing riding bicycles on these crappy side roads.

    1. You can laugh, but I ride the side roads on a bike all the time and they are plagued by entitled drivers who insist on going 50 miles per hour just to have a shortcut to the Beltway or Best Buy. Bicycles don't cause potholes. Cars and trucks do. Where else are taxpayers supposed to ride bicycles in the current environment? The main roads? Bicycles are an actual form of transportation for more and more people, not just a toy to be used on the weekend.

    2. I used to ride in Annandale. The poor conditions were one reason we ended up moving elsewhere. Improved biking conditions would help many.

  4. I'm skeptical about spending money on bicycle infrastructure, and here's why. Every day after work, I drive home along Eisenhower Avenue. A beautiful, wide bike path was built right next to Eisenhower Ave, yet the cyclists for some reason refuse to use it and instead pedal along at 20 MPH in the right lane of the 35 MPH road, so the rest of us get to use 1 lane instead of 2... DURING RUSH HOUR. What a selfish thing to do, worsening the rush hour experience of so many people. Daily I am reminded that if you build them a beautiful bike path parallel to the road, they will not use it. So why waste the dollars on it?

    If ever I saw a whole stack of cars lined up behind me forced to slow from 35 MPH down to 20 MPH, I would feel horrible about the inconvenience I was causing. It's probably the same psychosis as when people hop on a Metro train and spend the whole trip standing in front of the doorway, oblivious to the 50 people they are inconveniencing at each stop. Or those people who use their shopping cart AND their body to completely block an entire grocery store aisle... consistently. And your approaching their blockade somehow doesn't inspire them any notion of moving either their body or their cart. Cyclists knowingly reducing a whole travel lane (one of the existing two!) during rush hour--when a bike path is 6 steps away--are the embodiment of self centeredness. Don't do them any more favors.

    1. As an avid cyclist, I need to remind you that a bike is a legal vehicle on the roads.

      The law requires that you yield giving at least four feet of clearance.

      I've been rising Eisenhower for over 25 years and have NEVER backed up traffic.

      We share the roads. I am also a motorist and a pedestrian. And I am always respectful.

      To call cyclists selfish is unproductive and dangerous because it fosters a lack of respect for the law: to share the road (even when there is a bike path.)

      I assure you, cyclists are not cavalier with their lives - we ride with safety as our paramount concern.

    2. Ditto everything "Anonymous 5/20/16, 1:05 PM" said.

      I commute to work by bicycle at least three times per week. Since I started bicycle commuting, my attitude towards sidewalks / trails / shared use paths / multi-use paths (MUP) for commuting has changed quite a bit.

      Initially, I wanted to stick to MUPs-- I felt safe riding there. However, depending on the MUP, the conditions can be somewhat dangerous and certainly slow. Here's why: walkers, runners, dog walkers, strollers, toddlers, people with headphones, and people chatting with each other not paying attention to what's behind them are all using the MUPs. On a bicycle, I can travel much faster than the other pedestrians. This puts them at risk for a collision with me if they do something unexpected like suddenly turn around (this has happened), move to the left when I say "Passing on your left" (this has happened), or have the toddler or dog dart in front of the bicycle (this has happened).

      In addition, when on MUPs that follow roads, the street crossings can be frequent and dangerous for the cyclist. It requires that the cyclist stop at each crossing and it requires that vehicles turning right be aware of the cyclist on the MUP (they rarely are).

      Therefore, I see the appeal of riding in the road. It's just faster, smoother and results in fewer bicycle-to-pedestrian conflicts.

      Bicycles take up very little room on the road. The width of a person on a bicycle is, what, 24" at best. While the width of a car is 73". In other words, I would say that the car driver is oblivious to how much roadway he is consuming.

      For example. Imagine that you, as a driver, are given the choice to take:
      a) a gravel road with many stop lights and no traffic for 20 miles, or
      b) a nicely paved highway with no stops and no traffic for 10 miles.

      If you're trying to get to work quickly then you will opt for b, the fastest route. If you want to enjoy your ride then you may opt for a. Option a is analogous to the MUP and b to Eisenhower Ave.

      Try getting on a bike and cycling to work a few times. It helps to know the other side. Most cyclists are also drivers, but, not vice versa. If you ever want to try out bike commuting then respond to this message and I will help you find safe routes and ride with you.

    3. the argument cyclists make for not wanting to use the MUP is almost identical to the argument motorists make against a cyclist on the roads. You do see the similarities, right?

    4. Adam -
      The fact remains that bicycles are legal to be on the streets.

      Most of my riding is on the street, legally.

    5. Adam Goldberg, I wrote the comment at 10:54PM and of course there are similarities. But why should roadway infrastructure be designed for and targeted to, almost exclusively, vehicular traffic? Most commuters want to arrive at their destination as quickly and safely as possible; bicycle commuters are no different.
      Denser areas should encourage bicycling as a form of transportation since it's cost effective for tax payers, non-polluting, quiet, healthy, requires less surface navigation space and less parking area.
      If a larger portion of our citizenry participated in bicycle commuting then our region's traffic congestion would improve without the need to spend billions on roadway widening so that individuals could continue to drive solo in their car.

    6. @ Daren, don't disagree with you. Just making some points.

      @ 952, Not that it specifically applies here as our density isnt ridiculo, but roads should be designed and targeted for their biggest customer, cars. Why the hell would we design roadways that are destined to flow thousands of cars a day for anything but cars? You act like millions of commuters are just going to pour out of the wood work the second we start adding bike lanes. Sorry bro but you aren't going to see droves rolling out of Loudon county at 4am on their bikes because they suddently have a straight route to DC.

    7. This is not about Loudoun County, it is about Little River Turnpike. There are already lots of cyclists (some of whom are slow sidewalk users) in the area, and the distance to employment centers in Alexandria is not long. And treating LRT as a highway designed only for cars makes it a less safe and comfortable place not only for cyclists, but for pedestrians. And even for people who want to drive more slowly (not all of us are speeders)

    8. Adam- I didn't make my comment clear. When I mentioned roadway infrastructure, I was referring to DOTs in areas that are as dense as Fairfax County focusing only on moving single occupant vehicles (as opposed to doing more for BRT, bike lanes, pedestrian improvements). When roads become clogged with traffic, the answer that is most acceptable to the general public is to widen. However, that's not a scalable or long-term economical solution.

      One bus can carry 30 to 40 riders, but, the amount of space 30 to 40 cars takes up on a road is quite sizable. Similarly, bicyclists use much less space per passenger. (Not to mention, they produce less roadway damage and are not polluting.)

      I work with several people who want to bike to work but they do not feel safe because they may have to ride in the road. If there were a well connected infrastructure for bicyclists then I really do think more people would bike. (Similarly, if buses came more often and were faster then more people would use them.)

      It makes sense to make our street network easy and convenient for people who want to bicycle, bus, or walk to destinations so that traffic congestion levels will not increase. Not widening roads would save the state & county tax payers a lot of money.

  5. Fast cyclists prefer the road, because riding at 20MPH on a multiuse path (not a bike path!) shared with walkers, runners, and slow cyclists is more dangerous than riding in the road. Or they may be in the road because they need to make a left turn. Also there is a section on Eisenhower, where there are several driveways, and it is safer for a fast cyclist to be in the road, where they are more visible to turning traffic.

    I do however ride on that MUP, and I regularly see other cyclists who do. Not all of us can ride 20MPH, and for slower cyclists, a MUP can be a better choice.

    I will say that the City of Alexandria is happy with their MUP. You, presumably, live in FFX and do not pay anything for the MUP. I also wonder where you think runners and walkers should go in the absence of a MUP?

    I would suggest that if you yourself regularly biked, ran, or even walked long distances, you might better appreciate the utility of such a MUP. And if you biked, you would understand better why cyclists take the lane in preference to a MUP sometimes.

    1. Why is it more dangerous for a fast cyclist to use a multi-use path than a road?

    2. A.Where there are driveways crossing it, they are going faster than traffic turning from the driveway expects to see coming from what appears to be a sidewalk. In the road, a turning car expects faster moving traffic. It is not clear to me if 12:27 is referring to the part of Eisenhower with driveways across the MUP, or the part without.
      B. There dangers of hitting a pedestrian or a slower cyclist on a MUP (or an oncoming cyclist when passing a pedestrian). Not all dangers to cyclists are from motor vehicles.

      To learn more about dangers from sidepaths, look up John Forrester and vehicular cycling (note his POV is more extreme than mine)

      The City of Alexandria chose to put in the MUP, and no on road bike lanes, because there are no driveways for a long section on the south side of Eisenhower. However the City does not ban road riding there, and does not want to. Road riding is legal, and for many cyclists, is the safer choice depending on conditions. No one does it with the intention of slowing motor vehicle traffic.

    3. Ah I get it, you're saying it's dangerous for bikers because they may hit slower traffic...not unlike being in my car on a roadway with a 45MPH limit and coming around a curve to find some dude on a bike taking up a whole lane going 12.

    4. Sure, that is why there is a benefit to grade separated limited access highways. No one objects if you take one rather than sharing the road on Eisenhower. However meanwhile cyclists have the right to choose either the MUP or the road, and the City of Alexandria has no intention of discouraging riding in the road on the MUP (BTW the folks who do that on Eisenhower are usually going faster than 12MPH),-77.0985213,3a,75y,82h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sZesYuMP8_ME0C83Gkmj33Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

      Also, as you can see, the speed limit on that part of Eisenhower is 35MPH, so you probably should not be driving at 45MPH. Also the road is generally straight, not a lot of blind curves.

      Also of course there are two lanes in each direction on Eisenhower, so you can avoid the cyclists by staying in the left hand lane. The MUP has only one lane in each direction. And many pedestrians wander unpredictably on both side of the MUP - including young children.

      I would much rather drive at 35MPH on Eisenhower and share the road with a cyclist going 15 to 20 MPH, than bike on the MUP at at 20MPH and share the MUP with a toddler.

    5. You also seem to have ignored what I said about turning cars.

  6. Until the less than progressive BoS actually gets on a bicycle and commutes to work they will never know the horrors of biking through Fairfax. I bike several times a week to my job in DC and I am in a very heightened alert for my safety until I get to Arlington.

    If the County wants to make Fairfax a desirable place to live then I think they should start thinking more seriously about solid and decent mass transit to metro hubs via bike, light rail or dedicated bus lanes. Fairfax has become a terrible place to live for commuting and a very dangerous place for biking and pedestrians. Its nothing less than a death trap. And because cars remain to be the best viable option for most, the roadways are clogged and more congested exponentially to the degree that the spillover swarms our residential roads and endangers the residents of those neighborhoods.

    The County has two options, make it a taxi cab/white van section 8 mecca and keep taking dollars from a shrinking tax base and throwing funding to an ever more desperate FCPS to support the growing impoverished and in some cases illegal population, or make it attractive for higher paid professionals that will invest their earned dollars and investments in a County to help offset the County's financial burdens and provide a catalyst for the County to improve services and amenities they want and that are needed to attract a burgeoning middle class. This would surely help right size the books so that the County could afford to provide funding for better schools and services. And right now except in a few spotty places that is not happening, particularly in Mason District.

    These meager efforts on improving bike transit lanes are a good start, but most are fragmented, useless for safe commuting and pale in comparison to DC and Arlington County as does its Fairfax's poor metro options.

    Its time for young leadership to move Farifax forward and for the aging leadership to get out of the way for the sake of the County, its future and those that had in the past entrusted them to steer the ship in the path of sustainability and a hopeful future..........and that has woefully not happened.

    1. This is all well and good, and I welcome and support transportation and pedestrian improvements, but Fairfax County will always be further from DC than Arlington or Alexandria. We cannot change our geographical location. Biking into downtown DC from anywhere in Fairfax County will no doubt be a longer slog than biking into downtown DC from north Arlington.

    2. The travel distance is not the issue, people at my office bike in from Reston, because they have access to the WO trail. Its the inner communities that hug Arlington and Alexandria that have btw connecting trails to the WO and Mount Vernon Trails and dedicated bike lanes. The problem is getting out of Fairfax namely Mason, Providence and Lee Districts alive to those trials. Its clear to me and most everyone that Fairfax continues with a mindset of the 1950 and 60s with supervisors born in the 40s and 50s that are totally clueless to the demands of the present and the future. They should just go home and take up needlepoint and go put put golfing. Or better yet, turn up their hearing aids and start listening.

    3. Good points. Although, I disagree that the BoS does nothing for improving the bicycle infrastructure. Having been to plenty of County public meetings regarding such infrastructure topics, I would say the biggest barriers are the Fairfax County citizens themselves. Unfortunately, many (certainly not all) of them are baby-boomers and older. They have never known transportation outside of a car and the thought of VDOT/NVDOT/FCDOT spending one dime on trails, bike lanes, transportation centers, pedestrian improvements, and bus rapid transit to help alleviate traffic causes a huge uproar. It's sad.

      The BoS knows that the cost of maintaining and widening roadways is not affordable. But if the only vocal citizens are those who oppose multi-modal improvements then the BoS will be less likely to make a move towards the future that this region (and Mason district in particular) needs to gain a larger, younger, more prosperous tax base.

  7. To Mr. Shumate, I see you emphasize that your actions are not illegal. Neither are standing in front of the Metro train's door or hogging the grocery store's aisle with both your shopping cart and body and not moving as people approach. Both of those are legal, but I think they exude selfcenteredness. I can't stand the feeling that I, one person, am slowing down so many other people.

    I don't think it makes sense to retool our city's automobile infrastructure for the hobby of a small percentage of citizens, be they cyclists, roller bladers, or pogo stick enthusiasts. Arlington had their "Bike to Work day" last week. Did it reduce congestion, like all cyclists envisioned it would? Let's call it what it really was: "Drive to Work at 18 MPH Regardless of What Speed Zone You're In." Adding more cyclists to the road certainly does not reduce congestion. Quite the opposite.

    1. Anon 12:21 (et al):

      I call this the "striped pants syndrome" or "why do some dogs just hate the mailman."

      I have known of several dogs who will approach any stranger no matter what but will always violently go after the mailman, the guy in the striped pants. No one has ever been able to explain the logic.

      So it is with some motorists and cyclists. You do not know how many times I've had motorists scream at me for "hogging the road" when in fact I am not hogging the road. I've had them swerve at me and I've known several people gravely injured or killed. In fact, there was a terrible case about 20 years ago when a 13-year-old was driving his drunk father home and they encountered three cyclists and the drunk father reached over, grabbed the wheel, swerved toward the cyclists and killed one.

      Explain that ire.

      If you are talking about "exuding selfcenteredness" I'd call this a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

      When does YOUR rush to get to your destination take precedent over mine. Or YOUR rush to get to the white bread selection more important than a mother shopping for the right peanut butter.

      A simple "excuse me" would suffice.

      Arlingon has solved this issue in several places by making the entire right hand lane - I repeat and emphasize -THE ENTIRE RIGHT HAND LANE - a bike lane.

      That's progress.

      So the next time you are in a terrible hurry and you encounter anyone who is slowing you down from your important rush, take a deep breath, put on your turn signal and gently pass around the cyclist.

      I do the same when I'm driving and encounter a cyclist. Or when I'm in the grocery store. Or when I'm on metro and a tourist is standing on the left side.

      Be polite. You'll feel better.

    2. Really, how did we spiral into a conversation about competing groceries carts when we were discussing cycling in Fairfax. Jeez, these non-progressives who don't like change and want to see Fairfax go down the tubes will stoop to the dumbest levels to make an inane point.

    3. How about all of us who take the bus? Buses around here are not permitted, or do not care to move around cyclists, making an already slow bus ride even slower. I'm more than slightly irked when my bus is slowed by a cyclist. Sure, frequent stops help escape the cyclists, but we catch right back up to them a lot.

      But riding the bus, while earth friendly and progressive in many ways, is also for the poor and desperate. Not like cycling, which is for the educated and upper class of the area.

      I'm a fan of giving cyclists a lane or path of their own.

    4. Cycling is for the educated and upper class? Do you actually spend any time in Annandale? There are at least as many working class people riding bikes around Annandale (mostly hispanic men) as there are upper class riders.

    5. To the commentator that noted that cyclists were youthful educated professionals! Knock knock, you must be one of those antiques that voted for the antiques running this County. If you got out of your over padded SUV and got on a trail you might notice that although a large percentage are millennials biking to work, there is a broad spectrum of other users: old, multi-ethnic, women, men and more than likely transgenders too.

      Just tonight on my way home from work some of those antiques chose to gab in the middle of a trail almost got run over by my bike going 22 mph. That is why we need dedicated lanes for bikes, be those on our road or trails. The trails are now being used heavily by bikers, roller skaters, parents w strollers, pedestrians w young children and this has become a challenge for commuting cyclists.

      Now here is a warning for the antiques; should you all continue to say no to progress, no to the County attempting to make accommodations for multi-modal transit and mixed use/housing for the next generation, you will more than likely end up spending your nest egg on FCPS tax increases. This may potentially result in you having to employ yourself in your platinum years selling tortillas from a white van and renting respirators to deal with an oversized carbon footprint.

    6. Did you even read my comment? I said nothing about cycling being for the young. Nothing at all. I am progressive; I did not vote for any supervisor that is sitting in office right now, and I fully support multi-modal transportation, hence writing about my daily public transportation usage, and support for dedicated bike lanes. I bike on local, non-high volume roads frequently.

      Don’t bother to read what anyone is writing; don your spandex and go racing on area trails like every day is the Tour de France. God forbid anyone just enjoy a trail at a leisurely pace anymore; nope, it has to all be a pack of Lance Armstrongs beating each other to the finish.

    7. @Anonymous 5/23/16, 9:27 PM -
      If you're a fan of giving cyclists their own lane then it would be helpful if you would attend public meetings, write to the Board of Supervisors and provide comments on the County's bike project pages in support of such projects. As you alluded to, bike lanes would alleviate travel conflicts between different modes of roadway travel.

    8. Mr. Shumate, you said: "Arlingon has solved this issue in several places by making THE ENTIRE RIGHT HAND LANE a bike lane. That's progress."

      So 25 commuters lost full use of a lane, but you gained full use of a lane, and you call that progress. Did you know that just over 1 in 25 people have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

    9. Anon 5/25; 9:24AM

      Sorry you no longer can wear spandex, they do come in extra large sizes but perhaps that might not be flattering for the Pants Suit Princess/Prince.

      Bottom line, cycling is a legit form of transit and not exclusive to yuppies, hipsters or millenials. If there were more people in support of and using multi transit modes such as bicycle lanes, you may be less inconvenienced sitting in traffic in your over sized and over padded SUV.

  8. Riding in the lane is not only legal, but it is a perfectly appropriate way for fast cyclists to ride. Most cyclists do not want to slow down other people, but choose the road as the least bad option.

    Note - biking is not a hobby for transportation cyclists, it is a way go around. One that has many benefits for riders, for Fairfax County, for the region, and for the planet. BTWD was not sponsored only by Arlington, but by many regional jurisdictions. And yes, cycling can reduce congestion. It means fewer cars on the road, and most cyclists are riding for part or all of their trip in places other than 35MPH roads. I have driven in this region for decades, and it is very rare that I am delayed by a cyclist, and then only for a very short time.

  9. Mr. Shumate, you hit the nail on the head, but unfortunately in reverse. You asked, "Since when does YOUR rush... take precedent over mine?" But that’s what 25 motorists are asking you. You made it sound like the ratio is 1 to 1, but it’s 1 to 25. I think it takes a lot of gall to ask, "Since when do the rushes of 25 motorists take precedent over my 1?" Well, always. The needs of the 25 far outweigh the needs of the 1. So you’re in the way. If I were the one slowing 25 vehicles down, I would feel awful about it. So it’s bizarre that your advice was “Be polite, you’ll feel better.” You’re not following your own advice. It would be polite for you to not slow an entire lane of traffic during rush hour. Our stance is not Pavlovian based like you suggest; it’s Math based. If your happiness comes at the expense of 25 inconvenienced people, I can’t fathom how anyone with a normal level of compassion would not be bothered by that. Especially since you have other options, but “enjoy” riding your bicycle.

    I'd change my stance if cyclists were only occupying the right lanes of 25 MPH roads, but bicycles occupying the right lanes of 35 or 45 MPH roads are quite out of place and slow traffic considerably. The assertion commonly spouted by cyclists that more bicycles on the road would reduce congestion is patently false. As is demonstrated daily, the reverse is true.

    To the other writer, you say the bike path is inadequate due to walkers and joggers, but maybe you could practice what you preach and simply slow down as you approach them just as you want cars to slow down as they approach you. No?

    1. Anon 11:00

      I go back to my "striped pants theory." Some motorists irrationally hate cyclists no matter what. Like some dogs hate the mailman.

      If you encounter a slow motorist, do you express the same ire? What about if a pedestrian is crossing in a cross walk and it slows you down and backs up 25 cars.

      Your claim is selfish and ridiculous.

      I'll repeat: If you encounter a legal vehicle going slower than you, patiently pass when it is safe.

      I have been riding my bike and driving my car on the streets in Northern Virginia for 28 years and I have NEVER seen a cyclist holding up 25 cars.

      Like I said before: be polite.

    2. By the way, when I ride, I do not take up the entire lane. I ride on the right one-third which allows cars to legally pass.

      I'll repeat that bicycles are completely legal on the road.

      As a driver, you are legally obligated to give them space.

    3. "If you encounter a slow motorist, do you express the same ire?" Yes. If I'm on a 35 MPH road and a driver chooses to drive 18 MPH, you, I and even your grandmother express ire at that driver. Doubly so if it's rush hour and changing lanes is difficult.

      "What about if a pedestrian is crossing in a crosswalk and it slows you down?" No ire at all, because being a pedestrian is unavoidable. Cycling during rush hour, however, is a choice.

      "...I have never seen a cyclist holding up 25 cars." You're right, not all at once. But watch that cyclist for 25 minutes, and you will see 25 cars impeded by him thanks to his top speed of 18 MPH. Passing him is not always an option, unfortunately, especially during busy commuting hours.

      "I go back to my 'striped pants theory.'" Whatever comforts you. I see you are immune to Math. May your false theory serve as your fortress of solitude.

    4. It is evident, as you remain to hide behind anonymous, the best you can do is insult.

      "Immune to math"? Hardly. Cars with jerk drivers outweigh me by a factor 20:1. I assure you there is no immunity to the math.

      As a cyclist who is also a pedestrian and motorist, I obey the laws, ride safely, stop at lights, and yield when appropriate.

      You are simply another sanctimonious motorist without the courage to share your name in what you fashion as a "debate."

      Let me know when you are on the road and where: I'll be sure to avoid you.

    5. "Cycling during rush hour, however, is a choice."

      No more so than walking. A pedestrian who happens to own a car can choose to drive instead, just as a cyclist can. You seem to assume that the cyclists you see at rush hour are not themselves commuting. I really doubt many people cyclists choose to do purely recreational rides on crowded roads at rush hour - it is not very pleasant. If they are there, it is because they are trying to go somewhere they need to be.

    6. Mr. Shumate, you say "Cars with jerk drivers outweigh me by a factor of 20:1."

      It is more sensible for 1 person to get out of the way of 20 people, not for 20 people to get out of 1 person's way, no matter how special that person thinks he is. Feeling that 20 people should yield to your desires is self centered.

      "Let me know when you are on the road and where: I'll be sure to avoid you." I don't drive in a way that is dangerous to cyclists. I slow down to your preferred 18 MPH, as does the entire column of cars directly behind me. While doing so, I ask, "What kind of a person would willingly do this to so many fellow commuters and have no remorse?"

  10. "I'd change my stance if cyclists were only occupying the right lanes of 25 MPH roads, but bicycles occupying the right lanes of 35 or 45 MPH roads are quite out of place and slow traffic considerably. "

    Most cyclists do not take the lane on 45MPH roads. And note, when we do, it is the RIGHT lane. You can easily pass in the left lane. There is no reason to be backed up. Sometimes of course traffic is very heavy - usually at those times cyclists can go as fast as cars anyway.

    "To the other writer, you say the bike path is inadequate due to walkers and joggers, "

    I do slow down when I approach and pass them -note though, that the MultiUsePath (NOT a "bike path" on Eisenhower, like most in the region, is one lane in each direction only - it makes passing more difficult and dangerous than for a car to pass a cyclist or slow moving car on a multi lane road.

    The fact is that the County (like other local jurisdictions) wants more cycling. It will overall reduce congestion, it will reduce emissions, it will reduce wear and tear on the roads, it will improve health and fitness, and it will make the County a more desirable place to live.

    In order to accomplish that they will build more bike lanes, multiuse paths, etc. That will reduce the number of cyclists who take the general travel lanes, but for reasons we have explained it will not reduce it to zero. You can ask the County to ban bikes from the general travel lanes where MUPs and bike lanes exist but that will likely not help your commutes much (since so few cyclists do it, and in conditions where cars go much faster than bikes, it is usually easy to pass in the left hand lane) and it will make FFX County look bad compared to other jurisdictions. Might even lead to some injured pedestrians on the trails.

    1. "It will overall reduce congestion." How are you interpreting the word "congestion?" The space the vehicle displaces? Most understand that "congestion," when used in the context of traffic, means slower speeds/longer trip times. I've noticed cyclists misleadingly use the alternative interpretation of congestion (vehicle size), which when it comes to traffic congestion is near irrelevant. If the vehicle occupies a whole lane of traffic, its displacement might as well be the same as that of a Toyota Camry. Only its speed is pertinent to traffic flow.

      I agree with you about the emissions and wear and tear of the roads, though. Very good points.

      "You can easily pass in the left lane." The bulk of my experience is on Eisenhower Avenue, twice daily for many years, and unfortunately, it is very common that rush hour traffic conditions make it difficult to leave the cyclist-slowed right lane once you've entered it, yet the speed of traffic is not slow enough that bikes are keeping up. Each single bicycle slows down many motorists. Doubly frustrating when I look over at the wide open MUP, on which hardly any joggers or pedestrians go. Maybe Eisenhower is a worst case scenario, but it troubles me that an MUP was built, it has very few pedestrians, yet cyclists STILL refuse to use it. That makes me skeptical about building yet more costly infrastructure--that they will not use.

    2. @Anonymous 5/25/16, 3:28 PM -
      If I were to drive on the beltway at 10:30am, 9pm or some time outside of rush hour then I would think, "Why does this road have 12 lanes? No one is using it!"
      People are using that path.

    3. EV, I've made clear that I'm traveling that route during rush hour. Daily. It is a very underused MUP. My sample set is roughly 2,000 trips, so it's not debatable, sorry. But again, I concede that my focus is on Eisenhower Ave, where I experience the frustration daily, and it may well be a worst case scenario that is skewing my perception.

    4. re Congestion - I am talking overall, not that particular cyclist at that moment on that particular lane. Come to the Mount Vernon Trail near the airport at rush hour, there are huge numbers of cyclists commuting on it - if they were driving they would be on GWMP and I395, and adding to congestion.

      Passing - I have driven in rush hour conditions, and it is often necessary to change lanes, and I usually manage to. It sounds like the drivers in the left lane perhaps are selfish in not letting you in? Maybe you should complain about them. Or if this happens every day, just get into the left lane at the beginning. Or perhaps it is actually only an occasional thing?

      Feel free to oppose infrastructure in Mason District. In Alexandria bike lanes and multiuse trails are heavily used, and the City will be building more of them. Oh, and the City will also be encouraging a lot more development along Eisenhower Avenue, so there will almost certainly be more pedestrians on that MUP - and more cyclists, both on the MUP and in the road. You will probably be complaining about the added development and the cars from it that slow you down. Perhaps, since you think people should adjust their commutes for the benefits of others, you might move to Alexandria, so you will not have to drive from Fairfax every day.

    5. @Anonymous 5/26/16, 8:26 AM -
      Fair enough. My observations are based on weekend recreational outings.

      Question: Would you be open to bicycling to get to work? Why or why not? What are the pros and cons from your point of view?

    6. My answer is I would be open to bicycling to work, but only if I knew my choice would not slow down a whole lane of traffic.

      You asked what I feel the pros are. The pros are that I would benefit from the workout; I would be one less polluting vehicle on the road; I would be one less vehicle deteriorating the road surface; and I would save money. The con is that I would singlehandedly slow down a whole lane of traffic. I can't bring myself to do that to so many people. It would feel wrong to me.

    7. @Anonymous 6/2/16, 8:30 AM -
      That was informative to me to read your pros and cons. Thank you for providing that feedback.

  11. "Especially since you have other options, but “enjoy” riding your bicycle."

    I enjoy improving my health and avoiding a heart attack. Look we all have other options - in terms of mode and in terms of route. Biking is a legitimate form of transportation - people do it for convenience, for economy, for health. It is no less legitimate than driving a car.

    As for the numbers, they are low in part because the conditions are so bad, and because we have built our region around the automobile. But yes, we do need to accommodate autos when we design our roads. Most roads in Fairfax and Alexandria DO accommodate cars. I see no evidence that LRT will not do so under any feasible biking improvements.

    1. "I enjoy improving my health." OK, so in this instance you're speaking about cycling as a hobby. Hobbyists have no shortage of first class bike trails, which are great places to go strengthen that heart! And as you say, we built our roads for automobiles, which I agree is a sad fact. I wish we had had the foresight those many years ago to build wider right lanes. But yes, they were built for automobiles, not for bicycles.

    2. No. It improves my health because I work it into my commute. And the question is how we change our roads now. Read above it is about making LRT better for riders - this can likely be done with little harm (and perhaps benefit) to drivers. No, it will not mean ZERO cyclists taking the lane - if you will only support bike infrastructure if 100% of cyclists use it, then fine, do not support it.

  12. "It would be polite for you to not slow an entire lane of traffic during rush hour."

    Wait, what road are talking about? Lots of roads where cars can't go more than 20MPH at rush hour anyway.

    1. I'm talking about the 35 MPH Eisenhower Avenue. Cars can go faster than 20 MPH during rush hour there, but not if they make the mistake of getting in the right lane behind a cyclist, which immediately reduces their speed by half. All the while, MUP is steps away with scant pedestrians/joggers, since that area is mostly non-residential.

    2. Why can't you pass on Eisenhower?

      Also, you do know that Eisenhower is in the City of Alexandria? The City built the MUP to improve the walking and biking experience, not to force bikes off the road for the benefit of commuters from Fairfax County.

      Perhaps you should consider the lovely parallel interstate highway instead - no bikes there.

  13. By the way, the entire stretch of Eisenhower from where the MUP starts to Telegraph is less than 2 miles. If you go at 35MPH (the legal limit) for two miles, it will take you 3.5 minutes. If you go at 20MPH, because you are behind a 20MPH cyclist, and you can't pass at all for some reason, it will take you 6 minutes. You will lose a grand total of 2 and one half minutes.

    1. Again, that's 2.5 minutes you've taken not just from me, but from every other driver stuck behind you. The ratio of cyclists to drivers is 1-to-25. You guys slow a lot of people, but you seem not to realize it. I hope it’s not that you don't care. Actually, when exactly does your empathy kick in? You've already opined that I’m silly to complain when you’ve unilaterally taken 2.5 minutes away from me (already galling how one can be so blasé about that). So at what quantity of time is it no longer negligible? 5 minutes? I should still be happy to give you that much? 20 minutes? 45 minutes? OK, now I’m reaching numbers that would probably qualify a person for clinical Narcissism., so I’ll stop there. I suppose we all have a number. I seriously want to know, how many minutes do you think I ought to happily give you, because we already know your number is higher than 2.5 minutes? NOTE: this would not apply to the very small minority of cyclists who cycle because it is their only option. This is about the large majority of cyclists who do it simply because they "like to."

    2. First off the 2.5 minutes is very conservative, as it assumes you can't pass. Of course you can. Also of course cyclists pull over to allow traffic to pass in many instances, where that is feasible - however like most other road users, including drivers and pedestrians, they generally put their own needs first. When I drive I often see other drivers crossing multiple lanes of traffic dangerously, and have been held up much longer than two minutes by accidents caused by drivers. Also your distincton between no other option and 'like to" is false - you could bike or take a bus, but drive because it works for you. Biking works for many people.

  14. It reads to me as if both most of the dedicated people who ride bicycles and the people who drive cars share a preference for better bicycle facilities to move people on bicycles safely out of the way of motor vehicles. The W&OD trail is a wonderful Fairfax County resource, for example. So the challenge should be to build and maintain excellent multipurpose paths/access roads/bike lanes to move everyone safely. One example of such a path, mostly parallel to Little River Turnpike, would be a trail along Indian Run. That has my vote as a worthy bicycle/pedestrian facility.

  15. A network of bicycle lanes and trails would go a long way in getting more people on their bicycles for short trips (1 - 20 miles).
    As another commenter mentioned, road maintenance is expensive and road widening is very expensive. We all save money if traffic levels can be maintained or lowered by investing in genuine multi-modal options such as bicycle lanes.

  16. The other day I saw a guy park his car in the right lane to let a passenger out, but then those two spent 2 minutes chatting happily while cars came to a standstill behind them. Worst part was this: if he had just pulled a few car lengths ahead, he could have parked along the curb, out of the way. But apparently he thought we all could wait. "It's only 2 minutes, people!" Right? "Calm down, everyone, what's your rush!" Right? Know this: if you have the option to pull your car up to the curb and you don't do it, it's not that the rest of us are being impatient, it's that you're being inconsiderate. What I'm gathering from this discussion is that you either are that type of person, or you are not. At a visceral level, I cannot bring myself to do what that guy did. Maybe you can. If you are on a bicycle going 18 in a 35 speed zone, and cars are stacking up behind you while there is a notably underused MUP steps away, you are that guy.