Our old friend Pat Herity is back, and this time he's attacking the bike/ped project funding in a proposed $100 million transit referendum that earmarks $85 million for new bikeways and pedestrian paths. Since this article is on a small-government anti-tax website, I know that the headline "Fairfax eyes $85 million more for bike-walk projects" is supposed to make me angry, but it doesn't.
Of course they're not only upset about bike/ped funding in this referendum, but all bike/ped funding
The outlays come on top of more than $200 million in bike-ped projects already approved.
Update:Bruce Wright, Chairman, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling says that it is not "on top of" the $200 million, but that the referendum is the means by which some of the $200 million will be funded. The $200 million in mostly pedestrian projects were originally going to be funded using the new Virginia transportation funds. Some people in the VA legislature are saying those funds should only be used for road and transit projects, because bike and ped projects don't "relieve congestion." The county wants to address those concerns and so now the county wants to use a bond referendum for $85 million worth of those projects. It's unclear where the other $125 million is coming from. This sets a bad precedent by caving to the naysayers and making it more difficult for other jurisdictions to include ped and bike projects in their requests for the new money.
That's planned over 6 years. During which time $381 million will be spent on road widening, $155 million on roadway extensions, $66 million on spot improvements, and $195 million on interchanges, which doesn't seem to bother them at all.
One of the more controversial pieces isn’t even in the $85 million package. A $92 million overpass spanning the Dulles Toll Road reserves more than 35 feet of the 59-foot-wide bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians.
I assume this is about the $91.75 million Dulles Toll Road - Soapstone Drive Overpass. I can't find any measurements for the proposed cross-section on that road, but part of the reason is that the car space is so low is that the bridge will not need a turning lane, otherwise it matches the road before and after the bridge.
It is unlikely that the SC project, even if the proposed plan is approved soon, will be constructed this decade....Soapstone, as it approaches Sunrise Valley, consists of two active traffic lanes, with a center lane for turning, plus two bicycle lanes. This represents a cost advantage for the actual crossing bridge over the DTR, since it will only need to consist of two lanes (no turns on the bridge), two bicycle lanes and one shared use path. it will only need to consist of two lanes (no turns on the bridge), two bicycle lanes and one shared use path.
About the bike-walk projects,
“This doesn’t make any more sense than a $1 million bus stop,” Supervisor Pet Herrity said
That's a pretty low bar, it's got to make more sense than that right?
Herrity said he supports “reasonable bicycling projects,” but he told Watchdog.org the county’s plan is a bridge too far.
“We’re looking to spend more than we can possibly utilize,” he said, pointing to plans for a 10-foot pathway near the Lorton landfill. “It’s in the middle of nowhere.”
They even try to undermine it with the words of an actual cyclist
“Bike lanes (between roadways and curbs) become debris collectors,” said Dan Lehman, a member of the Potomac Pedalers club.
They do become debris collectors, but that's not a reason to not have them. It's a reason to sweep them.
But proposed “Sharrows” — where cars and bikes are directed to use the same traffic lanes — can be flat-out dangerous.
“They create road rage of a different kind,” Lehman observed.
I don't know of any evidence that sharrows are dangerous, or that they create road rage. But if road-rage infused drivers are a safety threat, then the solution is not fewer sharrows.
I couldn't find anything about this referendum BTW. It's not even on the board's agenda for the day they say it is. I will update if I learn more about it. Hopefully FABB will respond.
Update: Here's a link to the presentation on the bond referendum. As I read it, the bond referendum was to be more balanced, as was the state funding. But when the state funding became all roads and transit, the bond was modified to be mostly bike/ped. So it's a bit of a shell game, made necessary by the state and federal governments' willingness to fund roads and unwillingness to fund bike/ped projects.