Are you interested in learning how to help make Prince William County and Manassas more bike-friendly? Would you like be a more effective advocate? Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB) have opened up their FREE Bicycle Advocacy Workshop to be held on Saturday, Feb 4, 2017 to interested residents from Prince William County.
Bicycle Advocacy Workshop
Saturday, February 4, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield
On February 4th, the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling is a offering an advocacy workshop to provide you the basic tools and strategies needed to help make bicycling better in your community. Learn how to build a successful advocacy plan, identify key local decisionmakers, and familiarize yourself with helpful online advocacy tools. There is no charge for the workshop, but participants are asked to pre-register by January 29, 2017.
Workshop presenters are local citizens with a proven record of leading advocacy campaigns including FABB members Sonya Breehey, Bruce Wright, and Alan Young, and Fionnuala Quinn of The Bureau of Good Roads. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Catherine Hudgins will also be joining us.
Photo courtesy of Mike Beaty
Good afternoon. I’m Allen Muchnick, a board member of both the Virginia Bicycling Federation and Active Prince William. Active Prince William was founded one year ago to advance bicycling, walking, and public transportation in Prince William County and greater Manassas.
For the past eight years, the Virginia Bicycling Federation has sought to improve justice for bicyclists injured by negligent motorists. As a result, the General Assembly has modified Virginia’s traffic laws to finally prohibit motorists from following or passing a bicyclist too closely and from carelessly opening the driver’s door of a parked vehicle into the path of approaching traffic. While we appreciate these long-needed changes, more must be done to hold careless and distracted motorists accountable for their negligence.
Last year, Senator Surovell and Delegate Sullivan each introduced bills to charge a careless or distracted motorist with a Class 1 misdemeanor and to suspend their driver’s license for one to three years if their negligence is “the proximate cause of serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user.” Although both bills died in committee last year, we are pleased that both legislators will file similar bills this year. Delegate Sullivan’s new bill is HB 1633. We ask the entire Prince William County delegation to endorse both bills as co-patrons.
Distracted driving due to handheld electronic devices has been a growing cause of traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths for well over a decade. We strongly support Senator Surovell’s SB 860, which would generally prohibit the manual operation of a handheld personal communications device while driving a motor vehicle and would establish a reckless driving charge if a violation of this new prohibition is concurrent with an additional traffic offense or if the violation results in a crash. We ask the Prince William County delegation to strongly support this bill as well.
Senator Surovell has also prefiled a bill to establish a reckless driving charge for motorists who pass, or attempt to pass, another vehicle by driving in a bicycle lane. We fully support that bill and would also support a reckless driving charge when a motorist passes another same-direction-motorist who is stopped at a marked crosswalk for pedestrian or bicycle traffic.
In 2015 and 2016, bills were filed to not reduce highway maintenance payments to municipalities that have implemented road diets, whereby the space occupied by one or more conventional travel lanes is reallocated to create one or more bike lanes. Road diets are widely used, including in Northern Virginia, to effectively retrofit bike lanes while simultaneously improving a road’s capacity and safety for motorists; they should not be discouraged with counterproductive disincentives. We expect Delegate Villanueva to carry the road diet bill this year, and we ask you to endorse it as co-patrons. Cities, including Manassas and Manassas Park, would benefit significantly from this legislation.
Thank you for considering my requests, and best wishes for a productive legislative session.
The Route 234, Dumfries Rd, bicycle and running trail is set to be extended from its current Eastern end point at Golf Club Dr, the main entrance to Montclair. The project will extend the trail for more than an additional mile, past the Brittany Residential Community down to Talon Dr just past the 7-Eleven. The trail extension will link Montclair, Brittany, and Four Seasons communities to Fortuna Plaza enabling thousands of people to bike and walk to shopping and restaurants that are currently accessible only by car.
The project will expand options for outdoor activities in the area, connect more people to the unofficial North entrance to Prince William Forest Park (near Waterway Dr), and improve access to a number of PRTC bus stops along Route 234, making it safer to walk or bike to transit in this area of the county.
Construction of the Route 234 trail extension should begin next year and is planned to be completed by Spring of 2018.
Prince William County DOT has plans for a future extension that will complete the trail all the way to Route 1, Jefferson Davis Highway. The completion of the trail to Route 1 is not yet funded, but PWC DOT has worked with the regional Transportation Planning Board (TPB) to get the project on the unfunded pedestrian and bicycle priority projects list to receive funding as soon as it is available.
The Google Map below shows the new trail section being constructed (in purple), and existing sections of the trail (in green). Lines in red in the map are future potential projects.
Do you want to ride off-road in Prince William County?
Here’s an opportunity to learn more about where to ride, what is happening with mountain biking in Prince William County, and enjoy some beer from a local brewery.