Pentagon Master Plan suggests new sharrows, showers and bike parking

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The Department of Defense has submitted an updated Pentagon Master Plan to the National Capitol Planning Commission for their approval. The new master plan is intended to improve security, enhance the quality of life for employees, and address accommodations for visitors to the Pentagon and to the other public facilities located on the Reservation grounds. Naturally, it deals pretty heavily with transportation, and thus cycling and was created in coordination with a Transportation Management Plan. In recognition that "the Pentagon is... located in a busy urban environment that is more dependent on transit, bicycle and pedestrian circulation than ever," and new direction from the DOD's 2012 sustainability goals and Facilities Criteria, the plan suggests several ways to make the Pentagon more bicycle friendly. The main tools they settle on are sharrowed routes connecting to the nearby trails, employee shower facilities and more bicycle parking. 

The Master Plan Update improves the overall pedestrian and bicycle circulation on the Pentagon Reservation by connecting the external trails surrounding the Reservation with routes on the Reservation in order to provide Pentagon employees a clear and direct route from the external trails to the employee bicycle racks and pedestrian entrances on the

In the figure above, it's hard to tell the sharrowed routes from the bike lanes, but basically all the bike lanes are on Arlington roads and the bike facilities on Pentagon property are sharrows. 


What's surprising about this reliance on sharrows is that one of the problems the Plan Update makes note of is the "lack of painted bike lanes," and then they proceed to add zero bike lanes.  The North and South Rotary Roads will also have signage. 

A Transportation Management Plan (TMP) was prepared in parallel with the Master Plan Update to provide a comprehensive set of actions to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality affecting the Reservation study area. While the Transportation Management Plan (TMP) focused on identifying actions to facilitate employee multimodal transportation, the Master Plan ensured transportation considerations were integrated into the wider context of the Reservation Master Plan. The Master Plan and TMP planning processes jointly determined circulation improvements in order to facilitate safe, secure, and efficient vehicular and pedestrian movement on the Reservation for employees and visitors alike.

Currently cyclists access the Pentagon via a combination of two trails and on-street routes, but improvements recently completed and others being planned could change that. The bicycle network also connects to Columbia Pike, and that won't change

Cyclists utilize both of the Arlington County Multi-Use Trails (the trail running along the eastern edge of Route 27 and the Mount Vernon Trail) as well as vehicular roadways. A number of bike racks are situated around the Reservation; the most heavily used are near the Corridor 3 Bridge and at the Pentagon Athletic Center (PAC).

Improvements to the Humpback Bridge and a new shared-use path underpass have recently been completed. Modification of the Boundary Channel Drive/I-395 interchange is planned to serve the proposed Long Bridge Park Regional Aquatics Center and the recently completed Long Bridge outdoor recreation park. The proposed project would provide improved pedestrian and bicycle access to Boundary Channel Drive and the Pentagon building for Pentagon employees.

To the north and west of the Pentagon, modification and repair to the Route 27 overpass over Route 110 is being planned to provide space for a shared-use path and a wider sidewalk. Improvements to the existing Route 110 Trail are also being planned.

Beyond the added sharrows, there are other planned improvements. At the Pentagon's Hayes Street parking lot between I-395 and Army-Navy Drive (which connects to the Pentagon via the longest pedestrian tunnel in Virginia), a new public bike parking facility is recommended. It would also remove some car parking to make room for a bus  drop-off. Facility-wide, the number of employee parking spaces will be reduced from 8,494 parking spaces to 7,199 parking spaces.


There are a few elements that planners think will eliminate conflict areas and make biking better, even though they aren't bike projects per se. These are:

• A dedicated bus lane to and from the Pentagon Transit Center on the outside perimeter of the South Parking Lot commuter plaza will eliminate conflicts between pedestrians and buses accessing the PTC.
• A dedicated rideshare lane with a waiting area will allow for the smooth circulation of rideshare vehicles and minimize conflicts between pedestrians and cars in the parking lot.
• The signalization of intersections along North and South Rotary Roads will allow for safer pedestrian crossings.
• A reduced number of access points to parking areas at South Rotary Road to improve traffic flow and enhance traffic and pedestrian safety.

Other planned bike improvements are

• Coordination with Arlington County to facilitate the County’s installation of a fence and a multi-use trail connection along Boundary Channel Drive and the Pentagon Lagoon that will connect to a signed public bike route from the proposed roundabout on Boundary Channel Drive to Long Bridge Park. Areas north of the multi-use path intersection with the roundabout will be signed as restricted to DoD/Pentagon badge holders only.
• Two new Pentagon employee bike racks in addition to the existing 46 racks.

Finally, the Pentagon received numerous comments suggesting that more employees would bike to work if they had shower facilities available. They did an analysis and have decided that locker and shower facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians will be added within the Pentagon at the bike rack entrances, pending space availability.

What I don't see is a plan to fix one of my pet peeves, the useless, but commute-slowing leftover driveway stub along Washington Blvd. I mean, c'mon man. A little work on the Route 27 Trail (really just a sidewalk) would be much appreciated too. 

Here, by the way, is the current conditions as they see them.


Driver in fatal DC hit and run crash found and charged

In late June, cyclist Burgess Johnson was struck by a Camaro while going to the store. The driver of the Camaro reportedly got out of the car after the crash, assessed the situation and then drove away. Three weeks later Johnson died

At the latest Bicycle Advisory Council meeting, MPD reported that the driver has been found and charged with hit-and-run. Johnson was found to be at fault - after running a stop sign - but the driver failed to render aid. Neither the name of the driver nor the exact charges were reported. 

College Park TOD will update bike/ped Metro tunnel and add bike sharing

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The Prince George's County planning board has approved a 440-unit transit-oriented apartment complex on a parking lot just south and east of the College Park Metro Station. That project will also build a parklet and add amenities for cyclists. 

The development of the apartment complex also includes redeveloping and landscaping the area in between the property and the Metro station known as Brooks Parcel. The vision for the patch of land, north of the proposed complex, is a public pedestrian plaza that will also be home to an M Bike station and the bikeshare program the county chooses to install in the coming years.

Other tasks detailed as conditions for approval by the planning board staff include updating the nearby bike and pedestrian tunnel with lighting and paint, replacing and relocating old and damaged signage in the area, and adding crosswalks through nearby streets.

Commissioner Will Doerner also made two other suggestions for the developers to consider as they go further along in the approval process. He suggested they consider adding a tool station for bikers near the bike share docks and that they consider adding wayfinding maps near the stations as well.

“That would be an obvious place for someone with a bike, who owns a bike, to kind of go and look and see if they could repair their bike,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything when I’ve been riding up there and it’s a terrible incident when you have a flat or something goes down and you just need to fix your bike really quickly.”

Haller noted that Gilbane is well aware of the need for bike tool stations and that a similar concern has come up as they continue to develop near a metro station in Hyattsville. He also said the history of this area of the county will play a large role in the development of the building and said the maps with local sites and places to visit are a great idea.

Other conditions for final approval include plans for short-term and long-term bike parking, restriping the street at River Road and River Tech Court and have a final internal sound study completed to ensure outside noise is not overpowering.

They should also set aside space along the south side of the stream (name?) through the Brooks Parcel for a trail between the Metro and the Northeast Branch trail. Such a trail could tie several facilities into the trail system and create a direct connection to the Metro. 

2017 Trails Symposium this Thursday

Join the Capital Trails Coalition on November 16 for the fourth annual Trails Symposium! We'll learn about and discuss the progress of the Coalition's second year, dig into current trail development topics, and look forward to the year ahead. 

The Capital Trails Coalition seeks to create a world-class network of multi-use trails that are equitably distributed throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan region. Over 40 agencies, non-profits, business improvement districts and organizations are part of the Capital Trails Coalition.  Learn more about the Coalition here.

Agenda is forthcoming. Coffee and lunch will be provided. Please contact Katie Harris, Trails Coalition Coordinator, with additional questions ( 

The 2017 Trails Symposium is presented by REI. 

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
921 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

New Van Buren Bridge will feature bike markings

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The city of Falls Church is rebuilding the Van Buren Bridge over Four Mile Run in Benjamin Banneker Park. A spur of the W&OD Trail connects to Van Buren just south of the bridge and a repair was needed here. The bridge had gotten so bad that the sidewalk had been closed and replaced by a flexpost protected walkway.

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During construction, expected to last until March 2018, pedestrian and bike traffic will be redirected onto the trail

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The Van Buren Bridge project will replace the existing Van Buren Bridge to accommodate pedestrians along this corridor to the East Falls Church Metro. The current bridge has no pedestrian access and has been identified as “structurally deficient” during its annual inspection. The new bridge will accommodate two lanes of vehicular traffic and have a 12' pedestrian walkway on the downstream side. 

It also appears that it will include bicycle markings that aren't quite sharrows. I'm not sure what these are. I guess they're what you go with when sharrows seem too aggressive. "We want drivers to share the road, but in a modest way. We're not a bunch of hippies."

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The crosswalk (which I'll note is not zebra striped) and sidewalk represent a connection between the end of the W&OD Trail spur and the start of a footpath along the south side of Four Mile Run.

Georgetown section of C&O canal could get the High Line treatment

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The National Park Service and Georgetown leaders have been working on a plan to change the C&O Canal from a sleepy back yard to a front yard show piece. The goal is to restore, revitalize and reimagine the 1 mile of the C&O Canal in Georgetown. 

The project recognizes a lot of needs and components, but most important to cyclists are ideas to widen and rebuild the towpath and create more connections to it. They view it as one path, with 8 sections and 5 gateways. One goal is to connect the end of the towpath at Rock Creek with Mile 0 at the watergate possibly with a boardwalk and trail.


The towpath used to be on the west side of Rock Creek, but was destroyed and can't be easily restored. The existing towpath could be widened from 6' in places to 8' with a 4' overhang cantilevered over the canal.


The design also seeks to utilized the Aqueduct abutment, create better plazas, elevators, etc.... There's also the idea of bicycle parking and service station at Lock 1. 

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Where the canal meets Rock Creek, they're also considering a new footbridge. 

That area might be held up by the recent historic designation of the West Heating Plant. The project to develop that was to create a park and trail section.

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Not everyone loves the idea.

Some Georgetown residents, though, are more concerned with what the canal might look like in the future than how it’s looked in the past. At the meeting, attendees were asked to comment on the design concepts using sticky notes. Among some of the concerns they attached to designs: “There is no consideration for the residents who live about the water!” and “Too much focus on space for people — too many people — what then happens to serenity.”

Pelegrin pointed to photos of High Line-goers basking on chairs along the walkway, and expressed concern that the canal would face the same fate: “When you open up a space in that fashion, you’re gonna get a lot of people–tourists–a bazillion people. That’s my concern,” she said. Pelegrin, who lives in a building along the canal, expressed interest in preserving “the bucolic and historical nature of it,” but was unenthusiastic about attracting more tourists the the already-bustling neighborhood.

We moved to a tourist neighborhood, but we don't want any tourists or people around.


OT: When counting votes in Virginia, intent should matter

Sorry while I get a little off-topic. After the 2000 election in Florida, I read a ton about how the recount shook out. One thing was that Katherine Graham at first said that they would figure out the intent of voters, but then (after getting a call from party higher-ups) said that she would count votes to the letter of the law. That mattered because in cases where a voter had selected a candidate AND wrote their name in, that ballot would not count, despite the voters intent being crystal clear. As it turns out, a lot of people do that, and in Florida more people did it for Gore than Bush. Gore's campaign never asked to include these in the recount and so there was no fight over it, but a study of the ballots afterword showed compelling evidence that if they had been, Gore would have won. It was so compelling that Florida changed it's law to allow these kinds of overvotes to be counted in future recounts. 

So, I was looking at how Virginia counts overvotes and write-ins and this (below) is from the State Board of Elections Guide. This is not an overvote, but an accidental write-in for a candidate on the ballot. The intent here is pretty clear. And later it notes that if both a candidate is selected and a write-in included, that ballot will not be counted - even if the write-in name is the same. Again, there the intent is clear.


In the VA recounts, this could swing the election. And it would do so by ignoring the voter's clear intent. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but VA should look to FL about how to do this (I won't say that often). This is a matter of counting everyone's vote - include the votes of cyclists (I had to tie it in to the blog). 


Port Covington Bike Plan

A Baltimore developer is planning to develop an old rail yard on the waterfront and the plan is to make it bike friendly.

Sagamore Development, a private real estate firm owned by billionaire Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, has proposed a plan to redevelop Port Covington, a mostly industrial waterfront area in South Baltimore. 

The bike plan element will encircle the area in shared-use paths, add protected bike lanes and other paths for connections and include something called "sidewalk streets". The last doesn't sound like much to me, but the rest is good. It would also add a bike/ped path to the railroad bridge across the West Branch to Westport, where it could connect to the Gwynn Falls Trail.

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It looks pretty good. The bridge is a swing span, so I wonder how they'll manage that.

Speaking of Baltimore, here's a photo of the new protected bike lanes in downtown. This is Cathedral St & Eager St, Baltimore, MD.

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Photo courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

DoBi - This is kind of a big deal

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Did you hear that dockless bikeshare came to the DC area? It's true. About 3 months ago. There are five companies - MoBike, LimeBike, Spin, Ofo and Jump DC. Some of them operate in Montgomery County and DC. 

Arlington and Alexandria are also exploring opening their borders to the new bike services, transportation officials there said last week. 

Despite the fact that I haven't blogged about this until now, it's kind of a big deal. Like, probably the biggest thing since Capitol Bikeshare - and I thought that was pretty big, if you'll recall (back then I thought a 50-station system was "going in big". Ah, youth.)  Anyway, I have a lot of thoughts on this. 

I think it's a big deal because it will help to fill in the gaps that the Capital Bikeshare model couldn't fill. Jump is bring e-bikes and might expand to cargo bikes. Others have talked of adding child carrying options. Dockless can expand more quickly into neighboring regions and can't more flexibly serve low-trip neighborhoods. There's no dock-blocking and less walking on the back-end. So it has a lot of potential.

And I don't think it represents an existential threat to Capital Bikeshare. CaBi is still the cheapest option for frequent users. $85 a year is a tough deal to beat for daily commuters. In fact, dockless becomes insurance against empty stations. In addition, Motivate is working on its own and I'd suspect to see them add it to the mix, creating a docked/dockless hybrid. We're lucky that the DC region didn't give Motivate an exclusive contract as NYC and San Francisco did because I think this will be good for residents, and probably for CaBi too. 

One thing I'd like to see is PG County get in on this. PG has been slow to add Capital Bikeshare, with the first not coming until 2018, and even then it's only to the north part of the county. But they could add bikeshare county-wide tomorrow if they wanted to. Or at least in areas where it makes the most sense like National Harbor, the close in suburbs and Oxon Hill. 

Theft has been an issue. I've seen bikes that had their hardware damaged so they can be stolen, and I've seen some used suspiciously (kids riding them in a parking lot for 2 hours, a couple in a Hooverville in the center leg tunnel) but that's a problem they're working. Reportedly the DoBi companies are going to meet with MPD on this issue. Jump reports less theft, because their bikes are so big and removing the GPS means removing the motor making them pretty hard to ride, but they have had a few stolen.

Another issue is keeping bikes in the right zones via geofencing. Some people have taken the bikes into their homes (leading companies to show up at 6am and ask for them back I've been told). Others have been left on the Mall or on Capitol grounds, and both are off limits. Using geofencing, companies should be able to fix this problem, but it may take time. Bikes could be designed to alarm if parked in the wrong place or their could be penalty charges or points. Alternatively, points or price reductions could be used to bring bikes to certain areas - crowdsourced rebalancing if you will. Jump is already doing this through the use of "hubs", which work as dockless stations. If a user leaves a bike in a hub, they get $1 of credit on their ride. By incentivizing users to put bikes in these hubs, it streamlines their operations and makes it easier for people without smartphones to find the bikes. 

Parking is also an issue, with some bikes being placed in less-than-ideal locations. We discussed this on the BAC and some ideas being kicked around were DoBi parking zones - painted boxes on the sidewalk and (more often) on the street where DoBis need to be parked  - or penalties for back parking. I like the first, but the 2nd may just be easier with the penalty assessed to require illegal parking. Under DC law

No person shall park a bicycle: (a) Upon a highway other than the roadway against the curb; or (b) Upon a sidewalk; except in a rack to support the bicycle, against a building, or at the curb in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

Break that rule and pay a $25 fine that's just passed on to DC. Jump bikes have a built in U-lock that has to be used to end the ride, so they're more likely to be legally parked, something we should consider when the final permitting requirements are written. In addition, DoBi permit recipients should be required to pay a fee to add bike parking. We're going to need a lot more if we're going to get to 10% mode share and they should be required to pitch in on that.

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I'm most excited about, and know more about, Jump than the others (I've only ridden Jump and MoBike at this point). I'm somewhat bullish on e-biking as a way to help more people bike for transportation and Jump has the potential to remove a lot of the barriers for that (price, fear etc..) possibly even serving as a "gateway drug" to e-biking. I've ridden them a few times and they're pretty fun, though as noted above, not price competitive with CaBi for frequent use. 

Jump doesn't have many bikes in the area right now because they only had a few weeks to get ready between the request going out and the start of permitting in September, but on Thursday they're having a launch party as they increase to 100 bikes. They hope to get to the permitting limit of 400 by the end of 2017. If they make it past the trial period, they'll likely add charging stations at the hubs. CaBi reportedly touches each bike once every 40 days (on average). Jump needs to touch theirs every 2 days. But charging stations will reduce the amount of maintenance they need. Users will likely get credit if they park their bikes at them.  This would also make Jump a dock/DoBi hybrid.

Jump is already learning a lot from their time here. They might redesign the bikes to make the basket less appealing as a seat for a buddy (warning: they aren't strong enough for this), for example.  And they're generating tons of trip data. Requirements to share, or make public, the trip data they generate should also be in the permitting requirements. 

Permitting requirements should also address bike quality. CaBis last an average of 7 years. Not sure if that's a good metric to shoot for, but the bikes need to be roadworthy and sustainable. 

Finally, DC should look at the regulations about e-bikes, especially if Jump is going to stick around. Right now they can't be ridden on trails or sidewalks. Mostly, they don't belong on sidewalks, but it means you can't legally and safely ride one across many of the Potomac and Anacostia Bridges. I believe the Mayor can just waive that in some cases (or we can just rely on good-old-fashioned non-enforcement) but it would be better with a regulatory modification. And since e-bikes don't count as bicycles, e-bike riders remain subject to the unfair contributory negligence provision exploited by drivers lawyers..  

Tomorrow is election day in Virginia - Arlington County Board edition

Virginia is electing members of the House of Delegates, 3 statewide offices including Governor and Lt. Governor, school board members and  some local offices as well. Whatever your party or policies, it's important for everyone to go to the polls.

Remember, the Attorney General race in 2013 came down to just 907 votes; in 2005 Bob McDonnell won by just 323, and Democrats won a Senate majority in a 2014 special election that was decided by just 11 votes. So, every vote counts.

Polls are open 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Where Do I Vote??
Photo Voter ID Requirements

And I almost forgot to publish this (its actually kind of late considering how many people vote early) list of questions - and their responses - for Arlington County Board candidates to replace Jay Fisette.

Audrey Clement

1) Do you ride a bike? If so, tell us about your riding.

I not only ride a bike, I commute via bike, Metro and ART almost everywhere I go, because I do not own a car. I rent cars only to travel out of town or to run errands requiring their use.

2) What do you see as the role of cycling in Arlington?

One of the principal reasons why I reside in Arlington is its network of bike trails and bike lanes that enable safe transit via bike. Cycling is an integral part of my life style, and I wish more Arlingtonians shared it.

3) What should the county do, if anything, to get more people to bike?

The County should conduct a joint ART-cycling advertising campaign to promote the benefits of bike on bus as a healthy alternative to the More Car Diet most residents currently enjoy. One slogan might be: THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO PARKING ON THE PIKE.

4) How would you approach the decision making process on a project which puts two Arlington priorities at odds? For instance, a proposal to build an important trail connection which would require cutting down a large number of trees or a proposal to build an important bike lane connection which would require removing a large number of parking spaces?

As a staunch environmentalist, I am averse to cutting down trees for any reason. Given the tiny footprint of most bike trails, I find it hard to believe that large scale tree removal would ever be needed to facilitate a bike trail connection. By the same token, I am not averse to removal of parking spaces to facilitate a bike trail, provided that other convenient modes of transportation are available to patrons of the parking facility.

5) What work have you done in the past - as an elected official, member of an advisory body, or as an advocate – to promote or support cycling as a mobility option?

As a longstanding member of Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation (ACST), I have lobbied various government agencies, including Arlington County Board, National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) for multi-modal solutions throughout Northern Virginia--including bikes--as an alternative to single occupancy vehicle (SOV) travel.

6) If elected, what do you hope to have accomplished to make Arlington a better place for cycling by the end of your term?

By the end of my term, I hope to have doubled the number of bike commuters like myself in Arlington County.

7) Arlington doesn’t currently have a dedicated program or pot of money to build new, high-priority bicycle infrastructure. Would you support the creation of such a program, dedicated to the most-needed protected bike lanes and trails, in the Capital Improvement Plan?

As a fiscal conservative, my priorities are spending for basic services like streets, schools, libraries, parks and public safety. Insofar as bike lanes fall under the "streets" category of basic services, I would support a line item in the CIP dedicated to that purpose.

8) Is there anything else you would like to share with the Arlington cycling community?

Arlington is unique in that it provides cyclists with the means to a convenient, safe ride almost anywhere in the County and connections to cycling throughout the metropolitan area. The same cannot be said of nearby Fairfax County and the District of Columbia, where cycling is either dangerous or rigorous or both. We need to count our blessings.

Erik Gutshall

1) Do you ride a bike? If so, tell us about your riding.

Yes. I ride for fun and to get places. I live in Lyon Park, which is a great place to ride. My office is so close to home that I usually walk, but sometimes I’ll ride to meetings or events in the R-B corridor. I ride for pleasure with my family, usually on the Custis, Lubber Run, and Four Mile Run trails. We recently enjoyed the Keenan Garvey Memorial Ride to raise funds for Phoenix Bikes.

2) What do you see as the role of cycling in Arlington?

Cycling is an important part of the transportation network. We need cycling to be seen as a safe, viable transportation option for many people as our population grows. Cycling is the cheapest form of mid-distance transportation available! In these times of competing priorities for the County, bicycle network investments have the lowest costs, but deliver the biggest returns. Making cycling safer makes our transportation system more equitable.

Improved bicycle accessibility improves the transportation network for everyone. For people in cars, each person on a bike is a person not sitting in a car in front of them. Each bike parked at a rack frees a parking space for someone in a car to use. When cycling is accessible, people have options when Metro is not serving their needs.

Bicyclists are eyes on the street - building community, supporting local business, and providing a deterrent to crime. Getting people to use bicycles improves public health, further decreasing costs to the County. 

Cycling is an important catalyst for economic development. A strong cycling culture attracts the creative class of workers whom developers and employers are seeking. In this highly competitive region, our bike network in itself is an economic development incentive and part of our allure for employers like Nestlé or Amazon. A comprehensive transportation network that works smoothly attracts businesses. In fact, research shows that people on bikes shop and spend more locally than automobile commuters do.

Cycling also plays an important role in our discussion of affordability in Arlington. The two largest costs for many households are housing and transportation. Because riding a bike does not involve the costs of car insurance, car repairs, car storage and fuel, biking reduces household costs. When families in Arlington can get where they need to go without a car, Arlington becomes a more affordable place to live.

3) What should the county do, if anything, to get more people to bike?

Arlington should focus on making cycling safe and comfortable for everyone, and should become part of the Vision Zero movement, with a commitment to end all deaths and serious injuries on our streets while increasing mobility. We should become a League of American Bicyclists Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community. Arlington County should adopt and incorporate the Bicycle Access & Networks Standards of the National Association of City Transportation Officials into the Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan and ensure that all Arlington engineers receive the appropriate training to implement these Standards. 

From an infrastructure perspective, we should start with an explicit commitment to “8-80 design.” When we think about whether a streetscape works for biking, we shouldn’t think about people like me, who are cycling. We should think about whether an 8-year-old can safely bike to school. We should think about whether an 80-year-old neighbor feels comfortable cruising to the library on a bike. We already have a popular, robust, and comfortable trail network, but we must make trail maintenance a priority; and, we need to make the trails easier to use. We also need to look at adding more protected bikes lanes and more neighborhood bikeways or bike boulevards. In the long run, our bike network investments should ensure that there is a network of safe, comfortable well-signed routes that take people where they want to go throughout the entire County.

But these programs and investments are not all about asphalt. Education and encouragement are important tools to make cycling a transportation option for more people. We should continue our support for BikeArlington, Arlington Transportation Partners and Capital Bikeshare. The County should work with the Arlington Public Schools (APS) through the Joint Committee on Transportation Choices (JCTC) to expand and develop the Safe Routes to Schools program - getting students to bike to school is especially important as our student population grows. We also need to educate those who don’t bike that investments in cycling infrastructure benefit the entire transportation network.
Arlington County Police play an important role in making cycling safer and more comfortable for everyone. We need to train all Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) officers to ensure they know the laws that keep cyclists safe, and to work with ACPD to get officers on bikes. We could, for example, have one FTE-equivalent officer on bike patrol in the next fiscal year.

We must include cycling in our long-term planning and in our budget. To do this I will fully support the Master Transportation Plan Bicycle Element Working Group for a full, robust update of the Bicycle Element. We must update our signals policy to make sure people can move efficiently through our intersections-- whether on bike, on foot, in a bus or in a car. We also need to include a budget that would implement the long-term vision of the Bicycle Element, and enable quick fixes that will make biking better (e.g. improved signage or curb cutouts).

We must work with our neighbors and the Federal agencies and residents in Arlington to improve the network of destinations accessible by bike. We must find a solution for biking through or around Fort Myer, the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. And we must continue working with the GW Memorial Parkway administration to improve the Mount Vernon Trail and other areas under their jurisdiction. We need to work with DC to improve bike access to all the Potomac River bridges, and with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and NOVAParks to ensure that they maintain the trails under their purviews. 

Finally, we must maintain pressure on VDOT to secure a construction contract for a solution for the intersection of Lynn Street, Lee Highway and the Custis Trail. We cannot tolerate an “Intersection of Doom” on our trail network one more year.

4) How would you approach the decision making process on a project which puts two Arlington priorities at odds? For instance, a proposal to build an important trail connection which would require cutting down a large number of trees or a proposal to build an important bike lane connection which would require removing a large number of parking spaces?

Arlington has a legacy of visionary leadership willing to make the tough decisions that require balancing competing priorities. I believe we reach the best decisions when we rely on accurate data, transparent and impartial analysis, and fair consideration of all viewpoints. It is the chief responsibility of the County Board to create the environment of trust needed for good decision-making by ensuring our county government conducts every transaction with our community in a totally honest, transparent, and open manner. Residents should never feel that an answer was already baked into a process.

Evidenced-based decisions are at the core of a progressive community. Of course, we all recognize that perfect information is not possible. Therefore, we must subject our decision-making processes to an open dialogue, recognizing the role that is played by each priority within our larger community plan. After we bring all those concerned together, we need to conduct a fair, open, respectful process in which questions are fully explored and resolved to the greatest extent possible, resulting in thoughtful, balanced advice that can be presented to the County Board. While the opinions of any stakeholder must be treated respectfully, the County Board must ultimately exercise its authority to resolve competing priorities. In a complex society like Arlington, it is not possible for these tough choices to be decided in advance; each decision must be weighed and evaluated in its context and its time.

5) What work have you done in the past - as an elected official, member of an advisory body, or as an advocate – to promote or support cycling as a mobility option?

I have advocated for a safer, more inclusive cycling network through my work on the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission. In every site plan, I have advocated for cycling accommodated by providing bike parking, bike lanes on nearby streets, Capital Bikeshare, and safe ingress and egress for bikes.

As a representative of the Lyon Park Citizens Association in the 2000’s, I advocated for better accommodation of biking in multiple Clarendon redevelopment projects and when the Clarendon Sector Plan was updated in 2006.

6) If elected, what do you hope to have accomplished to make Arlington a better place for cycling by the end of your term?

By the end of my term on the County Board, I would hope to have: updated the Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan; have a program for maintenance and further development of our trail network; have a program for implementing both low cost, quick improvements the cycling network as well as longer term Capital Improvement Program funding to make the Bicycle Element goals a reality; and have Arlington designated as a League of American Bicyclists Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community.

7) Arlington doesn’t currently have a dedicated program or pot of money to build new, high-priority bicycle infrastructure. Would you support the creation of such a program, dedicated to the most-needed protected bike lanes and trails, in the Capital Improvement Plan?

I would expect the updated Bicycle Element of the Master Transportation Plan to include an implementation framework that identifies projects for funding in the CIP and I will support that funding. As already discussed, investments in cycling infrastructure are among the highest rate of return in total benefits per dollar invested. Even in an era when Arlington must support a regional funding model for Metro’s long-term viability, we should not allow cycling to be second-class transportation. The recent funding of the Custis Trail/Lee Hwy improvements (“Intersection of Doom”) provides an appropriate model and I will support dedicated funding in the CIP that leverages developer community benefit contributions, and state and federal grants to build out a 21st Century cycling network.

8) Is there anything else you would like to share with the Arlington cycling community?

Arlington has been a leader in this region at making cycling a transportation option for so many, but our neighbors are catching up. We have picked most of the “low-hanging fruit,” and it is time to show real commitment and investment in cycling.

Having Danish family, I have visited Denmark periodically throughout my life. I have seen first hand the substantial benefits of a community built around cycling as a daily option. Kids have more freedom to safely explore their world. Parents need not spend precious time as a taxi service. Daily errands are more accessible and enjoyable and less of a chore. Commuting is cheaper, safer and healthier. The very young and the very old have mobility. And, as we see here in Arlington, you are just more likely to stop and chat with a neighbor and build those bonds of community that are immeasurable when you are cycling. Arlington has come a long way in this vision. I look forward to an opportunity to help us with the next leap forward.

Charles McCullough

1) Do you ride a bike? If so, tell us about your riding.

I do. I regularly take advantage of Capital Bikeshare. I love the program. On nice days, I enjoy riding the Four Mile Run Trail and Mount Vernon Trail. Biking within Arlington is a great way to exercise and enjoy our green spaces, and I look forward to working on issues important to cyclists if elected to the Arlington County Board.

2) What do you see as the role of cycling in Arlington?

Cycling provides so many benefits to Arlington. First, it's great for your health and fitness. This is one of the main reasons I love biking, and a healthy community is a happier community.

Cycling is also a wonderful way to reduce road congestion and our carbon footprint. I view cycling as an engine of our long-term economic growth. Arlington is in competition with other cities for the best and brightest. Often, younger individuals are turning away from car ownership and towards other means of commuting. Making Arlington more cyclist friendly will allow us to build upon our progress as an environmentally friendly and healthy community, while reducing traffic in our neighborhoods. Cycling in urban areas has made strong progress in safety and accessibility, and I believe Arlington should lead the way in furthering these efforts in the future.

Lastly, since cycling is a great, inexpensive way of commuting or even just exploring outside of your neighborhood, cycling can be a great benefit to our communities and local businesses. Venturing out past your neighborhood on a bike gives you the chance to explore other parts of Arlington at a very low cost, finding new neighbors, new parks, and new businesses.

3) What should the county do, if anything, to get more people to bike?

Improving safety should be Arlington’s top concern for cyclists. We should continue to develop more bike lanes, while ensuring future and current lanes are safe for cyclists. Offset, protected bike lanes and increased fines for cars, trucks, or other vehicles blocking those lanes should also be a priority.

Another integral part of getting more people to bike is the improvement of our roads and streets. When bike lanes aren’t available and cyclists ride in the roads, we need to ensure those roads are safe for all. Eliminating potholes, ensuring clear road markings, and maintaining our roads will go a long way towards ensuring cyclists’ safety on our streets.

Arlington should also increase resources for reporting drivers who compromise cyclists’ safety, as well as expand bike-safety awareness campaigns like the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) Safe Bicycling Initiative. Arlington should also become a member of the Vision Zero project, in an effort to coordinate with other communities on how to reduce all road fatalities to zero. If elected, I will work to ensure ACPD and all of our government services work with cyclists to help spread the message of cycling safety and the rights of those who choose to bike.

We should expand Capital Bikeshare. It's been a tremendous success and has helped reduce traffic congestion and Metro crowding. We should also consider inviting dockless bike companies—like LimeBike, MoBike, or Spin—to Arlington, as a lower cost means to expand access to bikes, especially in areas not conducive to placing bike docks.

4) How would you approach the decision making process on a project which puts two Arlington priorities at odds? For instance, a proposal to build an important trail connection which would require cutting down a large number of trees or a proposal to build an important bike lane connection which would require removing a large number of parking spaces?

My overall campaign theme is “Putting People First.” Essential to this is including opinions and concerns from a wide swath of the community before taking action. I’m also always hopeful a middle ground that satisfies everyone is possible. For instance, perhaps the trail could be crafted around large, older trees with significant canopies; the other, smaller trees that are removed to provide a trail connection could be repurposed for local construction needs. An equal amount of trees could be planted elsewhere throughout Arlington to minimize the environmental impact.

5) What work have you done in the past - as an elected official, member of an advisory body, or as an advocate – to promote or support cycling as a mobility option?

When I was on the Montgomery County, Maryland school board we were sensitive to the benefits of cycling, so we built new facilities with ample rack space to encourage riding to school. As a staffer at the Embassy of Australia, I and other staff, were able to secure a shared-use embassy bike, complete with basket and helmet.

6) If elected, what do you hope to have accomplished to make Arlington a better place for cycling by the end of your term?

I think Arlington has been fairly progressive compared to surrounding areas, but there is room for improvement. We have over 89 miles of bike lanes and trails in the county, but I think we can increase that number to improve cyclists’ safety. In addition to improving the physical infrastructure for cyclists, I want to work with the county board and the Arlington County Police Department to improve cyclist-awareness programs on our roads and have ACPD work with the cycling community to educate all commuters about how to remain safe on the roads. 

I also support the expansion of bike-sharing programs in Arlington. Capital Bikeshare in Arlington accounted for over 500,000 miles of riding last year. That's a lot of pollution taken out of the environment and a good reduction in car traffic across the county, but I think we can double those numbers in 5 years if we make it a priority.

7) Arlington doesn’t currently have a dedicated program or pot of money to build new, high-priority bicycle infrastructure. Would you support the creation of such a program, dedicated to the most-needed protected bike lanes and trails, in the Capital Improvement Plan?

Absolutely. A dedicated program for improving and expanding protected bike lanes and trails would allow these programs to move ahead without fear of losing funding. A dedicated program like this would show a long-term commitment to cyclists’ issues in Arlington and would allow for greater long-term planning within our community. We should also pursue a sister-city biking program where we look at jurisdictions with excellent biking infrastructure, like Portland, and see what lessons we can learn from them.
As a progressive, I also believe that development should be done fairly and wisely. As developers build larger residential and commercial developments, the county board should look at ways to encourage these developers to incorporate bike-sharing arrangements and bike-care facilities, while also reducing traffic congestion that comes with the growth associated with these large developments.

8) Is there anything else you would like to share with the Arlington cycling community?

I'd like to thank the cycling community for taking an interest in our local elections. Democracy only works if we participate and vote. Cyclists are an important part of our community. The election wouldn't be truly representative without you, so please vote!

Cycling is integral to transportation in our community. As an inexpensive, healthy, environmentally-friendly way of getting around Arlington, cycling is sure to grow among our friends and neighbors. If elected, I plan to make cycling a key part of our county planning in the future and ensure that all who want to bike can and can do so safely. 

My campaign is about putting the people of Arlington first. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the state of cycling in Arlington, please reach out to me. I'd love to get your thoughts. You can share your thoughts with me, learn more about my platform, and find out how you can assist my campaign at You can also follow me on Twitter at @VoteCMcCullough.

Thanks to Chris for putting this together again this year. 

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