Another Night of Advocatin’

Monday is my physical therapy day. Today’s plan: pain and humiliation. Sadly, it was a success. I felt pretty good when it was over. The pre- and post-PT morning bike commute was pretty nice despite the fact that I rode into a headwind and had to wear my holey sweater. Die winter. Die already.

The ride home was comfy. We still seem to be having a problem with fair weather commuters passing too close and too fast on the Mount Vernon Trail. If it keeps up, I will break out my bicycle death ray and do the miscreant in.

After I arrived home, I showered and changed then drove (yes, drove) the half mile to a meeting on repaving and restriping the streets near my home. I drove so as not to intimidate the locals. Fortunately, Jeff (a sometime Friday Coffee Club attendee who lives in my neighborhood) rode his bike to the meeting.  I am told by a certain Nelle Pierson that women are in the minority in #bikeDC. I don’t know where Nelle is getting her statistics from but I can’t swing a frame pump these days without hitting a woman on a bike. (Somehow that came out terribly wrong. You get the point, I hope.)  Jeff and I had company at this meeting. One attendee was a mom who bikes her toddler around these parts in a cargo bike. She was quite vocal. (Taking lessons from Nelle no doubt.) Another attendee was Linel, who I had just met on Sunday. They both sang the praises of Nelle’s Women and Bicycles program. (Follow the link and you can donate to the cause.)

The meeting was kind of a dud. The Virginia Department of Transportation maintains the roads in our neighborhoods. Since they will be re-striping anyway, the Fairfax County bike plan folks want them to add bike lanes and sharrows. This is part of the county’s bicycle master plan. A few attendees were concerned about sharrows attracting bicyclists to danger zones where bicyclists could get hurt. The thought of holding drivers (such as themselves) accountable for incompetent operation of cars never seems to occur to these folks. I refrained from making a speech about wrong-headed contributory negligence laws, lax enforcement of traffic laws, the nine people I know who have been injured or killed by motor vehicles in the DMV in the last four years, and suspending of licenses to drivers who can’t see at night or in low light conditions. Next time I’m bringing pictures of my wife’s contusions.

A bigger concern was the issue that the county has roads that appear to have been designed by drunkards. Lanes and sidewalks come and go at random. Asphalt side paths meander over washboard tree roots. Two adjacent schools are not connected by a sidewalk so students have to walk in the street. Somebody. somewhere, at some point in time looked the other way or was downright incompetent when all this was being built. It was nice to see these points raised but, alas, they were not the focus of the meeting.

It was clear from the get go that the re-striping would not take away any parking spaces so the opposition was pretty mild.

Road by road. Stripe by stripe. Meeting by meeting. That’s how bike infrastructure gets built. It takes a long time. By the time Fairfax County is bicycle friendly I’ll be pushing up daisies. I hope that the inane roads of the county don’t make this anytime soon.

3 thoughts on “Another Night of Advocatin’

  1. “Lanes and sidewalks come and go at random. Asphalt side paths meander over washboard tree roots.” That about summarizes my comments to the NOVA transportation thing that Del. Surovell asked people to sign onto for expanding size of Rt south. I said, sure, if they actually connect sidewalks and build a real MUP OR give an on-road separate lane. But simply expanding without addressing either is a recipe for disaster. I even cited my favorite bridge (,+VA/@38.71891,-77.128613,3a,75y,275.31h,83.02t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sUsQIZi3quiiEepk5YRsl4g!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x89b64d3e93a4abf1:0xd7f52686dbc1012c) along Rt 1, which includes shoulders on both sides down to less than 1′.

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