Bikers headed to one of Vienna's largest shopping centers now have parking while running errands or taking a ride around town.
The Maple Avenue Shopping Center celebrated the installation of 11 new bike racks on Saturday with a ribbon cutting and family fun day. Vienna Police Officer Gary Lose was on hand to answer bike questions; the center's businesses -- including Giant, Michael's, CVS and PNC Bank -- offered specials throughout the day, including a raffle for a bicycle. More than 70 children came through "mobile learning tents" throughout the day; 25 customers won Giant gift cards.
Some sales will continue throughout the weekend.
The initiative is part of a Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee effort to increase bike use around town and encourage businesses to support customers who do use bikes to get to their stores.
Monica Madden, the shopping center's property manager, worked with Vienna BAC co-chair Cris Janoski and the town's planning and zoning department to get the racks approved in December.
Before the racks came to this center, bike parking in the area was scarce, said bikers who came to the opening ceremonies. They'd often have to lock their bikes for trash cans -- a less than sanitary prospect and one that also prevented maintenance workers from emptying or moving the receptacles.
The BAC helped pass an ordinance in November to streamline the approval process for bike racks. The BAC now acts as a liaison between businesses and the Town of Vienna, locating potential places to put the racks and sometimes helping business owners fill out forms. The town's planning and zoning department now treats bike rack applications as a minor site plan review, eliminating the lengthy approval time and site plan review fee.
The move was a response to the BAC's bicycle survey, in which residents asked, among other things, for better facilities around town.
Since then, two other inverted U racks have been installed at Red Mango, where customers can get 10 percent off by riding their bikes and parking them at the new racks. Maple Avenue Market also welcomed a bike rack into its back parking lot. All three racks were donated by Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling through the Transurban Community Grant Program, Janoski said.