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Council Approves Signage For Six Bike Routes

Transportation Safety Commission says alerting cyclists to routes is crucial as Tysons develops

The Vienna Town Council approved a series of signage Monday that will more clearly direct cyclists to six bike routes in town, a move officials hope will better facilitate travel between the town and Tysons — and, with luck, take the cars they would have used off the road in the process.

The town , marking it with signs from the town boundary — the dog park west of Nutley Street — to the intersection of Locust and Center Streets.

The six routes that earned signage at Monday night's meeting are already marked on regional bicycling maps, and have been since 2008, Transportation Safety Commission chair Sharon Baum said. The TSC and the town's Bicyle Advisory Committee recommended formally recognizing the roads as bicycle routes as a way to help cyclists unfamiliar with Vienna, or those wanting to give more regular bike commuting a try, more and better information about getting around without a car, particularly between the Vienna Metro and Tysons Corner as the area continues to develop.

With the approval, Department of Public Works employees will begin producing and installing about 65 white and green signs with the town's logo across the six routes, at a cost of about $6,800. The cost includes materials and labor, according to town documents.

The routes include:

  • Tapawingo Road SW and SE from Nottoway Park SW to the W&OD
  • Glyndon Street SE from Adahi Road SE to Talahi Road SE
  • Talahi Road SE from Glyndon Street SE to the W&OD
  • Echols Street SE from Branch Avenue SE to Wolftrap Rd SE including Branch Avenue SE from Valley Drive SE to Echols Street SE and Niblick Drive SE between the offset intersection points of Echols Street SE with Niblick Drive SE.
  • Cottage Street SW from Locust Street SW to Cedar Lane
  • Center Street N and S from Mill Street NE to Locust Street including Mill Street between Center Street N and W&OD.

For a map, click on the PDF in the media player above.

While bicyclists are not limited to the selected streets, "it's probably a good idea to put signs out there to funnel them into more established routes," she said.

Property owners will not lose parking, Baum said; the routes are not dedicated bike lanes.

Part of the agreement also included a promise to leave the signs in place for a year before adding more, so the town can adequately address and react to any issues. 

Baum said the signs are a key step toward the town's certification as a bike-friendly community under the League of American Bicyclists, who wondered why Vienna hadn't marked many of the routes already shown on area maps.

In a memo to the town council, Department of Public Works staff said safe bicycle facilities should be considered for current and future transportation needs of the town.

Baum said cyclists can continue to find resources on the BAC website. In the future, the organizations hope to add features that will allow cyclists to map their options or gauge how challenging their routes might be.

The town could also add a key or color marking to signs to mark routes as easy or challenging, depending on how the route is graded, she said.

Karen Sampson June 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Good move. But how about a cautionary sign or two that states "Bikes operating on the city streets must obey traffic signage." Love our bikers but my observation is that about half ignore stop signs and red lights even when other traffic is present.
Ann Cavazos June 20, 2012 at 11:54 AM
After being repeatedly crowded nearly off the road by cars, signs that indicate bikes may take the whole lane would be helpful.
Ron June 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM
No, we cannot have bikers occupying the entire lane of traffic. The Town of Vienna did the sensible and common sense approach by saying "Share the Road". Bikers often are arrogant and think they're entitled. The classic situation is the bike path crossing on Park Street near the Vienna Community Center. Too many bikers disobey the stop sign on the path and fly across Park Street. They DO NOT have the right of way. They should stop for oncoming cars. Yesterday, a biker gave me the "you know what" because I didn't stop when he suddenly appeared at the crossing. I was already right at the crossing and he thought I should have stopped. There is no stop sign on Park Street for cars, as it should be. Bikers should share the road. The dumb signs erected in Fairfax County that say bikers can use the entire traffic lane will eventually lead to an accident because bikers have a sense of entitlement. The roads are for everyone and cars should have the preference because of their size and inability to maneuver in small areas like one lane roads. It’s time to use common sense and not create dangerous situations unnecessarily.
Ann June 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Somewhere over time we have failed to educate drivers and cyclists about the laws of Virginia that apply to sharing the road. Under Virginia law a bike has the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. "Every person riding a bicycle on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of the Code of Virginia section on motor vehicles and shall have the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle unless a provision clearly indicates otherwise." Cars have a preference? Bikers should share the road? Because cars are bigger? But you are exactly correct about the danger of one lane roads and the inability to maneuver. And that dangerous situation is EXACTLY why the law in Virginia gives cyclists the right to take the lane. "Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of roadway. Exceptions to this are when bicyclists are overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, preparing for a left turn, avoiding unsafe conditions, avoiding riding in a lane that turns or diverges to the right, riding on a one way street where bicyclists may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of roadway, or when the lane width is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Additionally, bicycles are not excluded from riding on the highway shoulder."
Janet Dapena June 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I'd love to see Fairfax County jump on this wagon. Courthouse Road just 3 blocks toward Oakton is treacherous to say the least as it narrows with its gigantic drainage ditch on the side of the road. I've nearly been run into it several times. How can we effectively encourage FFX to follow Vienna's example? Someday maybe even Hunter Mill!
Amelie Krikorian June 20, 2012 at 02:00 PM
This is what I have been saying for a while -- there are many bikers who are putting their lives at risk by not paying attention to the "Stop -- required by law" signs on the bike path. I heard that in fact a biker was struck and killed as a result, but I have been away from Patch for a few weeks and missed reading that. I am not "after" the bikers to be mean, I am reiterating this out of a concern for their safety and the safety of young bikers who are observing these adults ignoring the law. Bikers who are racing down the bike path where it is also crowded with joggers and walkers are putting those people at risk, and when they cross Ayr Hill, Church, and Park streets without stopping they are risking their lives. There are some bikers who keep insisting that I am imagining things, that all bikers obey the laws and it's drivers who don't, yet on my daily treks through town I seldom see drivers running stop signs and I seldom see bikers stopping. As far as bikers using the whole lane, they often already do that even when there is a designated bike lane, like on Old Courthouse. I have seen twenty cars following a biker going 15 mph in the middle of the car lane on that road. If bikers want courtesy, they should extend a little courtesy themselves. Stop flipping people the bird and obey the stop signs put up for them. If they don't obey the stop signs there is little point adding more signs for bikers to follow since they don't read the ones they have now.
Wien June 20, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Cyclists, by law, have the right to occupy a lane of traffic. They ride on the shoulders out of respect to "share the road" and also out of their own safety, but when the shoulders are unsafe (as they often are with debris, mis-parked cars, or conditions), cyclists take the lane. Additionally, when making a left turn, cyclists need to take the lane to move over to the left side of the road safely and gradually. Telling a cyclist they have to ride in a six-inch space on a debris-laden shoulder is unsafe for both the cyclist and drivers. This is another case of car drivers not being aware of the law and making up more reasons to hate cyclists.
Wien June 20, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Everyone (or most everyone) has driven a car. I suggest people ride a bike through streets on the shoulder, as everyone here insists they have to, and put themselves in someone elses' shoes. If everyone on this board rode a bicycle down a street, they'd quickly see the road rage and disrespect shown to cyclists who are oftentimes riding as far to the side as safe and obeying the law. A situation made much worse when drivers (like many commenting above) don't even understand the law and the etiquette of occupying the lane. God forbid you have to drive down a residential street 10-15 mph slower to make it safer for a human being on a bicycle, how will you ever recoup those few minutes of your life. But of course, it's in vogue for drivers to complain about cyclists, so therefore the wide brush is applied to all cyclists.
Ron June 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I'm afraid that the law quoted, in fact, DOES NOT state that bikers have the full right to the traffic lanes. Here's a the quote directly from the comment: "Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of roadway." It clearly states that bikers should share the road and stay as close as possible to the curb. That would be the safest for all. Bikers continue to ignore that safe guidance and that's why we have people getting hurt or worse as the one commenter mentioned. I ride a Bike too, but I do not ignore stop signs and I do take precautions on roads when cars are sharing the road. Bikers do hold up traffic because they often cannot go anywhere near 10-15 miles per hour. I have sister-in-law who has had to add time for her comment from Vienna to Sterling because of bikers on the hilly Beulah Road and other roads leading from Vienna to Rte. 7. How does that save energy?
Ron June 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM
he next to last sentence should have read: I have sister-in-law who has had to add time for her commute from Vienna to Sterling because of bikers on the hilly Beulah Road and other roads leading from Vienna to Rte. 7.
Amelie Krikorian June 21, 2012 at 02:00 AM
If a single biker is holding up a dozen people, the biker ought to pull safely over and allow the faster cars to pass him. If you can only go 10-15 mph in a 25 or 35 mph zone, you are going to impede a lot of traffic. It's hubris to say that a biker has the right to hold up that many people. It's true bike lanes on roads can get debris on them (on Old Courthouse someone had piled yard waste in the bike lane the other day) but that does not entitle a biker to obstruct traffic. "Share the road" means both sides have to use common sense. If you are a slow biker, periodically pull over and let traffic go by you -- or you risk having people pass you really fast because they are going over the yellow line to get by you. If you are a driver on a narrow road and there is a biker ahead of you, wait to see if he will give you a chance to get by him, don't just start blowing your horn. I don't understand why anyone would bike on roads like Lawyer's, for example, which is barely wide enough for two cars, has no shoulder, and has commuters exceeding the speed limit by 10-15 mph, but there are bikers on that road with a definite death wish -- or the arrogance of Wien. The bottom line is that most roads around here were not designed with biking commuters in mind and it will take time to fix that issue, and bikers like Wien who get people riled up instead of trying to come up with solutions are going to make the majority of the tax base too angry to support any changes.

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