Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section published an op-ed piece by Bruce Wright, chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling that was spot on. His key point being that as Virginia moves forward with $1.7 billion of investment to move cars better (the new HOT Lanes), the state absolutely needs to think comprehensively about other modes--in particular cycling. Currently it is difficult or impossible to cross the beltway on a bicycle along most routes. Although I have heard of people doing it, it's pretty terrifying for me to imagine riding on Route 50 where it crosses I-495. Most of the other crossings are no better. There are undoubtedly thousands of people who live only a few miles from their jobs or from other places they want to go, but the Beltway is in between, forcing them to drive those short distances.
In fact, VDOT's Policy for Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodations makes this statement: "The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will initiate all highway construction projects with the presumption that the projects shall accommodate bicycling and walking." Here's a golden opportunity for VDOT to demonstrate that it is not just paying lip service and--in contrast to its performance as reported in a previous post on a VDOT missed opportunity--really understands the value of bicycling and walking as viable travel choices.Thanks, Bruce, for getting this key issue into the Post where our policy makers are more likely to see it.