On Sunday 11/24 the Virginia Bicycling Federation held our annual meeting, at REI in Richmond. We do this in November, to elect our board and officers, and start planning for the legislative session, which starts the second week of January. We usually have a speaker or two as well — this time Stephen Read PE, manager of VDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program, and Richmond 2015′s Tim Miller.
Present on Sunday were VBF board members Champe Burnley, Bud Vye, Tom Bowden, Sheryl Finucane, Matt O’Toole, Joe Morgan, Michael Gilbert, Greg Rollins and Mark Blacknell; also Heather Barrar, a Chesterfield County planner; cycling history author Thomas Houff (On Richmond’s Wheel); VBF members Jim Lee and Debbie Anderson; and of course, Stephen Read PE and Tim Miller.
Stephen Read came to acquaint us with VDOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), and funding opportunities for bike-ped safety. While general highway safety numbers have been staying about the same, bike-ped crashes, severe injuries and fatalities have been increasing. HSIP funding is ruled by benefit-cost (through the “Crash Modification Clearinghouse”), and bike-ped projects offer more bang for the buck. So opportunities for bike-ped safety funding may be increasing, especially with total HSIP money having increased. Mr. Read’s presentation was thorough in explaining crash types, and their preferred “fixes” — great knowledge to have when appealing to decision makers. There were too many details to go into here — hopefully we’ll do that in another article — but here are Mr. Read’s slides:
Tim Miller was next with a Richmond 2015 progress report, the latest news being the launch of Charter 2015, a program to encourage bike-friendly businesses. This, along with Societe 2015, the business engagement program, should help push Virginians toward becoming a Top Ten Bicycle Friendly State (currently #16) in time for the 2015 World Championships. This event has been an important rallying point to meet bike advocacy goals, and complete high-profile bike-ped projects such as the Virginia Capital Trail, the new IMBA Ride Center at Pocahontas State Park, and 80 miles of bikeways within the city of Richmond.
It was great having Thomas Houff there with his cycling history book, On Richmond’s Wheel, another Richmond 2015 project that was launched on Kickstarter.
We intended to elect Tim Miller to our Board, which we did, after taking care of some business and approving our last meeting’s minutes. Along with Tim Miller, we also elected BikeArlington’s Zanna Worzella, and Laura Pyle, an attorney from Staunton. Welcome to our new board members!
With that accomplished, we moved on to committee reports. Here are the most important points:
- We’re continuing to work with Amtrak on getting roll-on service, helping to form a national task force, along with Adventure Cycling Association, the Allegheny Trail Alliance and others. Remember, the routes serving Virginia also serve other states. Amtrak provides the service that all these states specify and pay for. For Virginia to specify roll-on service, we need to write to the CTB before Dec. 6.
- Led by Joe Morgan, much work has been done on long-distance routes — USBR 76 and USBR 1, the new USBR 50 and the proposed USBR 11. We need to get the story out about this, and renew or develop MOUs with the East Coast Greenway, Adventure Cycling Assn. and IMBA.
- We’ve been offering a commemorative pin for having ridden all of USBR 76 in Virginia. We’re working to improve the application process in time for next season. In the meantime, if you’ve ridden the whole route and would like a pin, please let us know!
- We’ve done some successful light giveaways, and are working on providing resources for others to do their own.
- We’re encouraging each other, and you, to write about biking issues in mainstream press, and advocacy issues in bike press. For example, Mark Blacknell’s articles in Arlington Patch, and Tom Bowden’s articles in Commute By Bike.
- We’re working on finding good patrons and strategies for the three pieces of legislation that we know we will be pushing in 2014 (opportunities for others may or may not materialize):
- Three foot passing (change from Virginia’s current two feet)
- Following cyclists too closely
Read more in Bud’s Fall 2013 Advocacy Report.
Finally, we’re planning a Virginia Bike Summit on Thursday evening, Jan 9 in Richmond, at the beginning of the legislative session, to organize support of bike legislation.