You might ask,"What are you thinking beginning to blog about bicycling around Burke in December!"
Glad you asked...because NOW, this winter, we can impact the future of biking in our community. We have the opportunity to influence bicycling planning and facilities for the next three decades or more! The first ever county bike master plan is underway and in January our comments will be collected at a Burke/Springfield planning meeting yet to be announced. But, more about that in my next post. Here is the link in case you don’t want to wait.
Let me introduce myself. I am a resident of Burke very near to West Springfield. My wife and I have lived here for almost 30 years. I am a retired Army officer, working as a government contractor. We have five children and eight grandchildren. I bike. I wish I could bike more. I am on the asphalt enough to know what currently works for using the "most efficient machine ever invented" to get around in our community and into the outside world (at least the near by world of Springfield, Annandale, Falls Church, and McLean (where I work).
Most folks do most of their daily commerce, visiting and errands within two miles of their homes, really good bicycling range if the engineering is done to support this mode of travel. Engineering, at a fraction of the cost of roadways, can provide for safe, comfortable, convenient, easy moving around our community without being required to use a car. When my wife is comfortable bicycling, then I know the engineering is right. I am a volunteer with Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), a local advocacy group. Its a way I give back to my community.
I am blogging to provide another lens to look at our community. I think we are missing an opportunity. Our county is growing. The region will gain at least one-half million more residents in the next decade. Traffic and congestion is going to get worse. We need alternatives, low cost improvements we can implement within our county. The state is not going to help much. We can look around the world for ideas, here is a thought provoking example of what the Dutch developed to solve their transportation problems. If you view the video, you will see that the Dutch were outraged by vehicle slaughter of their children. We have a similiar problem, plug in Burke or Springfield, VA.
I hate commuting in my car up Braddock Road to the Beltway and north on Rt 123. It's stressful, dangerous and a waste of time. I have been rear ended by a truck, wasted countless hours, and never know how long my trip will take. When I drive, I am one more single driver vehicle, producing pollution that affects my grandchildren’s health, not to mention their future.
When I ride my bike, I know how long the trip will be, get in my exercise, and arrive with a smile on my face. I take one more car off the road. I can ride even most days in the winter. I also meet some very interesting people.
I hope you will join me as I share my thoughts on the potential of bicycling to connect us to our community, improve our quality of life, decrease traffic, and support our property values.