|Evan Bernick for |
Arlington County Board
I grew up riding a bike. It was the way I got around town. I rode it to school, I rode it to friends’ houses, I rode it just to explore the neighborhood. I no longer ride a bike –I take the Metro to work, and I run in the morning—but I know how important biking is to a community. It’s not just a fun way to stay healthy—it’s an inexpensive, fast, environmentally sound means of transportation that reduces congestion, helps kids get around safely, and brings people together.
How can we make Arlington more bikable? The Board can address some of the concerns you’ve raised fairly easily. We can work with the Department of Parks and Recreation to make sure that snow and debris is cleared in a timely manner after storms, and that officials don’t unnecessarily close bike trails. We can also work with law enforcement to ensure that the “Intersection of Death” is properly policed.
I will enthusiastically support efforts to earn gold-level Bike Friendly Community status for Arlington. Gold status will draw tourists, encourage the development of bike shops and related businesses, and attract prospective residents. We won’t earn that status easily. We’ll need to think creatively, not just build a few more bike racks or depend upon Capital Bikeshare expansion (although I welcome it!), to make biking truly mainstream in Arlington and therefore deserving of gold. I don’t have any immediate answers, but I’m open to ideas.
I’m glad that Phoenix Bikes plans to expand its youth programs and is relocating to meet the needs of its customers. I think it’s critical that young people learn how to be entrepreneurs in a way that gives back to their community and nothing teaches quite so well as hands-on experience.
I’m opposed to the streetcar—I think there are better ways to provide transportation and encourage development in Columbia Pike. But, because I’m concerned that the streetcar will seriously impact bike accessibility and safety, I think that a continuous cross-county parallel bikeway is worth considering.
A bikeable community is a friendly, livable community, and it is important that Arlington is friendly to bikers. I look forward to addressing some of the issues you’ve raised here at greater length after I study them further, and I hope you’ll reach out in the future.