Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less

Feb
24

Bikeshare is Coming to Reston and Tysons

On January 12th, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized expenditures of $1.6 million for the purchase of bikeshare equipment and implementation of the bikeshare program in Reston and Tysons.  Bikeshare stations are projected to open in the fall of 2016.

Photo courtesy of Sam Kittner, Capital Bikeshare.

Photo courtesy of Sam Kittner, Capital Bikeshare.

Bikeshare is a transportation system that allows individuals to check out a bike and ride short to moderate distances from station to station. A system of bikeshare stations and bicycles are set up in an area to allow participants to travel between destinations that are generally further than walking, without driving. As a result, roadway congestion is reduced.

In the Washington D.C. area, Capital Bikeshare is the existing bikeshare system that operates in Washington D.C., Arlington County, Alexandria, and Montgomery County. There are currently over 370 stations in the Capital Bikeshare system in these jurisdictions.

In 2014, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) awarded Fairfax County a Transportation and Land Use Connection grant to study the feasibility of launching a bikeshare system. The results of the study showed that bikeshare could succeed as a viable transportation option in Reston.

The Reston Bikeshare system will consist of 15 stations and 132 bicycles located between the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station and Reston Town Center area. Reston Bikeshare received grant funding from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The Tysons Bikeshare system will consist of 11 stations and 80 bicycles located in Tysons to the east of Route 7, north of Route 123, and south of the Dulles Toll Road.  Tysons Partnership is providing a financial contribution of $110,000 towards capital cost of the Tysons system.

The two Fairfax bikeshare initiatives should be fully operational by the Fall of 2016.  For more information on Capital Bikeshare and how to become a member and/or how to use bikeshare, go to www.capitalbikeshare.com.

 

Feb
24

From the CEO’s Desk

Isn’t Earth Day everyday?  Think about it, without the “mothership” what exactly would we be celebrating–moon day?  Ok, a little tongue-in-cheek motivation for everyone to really think about your personal impact on “mother earth,” every day, not just once a year.

@livemore and the Dulles Area Transportation Association attempt to bring this focus to your everyday lives by educating you on the choices you have that can really make a difference not only in your quality of life, but also on the sustainability of our world habitat.

In this edition of  @livemore, we highlight a number of festivals that are being held in correspondence to the area’s recognition of Earth Day, as well as the fledgling emergence of spring.  We are also highlighting Historic Garden Week – one of the most popular and attended occasions in Virginia; learning more about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) networks; and thinking about where to find your local farmers markets this spring. We are also providing you with some important information on changes that have been recently instituted by VDOT in how they rank and prioritize road construction and improvement projects.

As we all “emerge” from our Snowzilla/winter cocoons, there are many things we can do to prepare for spring and summer – we hope this edition gives you some “food” for thought, and provides some impetus for you to give Mother Earth a hug on her special day (which is everyday) by making one simple change in your life, once a week, that helps our environment.  Take transit, carpool, telework, recycle more, plant a tree, etc.  By doing so, we hope your actions also help you livemore and commute less!

As Always-Best Regards,

James N. Larsen
Executive Director/CEO
Dulles Area Transportation Association

Jan
4

Finding a Commute that Works Out

Donning your shiny new gym membership card and that pedometer bracelet your brother-in-law gave you for the holidays, it should be easier than ever to get the exercise you need. So why does it seem to get more difficult to squeeze in a workout each year?

What if I told you that you could get your exercise while you commute to work? Is that a novel idea or what? Well, not exactly. People all over the DC metro area already bike or walk to work every day. By incorporating your workout into your commute, you can eliminate, or at least reduce, the need to block off even more time to get your exercise. This extra time creates the perfect opportunity for a family dinner, watching a movie, or playing fetch with the dog; something you actually enjoy doing!

If you happen to live too far from work to walk or aren’t comfortable riding your bike long distances, you can always ride or walk the “last mile” to the metro or bus stop and do the reverse on the way home. That way you can still get your heart pumping before your workday is over.

Give it a try sometime. Let me know how it goes.

 Ericka can be reached at eamador@datatrans.org.

 

Ejercicio que Trabaja

Vestido con su nueva tarjeta de membresía de gimnasio y la pulsera de podómetro quien le dio su cuñado para Navidad, debería ser más fácil que nunca para hacer el ejercicio que necesita. Entonces, ¿por qué parece ser más difícil tener el tiempo para hacer ejercicio cada año?

¿Que si le dijera que usted podría conseguir su ejercicio mientras que usted conmuta al trabajo? ¿Es idea novedosa o qué? Bueno, no exactamente. Gente de todo el área metropolitana de DC ya anda en bicicleta o camina al trabajo todos los días. Por incorporar su entrenamiento con su viaje, puede eliminar, o al menos reducir, la necesidad de bloquear aún más tiempo para hacer ejercicio. Este tiempo extra crea la oportunidad perfecta para cenar con la familia, ver una película o jugar con el perro, algo que realmente gusta hacer!

Si usted vive demasiado lejos del trabajo para caminar o no se siente cómodo andar en bicicleta largas distancias, siempre se puede montar o caminar por la “última milla” para el metro o la parada del autobús y hacer lo contrario de camino a casa. De esa manera usted todavía puede obtener su bombeo del corazón antes de terminar su día de trabajo.

Atreverse a intentarlo. Déjeme saber cómo le va.

Ericka se puede llegar a eamador@datatrans.org.

 

Jan
4

SchoolPools: Mornings made easy!

Walked dog. Made hot breakfast. Showered. Packed nutritious lunch for you and your child. Out the door with child, school bag (including said lunch), field trip permission slip….all before 8:00 a.m.…you’re killing it! Spend 20 minutes in unplanned traffic to school and 10 minutes in the school’s kiss and ride drop-off. Arrive at work 25 minutes late and frazzled – you also forgot your phone. Definitely not killing it.

If you are a parent who sends your child to a school without a busing program, you can probably relate to this scenario.  While the ride to and from school can be a wonderful time to connect with your child, providing transportation every day can be stressful.  Additionally, the time spent in the car could be spent working, freeing up time to spend with your child at home, in the park, etc.  So what is a parent to do?

(Da-da-da-DA!) In response to this common issue facing D.C. metro-area parents, Commuter Connections launched a program called SchoolPools, which allows parents within a school to connect with one another and form their own carpools, walking groups or biking groups. The idea is that families who unknowingly live near one another could be sharing a ride to school – saving both time and money.  Not only is a carpool convenient, it provides parents and kids an opportunity to meet one another – helping to build a closer sense of community.

The SchoolPools database is completely confidential – only basic contact information, such as your phone number and e-mail are shared with potential matches. Schools must be registered with the Commuter Connections SchoolPool program to participate, so check with your school’s principal or transportation coordinator to see if your school is taking advantage of this program.

For more information on SchoolPools and how to get your school registered, please visit: https://tdm.commuterconnections.org/schoolpool/, or email Sarah McGowan at smcgowan@datatrans.org.

Jan
4

The Ever-Evolving Reston

By Fionnuala Quinn

In a way that Irish families readily understand, my siblings and I live all over – Fairfax, Edinburgh, Dublin, Kobe – four countries and three continents. Having been raised with a full complement of independent travel options but not getting car keys until after entering the workforce, we remain keen walkers, bicyclists and public transit users and no matter where we now live, the available transportation choices impact our quality of life. Like most people, we are each just trying to move ourselves, our loved ones and our stuff from one place to another safely, Reston_wiehleeasily and in comfort. Bonus points if we accrue some health benefit and we are not looking to add stress or spend lots of money in the process. Even here in almost-entirely suburban Fairfax County, approximately one-third of daily trips are less than three miles in length so my busy household also mixes in walking, bicycling and transit to get around. We may have to work a little harder than my siblings to leave the car home but after several decades of life here, it’s clear that local travel choices have appreciably increased in recent years and it’s for the better for all of us.

Depending on how streets, sidewalks, trails and rail lines connect for a particular community, people can choose walking, bicycling or motorized travel. The U.S. travel network has been put together to serve all sorts of needs and is incredibly complicated in design and operation. Transportation itself is in a time of great change and we can expect challenges and burdens to increase in volume and complexity over coming decades. As with the legacy of post-war subdivisions, we are making decisions now that will influence our range of choices for getting around in the future. The more flexibility and connectivity we design or retrofit in, the more options there will be to avoid congestion and reap social and health benefits. By clearly expressing how we would like to live and with thoughtful attention to putting the built world together, we can add choices like walking that one-mile trip to the library while also preparing for the transformational mobility possibilities.

 

Modern U.S. suburbs were made possible by new means of transportation that allowed living further from employment, services and activities. While early suburbs developed around streetcar lines, later expansion focused around automobile travel. Reston was a noted national exception and developed in a fashion that included connected walking and bicycling options. This was all thanks to the visionary ideas of Robert E. Simon, Reston’s original founder. Decades later, the resulting community offers increased choices for getting to shopping, social events and employment and those who do walk, bike or use transit represent a wide range. While my husband’s eight-mile bike commute to Reston is a key aspect of integrating health into his busy work life, there are many living locally unable to drive or with no access to a vehicle who benefit more profoundly from having these options.

 

Always generous with his time, Mr. Simon visited the before-school engineering program at Hunters Woods Elementary School annually. He would invariably ask for a show of hands on how many walked and biked to school. He told the students that he had them in mind when he came up with the trails and that he wanted them to be able get to the pools and tennis courts independently also. Five decades later his ideas about having those trails go over or under the streets so as not to have to deal with speeding cars seems even more relevant. You could see the students excitedly light up when he added that the only thing better than biking to school was riding a horse. No one ever accused Mr. Simon of failure of imagination in terms of the possibilities for getting around and it was pretty inspiring to see a 99-year old surrounded by 11-year olds lining up for his autograph after listening to his thoughts on these matters.

 

Reston’s layout has created a robust framework that can readily reorient towards 21st century transportation and land use changes. The neighborhoods and destinations of Reston are served in a way that already make this one of the most livable areas in Fairfax County but the addition of the rail service and upgraded bus service adds further layers of options and trip combinations. Notably, the 45-mile W&OD Trail runs through the heart of Reston and passes within feet of the Metrorail system creating a key regional travel interconnection. When I go into D.C., I can now combine my folding bike with local buses to access the Metrorail as rules allow carrying these types of bikes on at any time. Upon my later return, the folding bike allows me to catch any of several buses that get me to within a short biking distance of my house. Meanwhile my grown children use their smartphones to catch Uber or Lyft from the Wiehle-Reston station without a thought of it being novel. Every morning, the numerous young professionals pouring out of the station as they head to employment in Reston are a testament to the new choices. High-quality bike parking is available at the station so many are biking the last mile of their rail trip. Meanwhile many are awaiting the planned local bikeshare system, currently under design.

 

With work well underway on new land uses and transit expansion, how we travel locally already supports a range of choices and combinations beyond private automobile trips. Transportation culture

is always changing and the signs are visible that there are many open to the new travel choices. The future is a foreign country…they may do things differently there…but we can play important roles in shaping that future for ourselves.