Bike Advocacy Pays Off For Supervisors

Bike Advocacy Pays Off For Supervisors

A bicycle tour that spanned Lee District, showing off that part of the county's trails, thrust Supervisor Dana Kauffman (D-Lee) into the limelight at the regional Washington Area Bicyclist Association's 30th annual meeting on Thursday, April 3, in Ballston. The group acknowledged Kauffman's pro-bicycle efforts.

Although Kauffman is a proponent of his annual bike tour, the Tour De Lee, he credited other Lee District individuals for helping to bring it all together: mainly, Bob Heittman, Lee District transportation administrator, and bicycling advocate Bob Michie.

"It was Dana, Bob and my other friend Bob," Kauffman said.

Heittman was from Boston where the city showcased several bicycle and running races. He thought it would be a good way to publicize the trails around Lee District. The police bike team was getting started at the Franconia District station at that time as well, so the idea snowballed from there.

"When they [bike team] started, we were bouncing it around at the same time," Heittman said. "They have been one of the real keys to making this thing work. I'd like to see it someday be 1,000 bicycles."

WABA president Hal Hiemstra hailed the bicycle tour event, which is a first among the supervisor districts in Fairfax County.

"It's purpose is to promote family fun and showcase the bicycle facilities in Lee District," Hiemstra said.

In addition to Kauffman's WABA award, Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, (D-Hunter Mill) was also recognized by WABA for her efforts on the annual "Bike To Work" day. She had the first bike-to-work rally in Fairfax County at the Reston Town Center. She has also supported improvements to bicycling facilities in Fairfax County.

WABA is a region-wide group with members from Washington, Maryland and Virginia. At the meeting, the group also recognized members from Takoma Park, Md., the W&OD trail through western Virginia, Sligo Creek, the Shaw Eco Village and Bega Services, which is a courier organization. Whittington Clement, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation, noted the advancement in bicycling in the eyes of the Gov. Mark Warner (D).

"We're looking for stand-alone bicycle and pedestrian projects we can incorporate in the six-year plan," Clement said. "The projects we've identified are all in Northern Virginia."

Clement said some of the goals that are being worked at on the state level include equal consideration for bicycles as motorized vehicles, trails included in the design of all new and redesigned highways and roads, access to the entire transportation system be improved for bike and pedestrians, adjusted funding formulas to include biking facilities and coordinating all bicycling facilities with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

WABA member Bill Gallagher noted the advancements bicycles are making in the transportation quotient.

"Bicycles are doing the community service," he said. "It's nice to have an organization to encourage that. It helps the positive image come through."

Heittman looked at bicycles as a viable transportation source around Lee District as well.

"I see it as being something whose day is arriving but it's not here," he said.