Thursday, May 14, 2015

Statement to Manassas City Council for Bike-to-Work Day 2015

Manassas City Council Meeting Citizens’ Time
Statement by Allen Muchnick
Monday, May 11, 2015

Good evening Mayor Parrish, City Council members, and City Manager Pate.  I’m Allen Muchnick, and I live on Park St in the City of Manassas.

I’m speaking to help publicize--and to encourage everyone to attend--the downtown Manassas Bike to Work Day pit stop which will be held this Friday, May 15th, outside the Manassas VRE station from 6 to 9 AM.   This annual event promotes the practicality and many personal and societal benefits of bicycling for purposeful transportation, both as a standalone mode and in combination with public transportation, ridesharing, or driving partway alone.  Bicycling is healthy, affordable, energy efficient, nonpolluting, requires minimal government resources, can reduce traffic and parking congestion, particularly at special events, and--most of all--is fun. 

In metropolitan Washington, Bike to Work Day is organized jointly by the Commuter Connections program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at COG and by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.    Over the past 15 years, this regional event has grown tremendously.  This Friday’s event will include 79 local pit stops--35 throughout Northern Virginia--and is forecast to attract 19,000 registrants.  Participation is free but advance registration at is required to receive a free event T-shirt and be eligible for other prizes.  Our local Manassas VRE station pit stop is graciously sponsored by Historic Manassas Inc.

Nearly one year ago, I moved to the City of Manassas because our city is considerably more bike friendly than the surrounding communities in Prince William County.   Over the years, the City has built upon the inherent bikeability of Manassas’ neighborhood street grid by signing bike routes on low-traffic streets, by installing bike lanes and sharrows on certain arterial roadways, and by building some shared-use paths; however, continued progress is needed to make our city more hospitable for bicycling.

One glaring deficiency for Manassas bicycling is the general lack of convenient, secure, and properly designed bike parking racks at locations throughout Manassas, including at most government buildings and at nearly every business establishment.   Bicycling for utilitarian trips is less feasible without convenient and suitable bike parking facilities, and most of the bike racks I have seen near the VRE station, at the rear of the Town Hall building, and at Manassas City schools are poorly designed.  Fortunately, well-designed bike parking racks are relatively inexpensive, and excellent bike parking design guidelines are posted at, the website of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.   

I ask the City Manager and Council to allocate some modest funding to install quality bike parking racks at public facilities in the City and to encourage the appropriate integration of bike parking accommodations in future private development projects.