Bradley Boulevard Meeting Notes

Wednesday night’s Bradley Boulevard Public Meeting was fundamentally about the potential configurations of 4 items in a redesign of Bradley Boulevard from Wilson to Goldsboro:

1. an 8′ shared-use trail;

2. a northern sidewalk; and

3. a southern sidewalk.

Roughly a year after the last presentation of design alternatives (numbered 1, 2, and 3) to the public, MCDOT presented 3 revisions (4a, 4b, and 4c).  These revisions were various combinations and/or moderations of the original 3 alternatives.  All variations  include bikeable shoulders and a vegetated bioswale to meet the County’s environmentally sensitive design requirements, as well as stormwater quality and quantity regulations.

  • Alternative 4a:

Includes an 8′ shared-use path, bikeable shoulders on both sides of the roadway, and a sidewalk on both sides of the roadway.  The 12′ path from the original alternatives has been reduced to 8′.  And this is the only alternative containing any shared-use path.

  • Alternative 4b:

Includes sidewalk on both sides of the roadway with bikeable shoulders, but no shared-use path.

  • Alternative 4c:

Includes sidewalk on the north side of the boulevard only, with a bikeable shoulder on both sides.

After a brief introduction of the project team by project team leader Pat Shepherd, the community took a few moments to ask general questions before breaking up into smaller groups to review the individual cross-sections.  The primary concerns expressed during this period related motor vehicle volume and whether this project would increase traffic along the roadway.  Concerns were expressed about the roadway being widened.

Ms. Shepherd clarified that the roadway was not being widened, but that a left turn lane is proposed to be added at Wilson Lane, where the level of service is currently “F” and there are frequently rear-end collisions with drivers trying to turn left, as well as  increased maintenance needs and significant dangers to cyclists from motorists passing left-turning vehicles on the right shoulder.

Given the existing high volume of bicycle traffic along this stretch of Bradley Boulevard, as well as the potential that exists to link this neighborhood to the CCT, the Bethesda Trolley Trail, the C&O Towpath, and the retail and job opportunities in Bethesda, WABA supports the alternative that includes the shared-use path.  While all options are likely to improve conditions for cyclists, shared-use paths are more accessible for many.

Thus, WABA supports alternative 4a.  It provides the greatest improvement for bicyclists and pedestrians, and does the most to contribute to a truly multi-modal, walkable, bikeable neighborhood.

All are encouraged to send comments to Aruna Miller and Pat Shepherd.  (And they do count and consider them.  They noted that they received 140 comments after the last public meeting.)

You can send an email supporting Alternative 4a, which includes the shared-use path, HERE.

Further information about the project can be found HERE under “Bradley Boulevard Bikeway.”

MoCo Councilmember Berliner Focuses on CCT Safety

The Capital Crescent Trail busy with walkers, bikers, and rollerbladers.

Last week, WABA board member Casey Anderson and I attended a meeting convened by Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner to discuss trail safety on the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT).  Also in attendance were officials from the relevant parks, planning, and police agencies, as well as citizen representatives and representatives of the Coalition for the CCT.

The meeting was intended to allow all to discuss how to more safely share the trail and was notable for its focus on a variety of solutions and on the willingness of all users to work together to make the trail a better option for cyclists and walkers.

The county is looking into numerous educational and infrastructure improvements designed to minimize conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians, including increased signage, side-of-path improvements, and other engineered solutions.

I reiterated our concerns regarding the 15mph speed limit that, if enforced, would undermine the usefulness of the trail as a transportation path and raised the point that an across-the-board imposition of a speed limit does not address the myriad of behaviors — on the part of both cyclists and non-cyclists — that lead to conflicts on the trail. I acknowledged, however, that both cyclists and non-cyclists have a responsibility to be considerate of other trail users and to work for solutions that will make the trail safer and more pleasant for everyone.

The meeting focused primarily on low-cost solutions that those of us in the room could bring about in the near term. So while the officials will continue to look into the longer-term, infrastructure-based solutions, we want to remind our members and supporters to:

— Be courteous and respectful on the trails.
— Give notice as you pass, even if the pedestrian or jogger is wearing headphones.
— Give other trail users plenty of space.
— Pass safely, and accept that sometimes safety and civility may dictate that you put a foot down.

WABA will remain vigilant in asserting the rights of cyclists to use appropriate recreational and transportation facilities like the CCT, and we’re happy to report that no one at the meeting proposed draconian measures to keep cyclists off the trail or lessen its effectiveness as a significant commuter route. But acting with consideration and care for others can, and should, go together with defending our rights.

Representatives of walkers and other trail users from neighborhoods along the trail agreed to communicate with their constituents with similar safety reminders in the spirit of working together to make the CCT safer and more pleasant for everyone.

We’d like to thank Councilmember Berliner for convening this meeting. It is always helpful to know that the county is seeking solutions, even if they are in the exploratory phases. And we appreciate the frank but friendly discussion among all officials and users.

We look forward to working with Councilman Berliner’s office and the Coalition for the CCT in the coming weeks to expand our outreach efforts on the trail.

If any of our members or supporters would be interested in volunteering to conduct outreach on the CCT, please email us at waba@waba.org.

— Shane Farthing, Executive Director