Give MCDOT Your Thoughts On Shared Streets

In response to lobbying by WABA and other advocacy groups—Coalition for Smarter Growth, Action Committee for Transport, Sierra Club, PBTSAC and others—Montgomery County Department of Transportation has begun steps to create what they are calling Shared Streets, meaning closing off certain streets to only allow local car traffic. One major step MCDOT has taken is to set up a website to solicit suggestions from residents on county roads that should be closed off to through car traffic, allowing for slow and local car traffic, with a priority on bicycle and pedestrian usage. This incorporates the Bicycle Master Plan concept of Neighborhood Greenways.

Please give your feedback here to MCDOT! This includes taking the survey and sending specific ideas for Shared Streets via email to MCDOT.SharedStreets@montgomerycountymd.gov

MCDOT is also soliciting ideas for helping facilitate outdoor dining options by repurposing parking spaces adjacent to restaurants, and by closing off some streets to all cars, such as Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda.

In addition, MCDOT is looking for volunteers near the implementation of Shared Streets to monitor the cones and signs put down to close off streets to non-local car traffic. If you are interested in volunteering to help out, please send an email to peter@waba.org, noting your street address.

Finally, we hope that MCDOT will set up a permit process whereby residents can ask to set up a shared street in their neighborhood. We will keep you posted on when this is implemented by MCDOT.

We could not make such progress without your support! Go to the MCDOT website on Shared Streets, take the survey, send specific suggestions for Shared Streets and help maintain the Shared streets implemented near you.

WIN: Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel Funded.

Update: The County Council heard you and voted unanimously to fund the tunnel! Construction is expected to be complete in 2026, which is a couple of years later than we hoped, but still a success.

We’ll have more analysis soon. In the meantime, read more at Bethesda Magazine.

February Action Alert:

In 2017, the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Ave in Bethesda permanently closed to make way for the Purple Line’s station and tracks. At the time, Montgomery County leaders assured the public that a new tunnel for the trail would be designed and built to take the county’s busiest trail under Wisconsin Avenue. Now, the design is nearly done but County Executive Marc Elrich proposes no funding to build it.

When trains begin carrying passengers on the Purple Line, a new extension of the Capital Crescent Trail will open too, connecting Bethesda to Silver Spring. It will fly over Connecticut Ave, Colesville Rd and Rock Creek Park on new bridges. But when it enters Bethesda you will not see the old trail tunnel. Instead, it will hit a stop light and Wisconsin Avenue’s 40,000 daily cars and trucks.

The County must finish the tunnel by the time the Purple Line is complete. Contact your Montgomery County Council members using the form below to urge them to provide full funding for the construction of the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2023.

While the CCT tunnel is WABA’s #1 priority in this budget, we need your help to restore funding for other important projects too. When you’re done, you will be automatically redirected to weigh in on those too.

Support WABA’s Montgomery County Budget Priorities

Funding a new tunnel for the Capital Crescent Trail under Wisconsin is WABA’s top budget priority this year. But County Executive Elrich proposed cuts and delays for many important bicycle, trail and pedestrian projects. They need the Council’s attention to get back on the right track. WABA is asking the Montgomery County Council to:

  1. Fund the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel for completion by 2023
  2. Reverse the proposed two-year delays to the Metropolitan Branch Trail and Fenton Street protected bike lanes. Alone, these projects are important to getting people around Silver Spring safely by bike, scooter, and foot, but the success of the Purple Line in Silver Spring also depends on them to get people to two Purple Line Stations.
  3. Fund planning and construction for the 70 miles of Tier One master planned bikeways. The newly adopted Bicycle Master Plan calls for hundreds of miles of new bikeways, prioritized to increase bicycling as quickly as possible. The first tier, which builds networks in the urban areas and low-stress connections to them, needs a funding mechanism for design and construction. At a minimum, all Tier One projects should be designed and more than half constructed by the end of the FY21-26 CIP.
  4. Reverse the proposed cuts to the Parks budget to ensure that the county’s parks, trails, and recreation programs remain great.
  5. Update old designs for the dual bikeways proposed in the Seven Locks and Bradley Boulevard bike/ped projects.  These projects were designed many years ago and their designs do not meet the standards set out in the Bicycle Master Plan. Before going further, the designs should get an update.  Similarly, the Goldsboro and Falls Road projects provide useful connections in the County and we must make sure they meet the standards set out in the Bicycle Master Plan.

To see WABA’s full list of budget priorities, read our testimony for the Council’s Budget Hearing here.

Spring Adult Classes: Register now!

Winter may not be over just yet, but our  spring 2020 bicycle education classes are posted and registration is now open! Check out our schedule and find an upcoming class or community ride in a neighborhood near you!

Sign Up

WABA’s bicycle education classes help you to build confidence! Whether you’re a seasoned bicyclist or are learning to ride  for the first time, our experienced instructors will provide the tips, tricks, and guidance you need to bike with ease.  Did we mention that our classes are FREE for WABA members? Check out all the benefits of membership at waba.org/extras and become a member today!

Join WABA

Choosing the Class That is Right for You

Adult Learn to Ride – This 3 hour class is for adults who have never ridden a bike before or have not been on a bike in some time. Participants learn the basics of balancing, gliding, and pedaling, with the goal of riding by the end of class! 

Class Details: 

  • Bicycles and helmets provided
  • Subsidized registrations available 
  • Advanced registration required

Basic Skills Clinic – This 2 hour clinic is for participants who have recently taken an Adult Learn to Ride class and would like to continue practicing basic skills. Instructors will teach basic bike handling drills drills such as starting and stopping, turning, weaving and gradual braking.

Class Details: 

  • Bicycles and helmets provided!
  • Bring your own bike and helmet for a reduced registration cost
  • Advanced registration required

City Cycling – This 3 hour class is for participants who know how to ride a bike but would like to build confidence. Participants run through basic bike handling skills to hazard avoidance maneuvers and discuss strategies for riding in different road, bike lane and trail situations. The class ends with a group ride where participants put their newly acquired skills into practice.

Class Details: 

  • Participants must bring their own bicycle and helmet!
  • Use a Capital Bikeshare bike and WABA will reimburse your usage fee!
  • Advanced registration recommended, drop ins are free!

Community Rides – WABA’s community rides are an inclusive space for riders of all levels to explore the region. Community rides are designed to accommodate different distances and interests. 

Class Details: 

  • Family friendly 
  • Participants must bring their own bicycle and helmet
  • Use a Capital Bikeshare bike and WABA will reimburse your usage fee!

Advanced registration recommended, drop ins are free!

Still not sure which class is right for you? Email us at education@waba.org or call 202-518-0524 ext. 221. We’ll help you get signed up for a class in no time. 

Classes Offered with Spanish Translation

This season, select classes across the region will be taught in English and Spanish! Check out our bilingual classes below:

Our highly-trained instructors will provide bilingual instruction to make sure you have the best experience possible. Have any questions? Email education@waba.org.

Now that spring class registration is open, what are you waiting for? Make 2020 the year you accomplish your biking goals. Sign up for a class today!  We can’t wait to see you out there. 

WABA is proud to partner with the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Arlington County and The City of Alexandria to provide bicycle education classes near you!

Conversaciónes comunitarias: Montgomery County

Hello!

We’ve postponed this event to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. If you’re already signed up, we’ll send you an email when we have arranged a new date. Otherwise, check back here for updates.

We are sincerely grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding. Please take care of yourself and your community.

❤️,
The WABA Team

¿Te gusta andar en bicicleta? ¿O tienes interés en empezar a andar en bicicleta? ¿Qué desafíos que te impiden de andar en bici? Te invitamos a participar de nuestras conversaciones comunitarias. Las conversaciones proporcionarán un espacio para hablar sobre el transporte en la región, expresar tus opiniones, contestar tus preguntas sobre el ciclismo, y explicar el trabajo que hace WABA (la Asociación de Ciclistas de la región de Washington). 

WABA busca saber tus opiniones y preguntas sobre el ciclismo para mejorar nuestro apoyo a la comunidad Latina y sus necesidades. ¡Traiga tus ideas, preguntas, y amigxs! Todxs están bienvenidas y invitadxs a charlar con nosotrxs. Se proporcionarán refrigerios para el evento.

El evento es para la comunidad Latina, incluyendo adultos, adolescentes y niñxs (se proporcionarán libros para colorear). La conversación será en en español. WABA proporcionará refrigerios durante el evento.

La Bibliotéca Wheaton
11701 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

Meet the Mid-Atlantic’s first protected intersection

Good things come to those who work really hard for many years with thousands of people contributing along the way, right? My work as a community organizer at WABA means that I bridge the gap between you, who wants a better place to bike and live, and our regional decision makers. And because of you, we have a lot of progress to celebrate in Montgomery County.

Last year, we celebrated the adoption of the most ambitious and comprehensive bike master plan in the country. That means leaders in Montgomery County took three+ years of our emails and phone calls and meetings and input to heart — the transportation department is literally rearranging itself to be friendlier to biking and walking. 

That wouldn’t have happened without your past investment, which is changing how our communities are built, street by street.

This year, we get to celebrate a major expansion of our bicycle network, including the Mid-Atlantic’s first protected intersection, right in downtown Silver Spring. Whether you’re biking, walking, scooting, or driving, the intersection is safe, intuitive, and predictable.

Here’s why I’m jazzed about it:

  • It’s setting a national standard in how to safely mix road users.
  • There’s a permanent bike counter, so every time you roll past you can see how many people came through before you, that day and year.
  • There’s a low-stress connection to the Metro, a giant bus terminal, and (soon!) the Purple Line.
  • It gives me the chance to use words like “gold standard” and “visionary,” which, to be honest, doesn’t happen all that often.
  • It’s part of a network of protected bike lanes, making it actually useful.

And above all, it’s the first of many. Your financial support today means that we can push the County to keep it coming next year in Bethesda, White Flint, Wheaton, Takoma/Langley.

The Montgomery County Planning Board should not re-route the Capital Crescent Trail.

Last month, the Montgomery County Planning Board made a hasty and very bad decision on the permanent design for the Capital Crescent Trail’s crossing of Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda. While perhaps made with good intentions, this decision will create unacceptable daily safety risks for the thousands of people who use the trail. The board has started a new term and has a new member. 

In the letter below, we call on the board to reconsider its decision and to put its park users and people first. Use the form below to sign the letter.

Members of the Montgomery County Planning Board,

On June 13, the Planning Board voted 4-1 to reject the analysis and recommendation of Montgomery Parks staff to implement Alternative A including retention of the road diet already in place, and placement of a speed table forcing cars to slow at the crossing.  We are deeply concerned by the Planning Board’s recent decision to not only reject Alternative A as recommended by Parks but to also disregard all other carefully proposed alternatives. The decision to eliminate the road diet put in place after a cyclist died in 2016 runs directly counter to Montgomery County’s core Vision Zero principles, ignores all objective data regarding this intersection, and will endanger vulnerable trail users on the most popular trail in the region.  The Planning Board should reconsider this decision, retain the road diet and endorse the Alternative A approach that has the Trail cross at-grade with Little Falls Parkway.


Montgomery County’s Vision Zero commitment is grounded in just a few core principles. 

  1. Traffic fatalities are preventable. 
  2. Human life takes priority over moving traffic quickly and all other goals of a road system. 
  3. Human error is inevitable, so the transportation system should be designed to anticipate mistakes and reduce their consequences. 
  4. People are inherently vulnerable and speed is a fundamental predictor of crash survival.

While straightforward in theory, designing intersections and roads that follow these principles often requires different tools and different priorities than have been traditionally used. Relying on old auto-oriented values will not help the county eliminate all traffic fatalities.

The board’s chosen intersection design contradicts every one of these (Vision Zero) principles. Restoring Little Falls Parkway to four lanes prioritizes moving cars quickly over the safety of people on the trail. More travel lanes encourage speeding, especially at off-peak times when the road is empty. And doubling the crossing distance increases a person’s exposure to traffic. If everyone follows the rules precisely, the intersection may work. But everyone makes mistakes.

Unfortunately, diverting the trail to the traffic signal and widening the road makes everyone wait much longer. More waiting will bring more cut-through traffic on Hillandale and encourage an increase in frustration, bad choices, and dangerous behavior. Frustrated drivers may run the light or turn right on red. Trail users may cross the Parkway against the light. When someone makes a mistake or a bad choice, it will be more likely to end in a crash and a severe injury or death under the Board’s chosen design.

Montgomery County and Montgomery Planning have committed to Vision Zero with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in just over 10 years. If we are to achieve this goal, we must be consistent throughout the County. The plan Parks recommended for this intersection is consistent with Vision Zero and putting a road diet here has been proven safe and effective with minimal impact on cars. The decision you made on June 13 is just the opposite, makes human life and safety the lowest of priorities, and will set us back in achieving our goals of protecting Montgomery County residents.

We implore you to reconsider this decision and choose a path forward that puts your park users and their safety, first.

MoCo Planning Board Votes to Remove the Little Falls Parkway Road Diet

Update: WABA has written a letter to the Montgomery County Planning Board asking that they reconsider this decision. Sign the letter here.

take action

Rendering of the rejected road diet for the Capital Crescent Trail crossing of Little Falls Parkway.

On June 13th, the Montgomery County Planning board met to review and approve a permanent safety improvement plan for the intersection of the Capital Crescent Trail and Little Falls Parkway where a bicyclist was hit and killed in 2017. In a shocking turn, the Planning Board voted 4 to 1 to reject the staff’s recommendation. Instead, the Board chose to restore Little Falls Parkway and remove a successful road diet, detour the trail to the traffic signal at Arlington Road, and study an expensive bridge crossing over the widened Parkway.

This decision should have been a simple one. After a bicyclist was hit and killed here in 2017, the Parks Department sprung into action with a temporary plan to make this intersection safe by removing a travel lane in each direction and lowering the speed limit. In the 2.5 years since then, the interim road diet has proved to be an impressive safety improvement, with fewer crashes and safer driver speeds. Traffic studies showed that drivers experienced just 7 seconds of additional delay due to the road diet. 

After a 1.5 year comprehensive study of 12 possible permanent configurations for this intersection — including a bridge, tunnel, removing the road diet, and completely closing Little Falls Parkway — Parks staff concluded that the safest and best-for-all option was a slightly modified version of what is there today. They recommended, and WABA supported, permanently reducing Little Falls to a two-lane road, lowering the speed limit, adding a raised crosswalk at the current trail crossing, and numerous other changes to add green space, improve connections and calm traffic. Coincidentally, this was also the least expensive and least environmentally impactful option.

Trail plan.

But at the hearing, the Board rejected that plan and instead made up a new plan on the spot, directing staff to restore Little Falls Parkway to four lanes and divert the trail to the traffic signal at Arlington Rd. 

This decision undermines 1.5 years of careful staff work. It disregards objective data collected here and case studies from across the US that demonstrate that road diets cut crashes by up to 50%, decrease speeding, and create easier crossings, all without major traffic impacts. The decision contradicts the County’s Vision Zero commitment and other policy goals by prioritizing moving cars quickly at the expense of people’s safety.

We at WABA are adamantly opposed to this decision which we believe will have a dramatic, negative, and daily impact on the safety of the 3,000 people who use the Capital Crescent Trail each day. If you share our frustration, we encourage you to email the Planning Board (MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org) and email your County Councilmembers. For a thorough look at the options and repercussions of this decision, see Ross Filice’s post on Greater Greater Washington.

Oak View Elementary Excels Beyond the (Bike) Bell

Standing on the blacktop under a toasty May sun, the adults who had travelled to Oak View Elementary — parents, Montgomery County officials, local advocates — all asked the same question: “Where are the kids?!”

As if on cue, cheers erupted from the open door leading into Oak View’s gymnasium. Moments later, 31 third grade students, emerged onto the blacktop, greeted by applause and cheers. After six weeks of Excel Beyond the Bell’s Pilot Bike Safety Program, today was the day they would actually go on a two-mile bike ride!

EBB students wearing their helmets, donated by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Back in April 2019, when Excel Beyond the Bell first began at Oak View, 70% of the kids in the program’s cohort did not know to ride a bike. It was a “unique challenge” that changed the dynamic of how this cohort would learn over the next six weeks, said Jeff Wetzel, Youth and Family Coordinator at WABA.

“At the beginning, only 30 percent of the kids had some ability to ride,” Wetzel said. “By the end, more than 50 percent of the kids were able to ride and competent to go on a 10-mile ride. Basically, they were ready for Bike Camp!

Joined by Councilmember Hans Riemer, Oak View Elementary Principal Jeffrey Cline, County officials, and other distinguished guests, each person had a similar, positive message for the students.

“Let’s keep working on this,” Councilmember Riemer said, “so that in the next couple of years, there’s the opportunity for every kid in Montgomery County to learn how to ride a bike and find that freedom for themselves!”

Excel Beyond the Bell as a program is not new to Montgomery County; it’s been around since 2010. The Bike Safety Program as an option for kids is a first. Not only did Oak View Elementary students learn how to ride, but the progressive curriculum included lessons on traffic rules, bike-handling skills and safe travel routes.

After the culminating bike ride, the Department of Recreation gave away eight bikes to students based on two criteria: progress in the EBB Bike Safety Program and a separate, essay contest where students wrote about what they would do if they had a bike. All the students went home with their own helmets, donated by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

One of the eight students who received a bike from of the Department of Recreation.

The day was a hit, and the program will expand to two sites next school year. As Montgomery County continues to expand its support for bicycling, we look forward to to the continued success of Excel Beyond the Bell’s Bike Safety Program!

Check out the Montgomery County Council’s video on Oak View Elementary’s EBB Ride!

Three bike projects coming to Downtown Silver Spring

Photo from CDOT

On Monday, February 4, please come learn about three bike projects coming to downtown Silver Spring. Montgomery County Department of Transportation staff will share plans and get your feedback on two small but important additions to the Silver Spring bike network and the first secure bike parking facility in the county!

  • Cameron to Planning Place Bikeway – a new north-south bike connection between the end of Fenton St at Cameron and the “Purple Pathway” leading to Spring St. and Woodland Dr.
  • Dixon Ave protected bike lanes – new north-south curb-protected bike lanes between Wayne Ave and Ripley St.
  • Silver Spring Secure Bike Parking – a secure bike parking room at Dixon & Bonifant will give Metro, MARC, bus and Purple Line riders, and area visitors a secure place to store their bike.

Silver Spring Bike Project Public Meeting

Monday, February 4, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Silver Spring International Middle School
313 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD

To learn more about these and other county bike projects before the meeting, visit bikemontgomery.com. If you cannot attend but want to share feedback, contact Matt Johnson, AICP, Project Manager at 240-777-7237 or Matt.Johnson@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov by February 20.


Where are the 2nd Ave and Wayne Ave protected bike lanes?

Late last fall, MCDOT broke ground on protected bike lanes on 2nd Ave. and Wayne Ave. between Spring St. and Georgia Ave. which form the second major piece of the Silver Spring Circle. Unfortunately, construction hit a few major utility and weather snags which delayed much of the early work. It should be back on track in early spring. Stay tuned for a celebration.