- an impressive, 1,000+ mile, low-stress bicycle network of new protected bike lanes, trails, and quiet neighborhood streets, which will comfortably connect bicyclists of all ages and abilities to the places they need to go;
- new low-stress bikeways concentrated around urban areas, transit stops, schools, libraries, and county services so that a bicycle is the first choice for short trips;
- a network of high-capacity “Breezeways” between major destinations that allows people on bikes to cross longer distances with fewer delays, where all users – including slower moving bicyclists and pedestrians – can safely and comfortably travel together;
- new design guidelines for high quality, safe, and accessible protected bike lanes, trails and intersections;
- new programs and staff positions to build out the network, support people who bike and encourage more people to give it a try;
- abundant and secure, long-term bicycle parking facilities near Metro, Purple Line, Bus Rapid Transit, and MARC stations;
- and rigorous metrics to evaluate the county’s progress in carrying out the plan.
Last week, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to adopt a new Bicycle Master Plan for the County. This vote is the culmination of more than three years of intensive analysis, public engagement, and advocacy. By adopting this plan, the Council endorsed a dramatic shift in the County’s goals and approach to growing bicycling, committing MoCo to a convenient, inclusive, and low-stress bicycling future! While its broad strokes are similar to bicycle plans from neighboring cities and counties, the new Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan is in a league of its own due to its analytical rigor, its commitment to promoting bicycling for people of all ages and skill levels, and its ambitious countywide vision. The plan aims to make bicycling a convenient, safe and popular option in every community, a strong complement to transit, and a joyful part of everyday life. To achieve its goals, the plan is packed with network maps of new bicycle infrastructure, new bicycle-friendly policies and programs, and so much more. Here are some of the highlights. It calls for:
Guest post by Ross Filice tragically struck and killed by a driver at the intersection of the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) and Little Falls Parkway. After this incident, the local parks service reduced car lanes to one each way and lowered the speed limit. It has worked incredibly well, and Montgomery County should make the changes permanent. Since these changes were introduced, there has been a 67% reduction in crashes without any fatalities. Traffic has only decreased here by 3%, and drivers have only had to wait for an additional seven seconds on average. The response is well-aligned with the county’s Vision Zero commitment and its Two-Year Action Plan to have zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2030. In June, 2018, the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Parks Service presented a large range of possible permanent alternatives for this trail crossing. Based on data assessment, modeling, and public input, they have narrowed these down to three preferred alternatives which were presented at a public meeting on October 9, 2018. The goal is to eventually present a single preferred alternative to the Montgomery County Planning Board over the coming winter. Here’s an overview of the three options. Alternative A: This plan will continue the current road diet but add beautification and design improvements. It would improve lighting, return excess pavement to grass and landscaping, and implement safer and more welcoming pedestrian trails, including a raised crosswalk. This alternative is the most cost-effective (estimated $800,000), has the least environmental impact, and has proven to be safe over the last two years. Under the current conditions, very little traffic has been diverted to nearby streets. Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) plans for Arlington and Hillandale Roads will mitigate these impacts further, as will plans for the adjacent Bethesda Pool, which includes road diets and other traffic calming measures. With this design, trail users will be safer with minimal crossing delays, and drivers will continue to only wait an average of seven extra seconds over pre-road diet conditions, with no change from the previous two years. Alternative B: This plan diverts the CCT to the intersection of Arlington Road and Little Falls Parkway, and implements a three-way signal to give dedicated crossing time for vehicles (in two phases) and trail users (in one phase). This design would keep a single travel lane in each direction to decrease vehicle speeds and improve safety. There are many complicating factors with this proposal, however. It is more expensive (estimated $1,500,000), has greater environmental impact, both trail users and drivers will have to wait longer on average (30 seconds and 13 seconds respectively), and there’s more diverted traffic is expected over current conditions (an estimated 6%). This plan also makes it more challenging to connect the CCT to the nearby Little Falls Trail and Norwood Park, and the complex trail plan from the separate Capital Crescent Trail Connector project would likely have to be resurrected. Most concerning, it’s likely that both drivers and trail users would be tempted to ignore the signal by either turning right on red or crossing against the signal entirely. Both actions would introduce greater risk. Alternative C: The most expensive plan (estimated $4,000,000) but arguably the safest is to build a trail bridge over Little Falls Parkway. In this scenario, trail users and vehicles are completely separated and delays are minimized for both. However, the cost is highest, ongoing maintenance costs will likely be far greater, and the environmental impact is the greatest. Given the minimal impact to drivers and the dramatic safety improvements demonstrated over the last two years of the temporary road diet, it seems hard to justify the financial cost and environmental impact of this solution. The project planning team has presented an informative table comparing the three alternatives along with a default “no-build” option, which highlights many of these points. You can also see a simulated rendering of the plans, courtesy of WTOP. Some neighbors are worried about traffic, but the data doesn’t bear that out Feedback at the recent meeting was generally positive, but some people had concerns. Some were worried that traffic is being diverted into area neighborhoods, and others wondered how to accommodate predicted regional growth. However, data shows that there was only a 3% decrease in traffic at the intersection during the current interim road diet, and it’s likely that even less of it was actually diverted. No measurable increase in traffic has been observed on the nearby Dorset Avenue. The project plan has indicated that traffic may be increased on Hillandale and Arlington Roads, but both will be mitigated by parallel MC-DOT plans for road diets and other calming measures. Traffic in the adjacent Kenwood neighborhood has already been addressed by one-way streets, speed bumps, and rush hour restrictions. Traffic from regional construction and population growth can be addressed by the incoming Purple Line, county plans for bus rapid transit, and improving trail safety as an important transportation corridor. Tell the county to prioritize vulnerable road users’ lives Increasing capacity for predominantly single-occupancy vehicles in the era of Vision Zero and increasingly alarming environmental reports is simply the wrong direction for the county. Ultimately, a seven-second delay is not worth returning to unsafe conditions and potentially having another person killed at this location. This is an excellent opportunity to solidify a positive step towards embracing Vision Zero and improving safety and environmental impact for this area and the county. Alternative A is a safe, cost-effective, and minimally disruptive solution that has been proven to work well over the last two years. Full details including plans can be viewed at the project website. Comments can be submitted by email to the project manager, Andrew Tsai and via an online public forum.Two years ago, a cyclist was
July 11 Update: The record will remain open until August 24th for comments on the Bicycle Master Plan. The Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee will review the plan and comments in depth at a worksession on September 17. Montgomery County is one step away from adopting the most innovative and rigorous bicycle master plan in the country. But we need you to help us push it over the line! On Tuesday, July 10, the County Council will hold the final hearing on the plan. And based on what they hear, the Council will make final changes and vote to adopt it. This plan will guide the next 25 years of bicycle planning and construction in Montgomery County, so this is a pivotal moment for biking in the county.
- an extensive, 1,000 mile, low-stress bicycle network of new protected bike lanes, trails, and quiet neighborhood streets, which will comfortably connect bicyclists of all ages and abilities to the places they need to go;
- a network of high-capacity “breezeways” between activity centers that allows people on bikes to travel with fewer delays, where all users – including slower moving bicyclists and pedestrians – can safely and comfortably coexist.
- new design standards for safe and accessible protected bike lanes, trails and intersections;
- new programs to build out the network, support people who bike and encourage more people to give it a try;
- Abundant and secure, long-term bicycle parking facilities near Metro and MARC stations;
- And rigorous metrics to evaluate the county’s progress in carrying out the plan.
Bike Master Plan Council Hearing Tuesday, July 10 at 7:30 pm Council Office Building (Third-floor hearing room) 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, 20850Sign up to testify by July 10 at 10 am and reply to let us know that you will be there. If possible, email a written copy of your testimony in advance of the hearing by email to County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov. Read the full plan here and the proposed network here.
here. Take a look and weigh in on what you like. You can read WABA’s comment letter here. After Ned Gaylin was struck and killed while crossing the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway in October 2016, Montgomery Parks moved swiftly to make the intersection safer. In January 2017, Montgomery Parks reduced the speed limit from 35mph to 25mph between Hillandale Road and Fairfax Road, in addition to removing a lane of traffic in both directions. Signage, flex posts and lane striping were also added. These changes effectively made the street safe and were greatly appreciated, but they were only temporary. Now, Montgomery Parks is considering a permanent fix to the trail crossing. Join us on Wednesday, June 13th at 7pm for the first public meeting to discuss this trail crossing, concept drawings, and project alternatives. Community Meeting #1 When: Wednesday, June 13th at 7pm Where: Somerset Elementary School (in the All-Purpose Room/Cafeteria) 5811 Warwick Place Chevy Chase, MD 20815 We are grateful that Montgomery Parks and county leaders are taking the right steps to improve this trail crossing by prioritizing safety over speed.August Update: Montgomery Parks have posted all materials presented at their June meeting
Late last year, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his Vision Zero Action Plan, committing the county’s agencies to eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the county by 2030. On Thursday, the Planning Board will hold a hearing on its first contribution to achieving Vision Zero – the Veirs Mill Master Plan.
- Build a combination of 2-way protected bike lanes, sidepaths and neighborhood greenways for a continuous, safe, and low-stress bicycle route,
- Build continuous sidewalks on both sides of the road,
- Implement the proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan for Veirs Mill,
- Add trees and landscaping to buffer people from cars,
- Add new traffic signals, refuge islands and protected intersections that give people walking and biking priority for crossing the road,
- Remove high speed turn lanes,
- And reduce the speed limit to 35 mph.
- Get to know the plan. You can read the executive summary or the whole document here.
- Write comments in support of the plan and send them to MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org. Your comments can be broad or specific. Highlight the transportation and safety elements that are most important to you.
- Comments by email help a lot, but delivering them in person makes a huge difference. Sign up to attend Thursday night’s hearing and tell the Planning Board what you think of a safer Veirs Mill Road. Sign up to testify here.
After a chilly winter, trees are getting greener and the air sweeter, meaning spring is finally here! And now that it is fun to be outside again, it’s time to go for a bike ride! Join WABA and the Bike Silver Spring community for a series of social rides to get back in the saddle, meet new friends, and get to know Silver Spring by bike. Rides are fun, free, and most are family friendly. Earth Day Ride – Sunday, April 22 Celebrate our planet with a family friendly ride We will meet at Veterans Plaza at 10:00am in downtown Silver Spring, and ride up the Sligo Creek Trail to Wheaton Park. On the way back, riders will have the option to help “clean the creek” with Friends of Sligo Creek. The route is 14 miles round trip, mostly on trails and quiet streets. Register here. City Cycling Class – Saturday. May 5 In a WABA City Cycling class you’ll learn bike handling tips and tricks that leave you feeling more confident, competent and comfortable, whether you’re riding on the brand new Spring St. protected bike lanes or on a hectic and busy street like Wayne Ave. Learn more and register here. Silver Spring Art Ride – Saturday, May 12 Join us for Bike Silver Spring’s second Art Ride on Sunday, May 12. We will meet at 10:00am at Veterans Plaza and bike around Silver Spring at a gentle pace while learning about some of the public art you see everyday (and maybe a few you hadn’t noticed). We welcome bikers of all ages and skill levels to enjoy this guided tour of Silver Spring public art! The ride will be around 5 miles with many stops. Register here. Bike to Work Day – Friday, May 18 Join the growing number of bike commuters on Bike to Work Day 2018. Stop by one of the 100+ pit stops in the region for food, prizes and the encouragement you need to get to work by bike. Nearby pit stops include Silver Spring – Discovery Place, Takoma Park Downtown – Old Takoma, Takoma Park – Sligo Creek Trail and FDA White Oak. If you work in downtown DC, join a 7:00 am convoy from the Silver Spring or Takoma Park Pit Stops. Register for your free t-shirt and learn more at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org. Memorial Day – Monday, May 28 Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day and streets near the Mall will be closed to auto traffic. Come ride from Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring at 10:00 a.m. We will ride to the beginning of the Metropolitan Branch Trail at the Silver Spring Metro and follow the alignment, including the parts constructed and the signed route, south toward DC and the Mall (about 9 miles one way). After cruising the car-free streets in downtown DC, riders will then have the option to ride back the way we came, take the metro back home, or stay in DC for the Memorial Day festivities. Register here. A Sweet Ride – Saturday, June 9 We know you love biking, but why not sweeten the deal a bit further? Join Bike Silver Spring on Sunday, June 9 at 10:00 am for a casual ride through downtown Silver Spring and Takoma Park with stops at several local shops for some delicious sweet treats. Register here. Bike Safari (Zoo Ride) – Saturday, June 30 Let’s go bikin’ now (everybody’s learnin’ how). Come on a safari with me! Join our pack when Bike Silver Spring rides to the National Zoo on Saturday, June 30! We will meet at Veterans Plaza at 10:00am, ride about 7.5 miles thru Rock Creek Park, and then enjoy a couple hours at the zoo. You’ll have the option to bike back, take the metro, or continue your own adventure from the zoo! Register here. Rides are made possible thanks to support form the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Silver Spring Placemaking Initiative.
The abrupt 5+ year closure of the Georgetown Branch Trail made the long-standing challenges of getting to and through Bethesda by bicycle an urgent safety problem. With only a handful of disconnected, unprotected bike lanes, Bethesda’s streets are too stressful and hazardous for most people to bike on, and are certainly no substitute for the Georgetown Branch Trail. Bethesda needs a complete, protected bicycle network—ASAP.
Build a core networkA safe and low-stress bicycle network circles around and through the heart of Bethesda geting kids to school, commuters to work, and shoppers to stores. New protected bike lanes and low-stress bikeways connect the Interim Georgetown Branch Trail into downtown Bethesda and create safe crossings of Wisconsin Ave and Old Georgetown Road.
Existing network in Green. Proposed core network in Red.
- Woodmont Ave – a 2-way protected bike lane from Wisconsin Ave at Leland St to Norfolk Ave, is the pivotal backbone of the network. It will connect the Capital Crescent Trail to the Bethesda Trolley Trail via Norfolk Ave and the Interim Georgetown Branch Trail along Jones Bridge Rd and Maryland Ave. via Cheltenham Dr.
- Montgomery Ln / Ave – a 2-way protected bike lane will connect Woodmont Ave to Pearl St. and East West Highway, creating a safe crossing of Wisconsin Ave and a new bicycle link to Bethesda / Chevy Chase High School and the many stores and offices on Montgomery Ave.
- Pearl St / Maryland Ave Bikeway – bike lanes and traffic calming will create a low-stress neighborhood bikeway from Montgomery Ave to the Jones Bridge Rd.
- Norfolk Ave / Cheltenham Dr. Bikeway – bike lanes and traffic-calmed neighborhood streets from Woodmont to Pearl St. will create a new safe crossing of Wisconsin Ave and a northern link to the Interim Georgetown Branch Trail.
- Capital Crescent Trail Surface Route – a 2-way protected bike lane crossing Wisconsin Ave. from Woodmont Ave to Elm St via Bethesda Ave, Willow Ln and 47th St. This will reconnect East Bethesda and Chevy Chase residents south of the now-closed Georgetown Branch Trail and serve the important trail crossing while a new trail tunnel is designed and built.
How do we get this done?Funding! Only small pieces of this envisioned network are currently funded for design and construction. Tell the County Executive and the County Council you support funding these improvements to make safe biking possible for all types of bicyclists. Funds are needed this spring and in July to build these essential safety improvements. Montgomery County’s budget process is already underway. The Woodmont Ave protected bike lane needs more than $1.5 million to construct and additional funds are required for improvements to Montgomery Ln, Pearl Street, Maryland Avenue and Cheltenham Drive to complete the core network.
UpdateSince kicking off the campaign in December, it has gained momentum! In December, Council President Hans Riemer and Councilmember Roger Berliner requested that the County Executive fund a core Bethesda bicycle network. In January, the Bethesda Bike Now Coalition’s video, highlighting the stressful riding conditions in Bethesda, went viral with over 16 thousand views. The Washington Post highlighted the issue in an article a few days later. Finally, County Executive Ike Leggett’s proposed budget includes $3 million over the next three years to design and build the proposed network! We commend Executive Leggett for proposing funding for the network over the next few years. However, we are concerned that the proposed funding is not sufficient to complete a usable network by July of 2019. As the County Council reviews the budget, we hope that some of this funding can be moved up to Fiscal Year 19. Sign the Petition to support this final step.
On Saturday, October 14, more than 70 bike advocates and neighbors gathered with county officials in Woodside Urban Park to celebrate the completion of Silver Spring’s first protected bike lanes on Spring Street and Cedar Street. After schmoozing with stakeholders and excited conversations, councilmembers Roger Berliner, Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer, Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Al Roshdieh, Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and WABA Board Member Peter Gray spoke about the event’s significance and enjoyed many well-deserved rounds of applause. After cutting the ribbon on the new lanes, we all embarked on the maiden voyage, joyfully riding the length of the protected bike lanes and returning along Wayne Ave and Second Ave, the future home of Silver Spring’s 2nd protected bike lane. Events like this capture advocacy at its finest. Government officials experienced firsthand the passion of their constituents and the delight, and new connections, such projects generate. About 55 bicyclists safely and comfortably traveled along a main Silver Spring corridor, showcasing the potential for smart road design to promote safe and active transportation for all age groups. Along the way, curious residents inquired about the event, and a few stray cyclists joined the ride! Thank you to all who made this event possible. We look forward to working with you as we harness this positive energy and momentum for a more bikeable, walkable and livable Silver Spring! WABA’s Action Committee for Montgomery County and a resident of Silver Spring. To get involved, sign our petition to support our campaign to Create the Silver Spring Circle for a more bikeable Silver Spring, come to our next meeting (4th Monday of the month, 7pm at the Silver Spring Civic Center) and join the Bike Silver Spring Facebook group.
Downtown Silver Spring is taking a huge step towards being a bikeable, walkable and livable community! Over the past few months, crews have been piecing together downtown Silver Spring’s very first protected bike lane on Spring and Cedar St. Over the past three weeks, the project has been taking shape, with new lane striping, green paint, and flex-posts appearing every day along the 0.8 mile corridor. Well, It’s just about complete, and it’s time to celebrate. On October 14, we are throwing a party to celebrate the first of many protected bike lanes around and through the downtown, promising low-stress, convenient, and safe trips by bike. Join the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, neighbors, community advocates, County Councilmembers and staff to celebrate and take the inaugural ride on these new bike lanes! Starting at 10am come over to Woodside Urban Park for a festive celebration with activities for the whole family. Then, help us thank county leaders and staff who are leading the charge for more bikeable and walkable communities as we cut the ribbon on the first major piece of the Silver Spring Circle. Once the ribbon is cut, join us on a community bike ride down Spring St to see and feel what low-stress urban biking is all about. The route will be a kid-friendly loop around downtown with an easy stop at the farmers market before returning to the start. Activities include kid-friendly bike ride, design your own bike lane, playground, face painter, Bike Master Plan team, Montgomery County Commuter Services, and tons of conversation about fun and low-stress biking in Silver Spring and beyond. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate this first big step for the Silver Spring Circle!
Bicycle Master Plan. This is your chance to share your ideas on needed bicycle connections and help shape the future bicycle network. At five meetings around the county, staff will present their vision for a quality, low-stress network that will get tens of thousands of residents where they need to go safely and conveniently by bicycle. Though pieces of the network have been released, this is the first time we get to see the future bike network in its entirety. Come look at the maps and let staff know what you like and what is missing. Each meeting will run from 4 pm – 8:30 pm, consisting of an open house from 4 – 7 pm and a presentation and Q&A from 7:15 – 8:30 pm.If you could make one improvement for better bicycling in Montgomery County, what would it be? Would you add a new trail along a major highway or create a protected bike lane to your local grocery store? Would you connect Metro to nearby neighborhoods or stitch together a web of protected bike lanes in the county’s dense urban centers? In June, the Montgomery Planning Department is hosting meetings to get your feedback on the draft network maps for the updated
|Meeting 1 Tuesday, June 6 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm Planning Department Headquarters 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring RSVP||Meeting 2 Thursday, June 8 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm Bethesda Regional Services Center 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda RSVP|
|Meeting 3 Monday, June 12 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm Olney Library 3500 Olney Laytonsville Rd, Olney RSVP||Meeting 4 Wednesday, June 14 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm UpCounty Regional Services Center 12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown RSVP|
|Meeting 5 Thursday, June 22 | 4 pm – 8:30 pm Marilyn J. Praisner Library 14910 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville RSVP|