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.
Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring has almost everything it needs to be the Silver Spring’s main street. It is lined by cafes, shops, entertainment and community spaces kept bustling by the tens of thousands of people who live and work nearby. But step off the curb into the street and the bustle turns to chaos. Aggressive driving, unsafe crossings and a car-first road design make biking too stressful for most and walking, especially with kids, harder than it should be.
It’s time to make Fenton Street work for everyone. Protected bike lanes, safer crossings, and traffic calming can help make Fenton the community main street it should be. Sign our petition to ask our county’s leaders to get started planning protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Fenton Street!
In 2016, WABA’s Action Committee for Montgomery County kicked off a campaign to Create the Silver Spring Circle. We envisioned a network of protected bike lanes around and through Silver Spring’s downtown core to connect people with the places they want to go. Three years later. that network is taking shape. Large pieces are complete and even more are under construction and in design. Together, they form a low-stress bicycle loop around Silver Spring’s busiest attractions. But the last piece of that network — a protected bike lane on Fenton St from Cameron to King which would get people to those busy places — is still just a concept.
Biking is a great way to get around downtown Silver Spring, but most people will not consider it unless it feels safe and convenient. With protected bike lanes and traffic calming on Fenton Street, people of all ages could comfortably bike to Veterans Plaza, the Library, and Montgomery College. Nearby residents would gain a new option for visiting local businesses and restaurants. Walkable, bikeable streets, where everyone feels comfortable, will help attract new residents to our community, patrons to our businesses, and locals to our events. A protected bike lane on Fenton Street would bridge a substantial gap in the Silver Spring bicycle network, linking Spring Street to Cameron to Wayne to the Metropolitan Branch and Capital Crescent Trails.
Join us urging Montgomery County to move ahead on continuous, direct, protected bike lanes, safer crossings, and traffic calming on Fenton Street. Sign our petition today!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why protected bike lanes?
Busy streets work best when people driving, walking, and biking have their own space. Protected bike lanes give people on bikes a space free of the stresses of traffic. Pedestrians can walk freely without competing for sidewalk space. And drivers have fewer interactions with people on bikes sharing the lane. Studies show that protected bike lanes reduce both the frequency and severity of crashes.
Why Fenton Street?
A protected lane on Fenton St is the only solution that provides bicyclists of all abilities with a safe and convenient way to go from Cameron Street on the north end of the Central Business District to the Metropolitan Branch Trail near Montgomery College on the south end of the CBD. Fenton St. is well-used by confident bicyclists today specifically because it connects dozens of businesses, housing, and civic destinations. Yet, without a protected bike lane, it remains too stressful for most people to bike. Aside from the planned Metropolitan Branch Trail, which deliberately avoids commercial areas, there is no continuous route the length of the CBD, particularly on the Eastern side of the Georgia Ave.
How does this help pedestrians?
By narrowing the crossing distance, protected bike lanes can make it easier to cross a street on foot. They also slow down the speed of traffic and provide a buffer between moving vehicles and the sidewalk, making more pleasant places to walk.
Why not use the existing Grove St. bike route?
The existing bike route along Woodbury Dr and Grove St is a wonderful, low-stress neighborhood bike route which is slated for some minor improvements soon. However, it is not a reasonable substitute for a protected bike lane on Fenton St. The route requires multiple turns, frequent stops, a short hill, and serves neighborhood, rather than commercial destinations. It is important to have options in a bicycle network and at least one of them should be direct.
Riding a bike is a great way to get around! We’ll explore the bicycle lanes in Downtown Silver Spring and ride on the Sligo Creek Trail. Our community education ride series is an inclusive space for riders of all levels to explore the area. Our rides are always a good time, but they’re also a safe space to ask questions and practice riding on the roads and trails in the area. Come tour the region, come to ride, come to ask any of your deepest, darkest, secret-est bike questions, and just have fun!
Ride start and end – Whole Foods Silver Spring
Start time – 10:30 AM
End time – 12:00 PM
Distance – About 6 miles
Great, what else should I know?
Please bring your own bike and helmet. Helmets are a requirement on all WABA rides. If you have questions, please read our ride policies here. Everyone ages 14 and up is welcome. All riders must sign a waiver. Riders under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
What does it cost?
Ten bucks! This ride is offered thanks to the generous support of Montgomery County Department of Transportation
Are you a WABA or Capital Bikeshare Member? Then the class is free! We can also reimburse you for your usage fees if you use Bikeshare during the class. Email or call 202-518-0524 x221 to receive your coupon code.
Not a WABA member? For just $25 you get a ride registration ($10 value) and a one-year WABA Membership ($35 value). Learn more about the benefits of joining WABA here.
Walk-ups are free! But space is limited, so we recommend you register below ahead of time to hold your spot!