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.

It’s Time for a Protected Bike Lane on Fenton Street

Fenton Street in Silver Spring looking south

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.

Silver Spring’s future network of trails and protected bike lanes
Fenton Street connects people to the places they want to go


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.

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.


Ride into spring with Silver Spring Social Rides

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 DCriders 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.

MoCo Council Backs A Massive Expansion in Bike Funding for Priority Areas

Photo from CDOT

Soon, this may be a common sight in Silver Spring

On Thursday, May 26th the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved the County’s 2017 Operating Budget and six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP). In addition to maintaining funding for a number of long term trail and bikeway priorities, the Council approved a dramatic, 150%, funding increase for the Bicycle Pedestrian Priority Area Program. Alongside the innovative methods in the Bike Master Plan rewrite, movement on long delayed trail projects like the Capital Crescent and Metropolitan Branch Trails, and December’s commitment to pursue a Vision Zero initiative  this expansion in funding is another sign that Montgomery County is getting serious about supporting and encouraging bicycling. In 2014, the County created the Bicycle Pedestrian Priority Area (BPPA) program to direct funding and resources to areas where changes will have the greatest effect on the safety and popularity of biking and walking. Since then, some 30 BPPAs have been designated and as many projects identified. With a $1 million yearly budget spread across even a few areas, planning and implementation of these projects are progressing well, though perhaps not as fast as they could — a new sidewalk and bulb-outs here, a protected bike lane there, a few bike racks and streetlights.  That is progress, but it takes more than spot improvements to change behaviors and get more people riding bikes when neighborhood roads feel like speedways. In March, Councilmember Hans Riemer proposed a $1.5 million per year funding increase for this program as well as concentrated attention to projects in the Silver Spring BPPA first. WABA’s action alert generated considerable support from Silver Spring residents and committed bicycle advocates around the county. Roger Berliner, Nancy Floreen, and Tom Hucker who make up the Council’s Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) all voted in support of the plan. Considering the inherent negotiations and changes required to find agreement on a complicated budget, we are thrilled to report that the County will dedicate a total of $15 million to BPPA projects over the next six years! With this additional funding, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) can do more at a faster rate. In Silver Spring, where demand for safe places to bike is on the rise, more funding allows resources for careful study, planning and implementation of a connected network of protected bike lanes. Soon, construction will begin on the Spring and Cedar St protected bike lanes. Next year, expect discussion on Second Ave, Cameron St, Wayne Ave, Dixon St and Fenton Ave. And, while MCDOT builds out the Silver Spring Circle, planning can begin for needed improvements in Glenmont, Grosvenor, Wheaton and eventually the 28 other BPPAs. Instead of spot improvements, MCDOT can build entire networks. We’d like to thank Councilmember Hans Riemer, the T&E Committee, and the County Council for leadership and commitment to expanding the role of bicycling in the county. Thanks also to everyone who wrote and called your councilmembers in support of this proposal.

Curious about what’s going on around biking in Montgomery County?

Attend the the 3rd Great MoCo Bicycle Summit on Saturday, June 18, hosted by Councilmember Hans Riemer. What: 3rd Great MoCo Bicycle Summit When: Saturday, June 18 10-12 pm Where: Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave, Rockville Register to attend (free)

Create the Silver Spring Circle: A New Campaign for Montgomery County

Photo from CDOT

Improvements are Needed in Downtown Silver Spring

Downtown Silver Spring is growing. Young adults, families and older residents are attracted to the convenience of living near the places where they work and play. And with the dense mix of transit, offices, entertainment, shops and homes, it should be a paradise for walking and biking. But, it’s not. With high speed traffic and a lack of dedicated space for bikes on the busy streets in downtown Silver Spring, most residents don’t feel safe biking in the road.  Some ride on sidewalks, mixing with people on foot. But they too must contend with wide and intimidating intersections. There is a desperate need for safe and comfortable bike routes and intersections. Today, WABA’s Action Committee for Montgomery County is pleased to announce a campaign to Create the Silver Spring Circle. Our goal is to make downtown Silver Spring a more bikeable, walkable place. The Silver Spring Circle would convert excess road space in and around downtown Silver Spring into protected bike lanes, and place parked cars or vertical barriers between bicyclists and car traffic. Lanes on Second Ave, Wayne Ave, Spring St, Cedar St, Fenton St, Cameron St and Ellsworth Dr, along with new wayfinding and bike parking would make most destinations safe, comfortable and accessible by bike. It would also represent a first step in connecting downtown Silver Spring to the many existing bike trails already in our region. Read all about the campaign and sign our petition here.

Come to our Campaign Kickoff!

On Saturday, May 14, join the Action Committee in Silver Spring for a walk around the first arc of the Silver Spring Circle to see for yourself how protected bike lanes will make Silver Spring a more bikeable, walkable, and livable downtown. Starting at Spring and 2nd Ave, we will make our way along Spring St, stopping to discuss tricky intersections, design challenges, and innovative solutions. We cannot wait to share and discuss our vision for a connected, low-stress bike network in Silver Spring. When: May 14 9:30 am Where: 2nd Ave & Spring St Click here to RSVP Can’t attend? Sign our petition and stay in the loop.
Map of the proposed Silver Spring Circle. Click for an interactive map

Map of the proposed Silver Spring Circle. Click for an interactive map

Parts of Spring St will look something like this. Image from Streetmix

Parts of Spring St will look something like this. Image from Streetmix

Encouraging Developments

In February, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) unveiled plans to install protected bike lanes on Spring St and Cedar St in downtown Silver Spring, stretching almost one mile from Second Avenue to Wayne Avenue. In March, the Montgomery County Council’s Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) voted unanimously to support design and construction of a complete network of protected bike lanes in Silver Spring. These are two crucial steps, but we’ll need more than encouragement to see it through. Want help make this happen? Come to our next Action Committee Meeting (the 4th Monday of the month at 7pm at the Silver Spring Civic Center more info)