One final push for MoCo’s Bike Plan

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.

Take Action

With your help, we can show our Councilmembers that the Bicycle Master Plan sets the bold vision that Montgomery County needs for a bikeable, healthy, accessible, and sustainable future.

That vision is as ambitious as it is thorough. It lays out:

  • 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.

The plan represents more than two years of tireless work analyzing data, researching best practices from around the world, and thorough community input at dozens of public workshops and stakeholder meetings. It is the gold standard of data-driven and community-involved planning and will guide Montgomery County to being a world-class community for bicycling.

Here’s how you can help:

Email the Council:

Click here to send your councilmembers an email asking that they support the plan without major changes. The plan was created through more than two years of rigorous data analysis and exhaustive community input. It is the gold standard of data-driven and community-involved planning and will guide Montgomery County to being a world-class community for bicycling.Together, we can push it over the finish line.

Take Action

Share your story at Tuesday’s Hearing:

Sending a letter is a quick way of showing your support, but showing up in person shows that you mean it. Hearings are the perfect place to tell your bicycling story. Will you join us at the hearing to speak up for this visionary 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, 20850

Sign 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.

A Permanent, Safer Crossing for the Capital Crescent Trail

Intersection of Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway. Image courtesy of Montgomery Parks.

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.

Let’s make Veirs Mill Road better

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.

Send email comments in support

Sign up to testify

Veirs Mill Road, which stretches four miles between Wheaton and Rockville, is one of the county’s highest risk roads—five people died in crashes in the corridor in just two years.

The road is built for moving cars and not much else. Sidewalks are missing throughout the corridor, even next to heavily used bus stops. There are no safe places to bike. In most places, crossing the street requires darting across five lanes of highway-speed traffic.

The Planning Department wants to change Veirs Mill Road to slow drivers and protect people walking, biking and taking the bus. Among the many planning topics, the draft Veirs Mill Master Plan proposes dozens of Vision Zero recommendations including:

  • 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.

All of these recommendations are essential to transforming Veirs Mill into a safe road and a connected community. But the plan and its Vision Zero priorities need vocal enthusiasm to gain the support of the Planning Board and County Council.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get to know the plan. You can read the executive summary or the whole document here.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

Bethesda needs a complete, protected bicycle network ASAP

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.

Sign the Petition

Build a core network

A 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.

Sign the Petition

The newly approved Bethesda Downtown Master Plan lays out a vision for a complete network of protected bike lanes and low-stress bikeways. Montgomery County should build the core elements of this bike network without delay. Bethesda families, students, and commuters cannot wait years for a safe route to work, school and other destinations through Bethesda.

Funding this vision will correct an urgent safety issue and help shape a more bikeable, walkable and livable Bethesda.

Update

Since 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.

Silver Spring Celebrates its First Protected Bike Lane

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!

This post comes from Zachary Weinstein, a leading member of 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.

Celebrate Silver Spring’s First Protected Bike Lane on Oct 14!

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!

I’ll Be There!

Where do we need better places to bike in MoCo?

Woodglen Drive Protected Bike Lane image from Montgomery Planning

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 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.

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

That Was Fast! A New, Safer Trail Crossing in Bethesda!

Great news for riders, walkers, and all users of the Capital Crescent Trail! Crews began work on Thursday (Jan 5) on major safety improvements to the Capital Crescent Trail crossing at Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda. Using flex posts, lane striping, and new signage, Little Falls Parkway is reduced to one travel lane in each direction, down from two, west of Hillandale Rd. Soon, signs will be in place to reduce the speed limit from 35mph to 25mph. These changes, made with relatively inexpensive materials, will dramatically reduce the chances of crashes, fatalities, and serious injuries at this busy trail intersection.


After these changes were announced, WABA circulated a petition to area residents and trail users offering an opportunity to thank county staff and elected leaders for taking quick action to prevent future crashes. As of Friday, January 6, 291 area residents signed on with enthusiastic support for the change.

Michael Riley, Director of Parks, Montgomery Parks
Casey Anderson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board

Thank you for taking fast and decisive action to make the Capital Crescent Trail at Little Falls Parkway safe for everyone. You and your staff deserve enormous credit for your quick work to prevent future crashes at this intersection with this road diet and speed reduction.

291 Signatures (Click here to see the petition responses)

We applaud the county leaders and staff involved in this decision. Their action recognizes that this intersection’s design creates a crash hazard that puts vulnerable road users and drivers at unnecessary risk. The solution puts the focus on what factors contribute to crashes (multi-lane crossing, visibility, speed) rather than who deserves the most blame. We hope that this case serves as a catalyst for safety upgrades to similar intersections across the county.

Click here to read more about the changes.

Want to show your gratitude? Sign onto the above petition here.

More Detail on Silver Spring’s Second & Wayne Avenue Bike Lanes

Guest post by David Cranor

Sometime in 2018, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) hopes to build a protected bike lane on Second and Wayne Avenues in downtown Silver Spring. This road diet would create the county’s 5th protected bike lane.

This project will follow the Spring Street/Cedar Street Separated Bike Lanes project (the county’s 4th protected bike lane), which is being constructed in Spring 2017. It will connect to, and extend, those lanes west – where they will connect to the future Capital Crescent Trail.  On the east side, it will connect to the Silver Spring Green Trail.

Because the road has different widths in different locations, the design differs from section to section. From Spring to Fenwick, there will be conventional 5′ wide bike lanes. From Fenwick to Colesville Road there will be one-way, 6′ wide separated bike lanes on each side, with a 6′ wide buffer.

From Colesville Road to Georgia Avenue it will have a 2-way, 8′ wide separated bikeway on the north side of the street. This will be accomplished by moving the curb in and taking advantage of an old bus bay.

The most unusual, and likely most controversial, part is the so-called “Colesville Transition,” where eastbound cyclists will turn across the avenue to the north side to join the two-way bikeway.

Other intersections will be redesigned too. Designs use two-stage queue box pavement markings, colored paint, and floating bus stops.

And at Spring and Second there will be a protected intersection.

The final design should be done this upcoming summer, with the 3-4 month project starting in late 2017 or early 2018. A .pdf with the full current design can be found here.

David Cranor is the Chair of the DC Bicycle Advisory Council and writes about bicycling in the area at The Washcycle

Submit comments to improve the design

  • Door Zone Bike Lanes: plans include a block where people on bikes will have to ride in a narrow painted lane between moving traffic and high turnover parking spaces. While some bicyclists may be accustomed to standard bike lanes, they are far more stressful for inexperienced or young riders and more dangerous due to illegal parking and the high potential for getting “doored.” A network is only as good as it’s weakest link.
  • Narrow Lanes: the protected lanes will also be quite narrow in some places, making it difficult to pass a slower bicyclist or just fit through with a wider format bicycle. Driving lanes should be squeezed to their minimums (10 or 11 feet) to expand the bike lanes in these areas.

This project is sorely needed in downtown Silver Spring, yet even one block of dangerous design makes the whole network less useful. There is still plenty of time to improve these shortcomings, but we need your help to show that there is demand for these changes. Public comments will be accepted until December 21st.

Click here to submit comments to improve the design