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Posts Tagged ‘Montgomery County’

Attend the Great MoCo Bicycle Summit

On Sat., April 5, Montgomery County residents can join Councilmember Hans Riemer, MoBike, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for the Great MoCo Bike Summit.

The summit kicks off with a family bike ride from Silver Spring to Bethesda and will discuss the future of biking in Montgomery County, from Bikeshare to next-generation infrastructure. Read more about it here.

Montgomery County has emerged one of the most exciting grounds for new cycling innovation in the D.C. area. This first-ever summit to discuss the future of biking there will provide important insight on how Montgomery County can become a world-class area for biking for transportation.

“Our goal as a county must be to encourage biking—to work, to run errands, and for recreation. To do that, we must expand our bikeways and make them safe for the average person who wants to bike. That’s my goal and I know the goal of Councilmember Riemer,” says Councilmember Roger Berliner, Chair of the County’s Transportation and Environment Committee and a speaker at the summit..

The summit will be held at the Jane Lawson Rec Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Bethesda. Panels start at 10 a.m. The ride starts at 9:15 a.m. at the Silver Spring Metro station. To RSVP for the Great MoCo Bike Summit, click here. See the event on Facebook here.

Ride With Valerie Ervin in the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

Montgomery County Capital Bikeshare Launch

Ervin at last month’s Capital Bikeshare launch in Rockville

The Montgomery County Thanksgiving parade is on Sat., Nov. 23, and you’re invited to join District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin—on your bike! RSVP here now!

Councilmember Ervin has been a vocal supporter for bicycling in Montgomery County, and will show off her commitment to riding bikes for transportation in the parade. Participants interested in biking with Ervin should plan to meet at 9 a.m. in the Town Square garage.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Town Square garage (Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring), travels up Ellsworth Drive, turns left on Georgia Avenue, and ends after a left turn onto Silver Spring Avenue. It will be televised. For more information about the parade, see this flyer, directionsa map, and reminders to units.

Participants should meet at 9 a.m. in the Town Square garage in assembly spot B33. Prepare to march for about 20 minutes up Ellsworth Drive and down Georgia Avenue. Ervin’s office will provide T-shirts, giveaways for the crowd, and light refreshments prior to the parade.

For those that are driving, please note that there is no parking in the Town Square Garage.  Arrive early (between 7:30 and 8 a.m. before the streets start closing) to park at the Fenton Street lot. (Another situation where biking is easier!).

See the Facebook event for more information. Please RSVP through Valerie Ervin’s office here; they’d like to have an estimated headcount by Nov. 15.

November: Hot for Bike Advocacy

Green Lanes Planner/Engineer Tour

Behold, the many opportunities to speak up for better bicycling this month!

Winter is coming, but regional bike advocacy opportunities are heating up!

November is packed with public meetings across the D.C. area that will impact bicycling. We’ve listed as many as we know about below. If you can attend, speak up for bicycling. Planners need to hear from you about the impact proposed projects could have on the bicycling community.

You can also bookmark our public Google advocacy calendar, which is full of public meetings, WABA advocacy trainings and other upcoming events. If you have items for the calendar, email them to us at advocacy@waba.org

Rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW
Tues., Nov. 5 , 6:30 p.m.
Methodist Home of D.C., 4901 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
DDOT is studying four alternatives for the rehabilitation of Broad Branch Road NW as part of an Environmental Assessment. The section of Broad Branch slated for rehabilitation is 1.5-mile length of roadway between Linnean Avenue and Beach Drive. Only one alternative would include any bicycle facility: Alternative 4 purposes a climbing bike lane on the uphill side and a shared-laned on the downhill side. The EA is being released for 30 days for public comments; please submit your comments to DDOT by Nov. 22, 2013. The complete EA is available for public review on the project website at broadbranchrdea.com.

Proposed Rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Alternatives Meeting
Wed., Nov. 13, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
The Little Theater, Washington Lee High School, 1301 North Stafford St., Arlington, Va.
The George Washington Memorial Parkway is holding a public meeting to present alternatives for the proposed rehabilitation of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. All alternatives would resurface the road and repair the sidepath surface, which would be great improvement for commuters. However, no presented alternative improves the bridge’s greatest deficiency: access from the trails on both sides of the river. Any improvement of the bridge should address this major safety issue. There should be direct access to the bridge from the Mount Vernon Trail and trails on the National Mall. Comments may be submitted electronically on the project website at parkplanning.nps.gov/memorialbridgeea.

Community Meeting on the Rock Creek Trail Facility Plan
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
Meadowbrook Park Activity Building, 7901 Meadowbrook Lane, Chevy Chase, Md.
Montgomery Parks invites the community to review renovation plans for the Rock Creek Trail, including proposed renovations to the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, opportunities to enhance the natural environment along the trail, ways to reduce the frequency of trail maintenance, and ideas to improve safety, pavement conditions, drainage, and accessibility. For more information visit parkprojects.org.

Fairfax Countywide Dialogue on Transportation
Tues., Nov. 12, 7 p.m., Fairfax County Government Center
Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., Forest Edge Elementary School
Fairfax County is seeking input on how to spend its new transportation funding from Virginia’s recently passed funding bill. How should $1.2 billion be spent over the next 6 years? And how much should be spent on bicycling? Show up to these two public meetings—the last regarding this transportation funding—and demand funding for bicycling be increased. Information about the meeting locations and time, and the entire planning process is online at fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/cdot/engage/meetings.htm

Montgomery County Bike Classes Kick Off in Friendship Heights


In celebration of the launch of Capital Bikeshare in Montgomery County, WABA has partnered with MCDOT to provide our City Cycling classes to Montgomery County residents this fall. Our first class was held last Sunday in Friendship Heights to launch the new partnership and give people the chance to learn some riding skills, practice confidently biking on city streets, and have an opportunity to ask their burning bike questions.

Just across Western Avenue, Maryland cyclists gathered to hear a bit about some of the challenges faced by bicyclists when they decide to ride on the street. WABA’s education instructors (certified to teach bike education by the League of American Bicyclists) then gave a few pointers about bike fitting, helmet adjustments, and how to do a quick checkup on a bike before riding. From there, it was onto a series of drills in a secluded parking lot designed to teach control and handling, as well as techniques vital to sharing space with cars, such as looking over the shoulder without wobbling or veering to the side. Students had plenty of opportunity to practice before moving on to a more advanced set of drills called Crash Avoidance Maneuvers.

After the training session and a short break, the class ventured out for a practical on-bike lesson. With WABA’s instructors as guides, students began on a quiet side-street and were gradually introduced to busier roadways and more complicated situations. With frequent stops to discuss issues and infrastructure, the ride covered more metaphorical ground than literal ground, but students finished with plenty of real-world examples, context, and experience.


When they returned to the practice area, our instructors demonstrated how to fix a flat tire and answered a few more questions, then loaded up the students with bike maps, tip sheets and guide books to keep them learning after the class was finished.

Here’s what students are saying about WABA’s City Cycling classes this season:
“Both my partner (a new city cyclist) and I (an experienced city cyclist) learned a lot.”
“[The Iinstructors] were informative, patient, and able to communicate to a group on different riding levels.”
“After taking this course, I am significantly less terrified of riding on the street.”
We have three more City Cycling classes on the calendar for October in Montgomery County in the following locations:

Sat., Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Bethesda (Montgomery County residents only)
Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Takoma Park (Montgomery County residents only)
Sun., Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Silver Spring (Montgomery County residents only)

We hope to see you there! For more photos from our classes, see this Flickr set.

Ride, Volunteer, or Attend MoCo Epic This Weekend

MoCo Epic is this weekend, Oct. 12 and 13!

Now a two-day festival built around four rides on great trails in Montgomery County Parks, is the premier mountain bike event of its kind in the region. The event is a fundraiser for the Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts, which represents area mountain bikers and maintains regional trails.

Rides and events include a 25-mile, three-park ride; a 35-mile five-park ride; a 50-mile eight-park ride; a 65-mile, 11-park ride, kids’ activites (a ride, bike rodeo, and pump track); a two-day festival with demo bikes, clinics, and a carbo-loading dinner; a post-ride party sponsored by Dogfish Head Alehouse.

More than 80 percent of the rides’ mileage (and around 90 percent of your riding time) will be on singletrack, and you’ll have no idea that you are in the middle of a major metropolitan area. All rides start at the Germantown Soccerplex, across from the Schaeffer Farm mountain bike trail system. More than 600 people are already signed up,

The ride is in its fourth year and has allowed MORE to, in the last three years, build an additional 12 miles of singletrack trail on the MoCo Epic loop and improve many more trails. Ranked as one of just 50 official IMBA Epics (on many mountain bikers’ unofficial bucket lists!), MoCo Epic attracts mountain-bike pros like Chris Eatough and Jordan Kahelnberg. Some participants come from as far away as New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, Florida, New York, Connecticut, the Dominican Republic, and Afghanistan.

Register here. If you can’t ride, attend MoCo Epic anyway (though you still need to register) or volunteer! Like MoCo Epic on Facebook and follow on Twitter. More information here.

Bikeshare in Montgomery County Launches Tomorrow, Sept. 27

Capital Bikeshare Launch Event

Capital Bikeshare, which currently spans D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria, expands to Montgomery County tomorrow. Join the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery County officials and residents, and WABA to celebrate the opening at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Maryland and Montgomery avenues in Rockville.

District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin spoke with NBC Washington’s Adam Tuss about Bikeshare’s launch. See a clip here. And read WTOP on the news here.

Bikeshare just celebrated its third anniversary and has over 200 stations in D.C. and Virginia. The expansion to Montgomery County will add 50 stations. This comes just as Census data confirms that more people are commuting by bike throughout the D.C. region.

Read more information from Montgomery County below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

A New Option for Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel in Bethesda

As the Washington Post reported recently, Montgomery County planners are working on a plan to redevelop the Apex Building in downtown Bethesda to better accommodate the Purple line’s western terminus. As currently planned, the Bethesda station for the Purple line will be tightly squeezed into the space under the Apex Building. This will force the Capital Crescent Trail out of the tunnel. In early 2012, the Montgomery County Council voted against spending over $50 million to keep the trail in the tunnel due to the high costs of the project and potential of damage to the buildings above during construction.

However, if the county is successful in encouraging the building’s owners to demolish and rebuild the Apex Building, another option would exist. A newly designed Apex Building would allow Purple line planners to build a larger and more efficient station platform, tracks, and connection to Metro’s Red line station. There would also be space for a new Capital Crescent tunnel.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has been working over the past year to plan and design a surface route for the Capital Crescent Trail that includes an at-grade crossing at Wisconsin Avenue. Additionally, Council President Roger Berlinger has tasked MCDOT with building a “gold standard” trail experience for the crossing of Wisconsin Avenue. This new opportunity is an exciting development to provide a grade separated crossing for the trail across the busy state highway.

To prepare for the final design and construction of the Purple line, county planners are working fast to prepare a plan for the redevelopment of the Apex Building. Purple Line planners are hoping to finish the final design in 2014, begin construction in 2015, and open for revenue service in 2020. The county planning department will host three public open houses in September to explain its plans and answer questions.

Please consider attending one of the public open houses and expressing your support for a Capital Crescent Trail tunnel through Bethesda. The official meeting announcement from the planning department is below:

The Planning Department will hold Open House Previews of Staff Recommendations for the Bethesda Purple Line Station Plan, at the Bethesda Regional Services Center, located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane near the intersection of Woodmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. Enter on the plaza level above Chipotle. Each session will include the same information.

The sessions will be held:

* Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 6-9pm
* Saturday, September 7, 2013, 10am-2pm
* Monday, September 9, 2013, 6-9pm.

Please drop in any time during the Open House to learn more about this limited plan and share your thoughts, questions, and comments with the Planning Department team. Staff will prepare a handout summarizing the recommendations for the Open House sessions and will post it online when it is available.

For more information, questions, or to join the mailing list:
Project email:    bethesdapurpleline@montgomeryplanning.org
Website:              www.montgomeryplanning.org/bethesda_purple_line
Twitter:                @bethesdaPL, #bethesdapurpleline
Facebook:           Bethesda Purple Line Station Plan
Phone:                 301.495.2115, Elza Hisel-McCoy, Lead Planner

Image via Washington Post

Success! MPI to Submit Met Branch Trail Plans for Historic Review

Last week, we learned from a Montgomery County Department of Transportation presentation to the county’s Transportation & Environment Committee that progress on the Metropolitan Branch Trail in the county had stalled due to the unwillingness of the nonprofit owner of the historic Silver Spring train station to agree to submit the trail plans for historical review with the Maryland Historic Trust.

We received word today that the landowner, Montgomery Preservation Inc., has changed its mind and will allow the plans to be reviewed by the Trust. While this is certainly not the last hurdle to overcome, it is a significant one. We appreciate the efforts of all those involved in getting this far.

Thanks to MCDOT, the T&E Committee, and Councilmember Ervin for pushing forward on the Met Branch Trail.

Of course, now it is even more important to ensure that funding for the trail is not delayed.


Funding for the Met Branch Trail Should Be Restored in Montgomery County’s Budget

Yesterday, representatives of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation provided the County Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee with an update on its work on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Work on the MBT been stalled for some time due to disputes over its crossing at Georgia Avenue and proposed routing that would have the trail pass by the historic Silver Spring train station. The train station is controlled by the nonprofit Montgomery Preservation Inc.

Despite protestations on its website that MPI is not stalling the project, MCDOT’s update yesterday showed that MPI is in fact preventing the project’s moving forward. Delays are attributable to MPI’s unwillingness to accommodate the master plan trail alignment, which led Montgomery County’s county executive to propose delaying the funding of the project for a year.

Fortunately, all three members of the T&E Committee—Roger Berliner, Nancy Floreen, and Hans Riemer—as well as Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who is not on T&E Committee but represents the District that houses the MBT and the train station, expressed strong support for the trail as well as frustration at MPI’s unwillingness to support proposed solutions.

Specifically, because the train station is historically designated, changes must be approved by the Maryland Historic Trust.  However, only MPI—due to its control of the station–can make that submission and initiate the review. According to MCDOT, it refuses to do.

As a result, the county is being blocked from building a trail that will serve hundreds of thousands of regional residents, is included in the County master plan, and was previously supported by MPI.

During the hearing, councilmembers expressed frustration with the situation and asked the county attorney to review the situation. They hope that agreements with the county that have, over the years, given MPI control of the property and funding  will provide a way to move forward.

This impasse is unfortunate, but we appreciate the strong showing of support from the T&E Committee and Councilmember Ervin. We firmly believe that the county should assert its rights and authority over the project and the process and continue to move forward with its design, which respects both the community’s need and demand for the trail and the historic significance of the train station.

MCDOT’s Edgar Gonzalez stated that the delays stemmed from past action and that within two months the county should be prepared to move forward, with or without Montgomery Preservation Inc. Therefore, this year’s delay in funding for the trail is unjustified.

For all the complexity of MPI’s involvement and the historic land use issues surrounding the Silver Spring train station, the County’s representatives are in agreement that it is time to move forward with the Met Branch Trail. MCDOT says it will have a way to do so within two months. Montgomery County should budget accordingly by restoring funding for the trail in this year’s budget.

Watch a video of the Transportation and Environment Committee discussing the MBT (the discussion runs from 12:25 to 33:00) here.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Converse With Roger Berliner Tonight

Tonight, Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner will host a “conversation” for residents of the county’s District 1. If you live in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Kensington, or Poolesville, you’re encouraged to attend and discuss issues that matter to you.

If you’d like to personally thank Councilmember Berliner for his support of a Montgomery County bikesharing system and commitment to better bicycling, we suggest you stop by. This forum is also a good opportunity to ask for continued improvements for area cyclists.

The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.

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