Apr 262012
Dealing with curb bumpouts

Curb extensions or “bumpouts” are a common method of calming traffic and shortening the street crossing distance for pedestrians.  The idea is that narrowing the roadway slows traffic by reducing the maximum safe speed as perceived by drivers.  Center islands serve a similar purpose. Unfortunately bumpouts often obstruct the space to the right of the travel lanes that’s used by bicyclists.  It forces cyclists to wait for traffic before passing the obstruction.  Even worse, drivers may misjudge the distance or the width and try to beat a cyclist to the bumpout when it’s not safe to do so.  This seems especially likely when the shoulder narrows gradually instead of suddenly.  I was almost run off the road on Arcola Avenue […]

Apr 172012
Development putting Capital Crescent Trail on Bethesda Ave is approved

The Montgomery County Planning Board just approved a revised plan for the Woodmont East development in Bethesda, including the design of the Capital Crescent Trail on Bethesda Avenue.  The developer JBG was revising its development plans anyway (to incorporate more property), but changes were also needed to incorporate the trail into the Bethesda Ave streetscape, since the trail has essentially been kicked out of the tunnel. The trail will be a two-way cycletrack along the north side of Bethesda Ave from Woodmont Ave to Wisconsin Ave.   The new development will include a hotel on the north side of Bethesda Ave, so people entering the hotel will have to walk or drive across the trail.  No doubt many will stop […]

Apr 152012

The county-sponsored Montgomery County Bicycle Action Group (MCBAG) will begin discussing its future role and direction this Thursday at 6:30 pm. The next few meetings will be important! The county’s long time bike coordinator, Gail Tait-Nouri, just retired, and its a good occasion to improve MCBAG. Some questions: Should MCDOT have to send all bike projects (and key road projects) to MCBAG for review and input? How do we make sure EVERY project is reviewed? How do we solicit input from the larger bike community? How do we work with the county Planning Department, which has its own bike coordinator (under transportation planning)? How do we work with the county’s Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee (a formal group […]

 Posted by at 1:15 pm on Apr 15, 2012  Comments Off on Discussing the role of MCBAG this Thursday
Apr 142012

Since we’re talking about the width of bike lanes next to parking, here are some Montgomery County streets with bike lanes next to parking.  I give the combined bike lane+parking width for each.  Where I break it down, I give the parking lane width first. Battery Lane from Old Georgetown Rd to Woodmont Ave – 13′ (8′ + 5′). Travel lanes are 11′ wide.  Parking is allowed only one one side of the street.  The bike lane on the non-parking side is 5′ wide including gutter. Cedar Street in Silver Spring – 13′. It’s a one-way street northbound and the bike lane is “contraflow”, allowing cyclists to travel in the opposite direction.  Passengers exiting parked cars will be facing the […]

 Posted by at 8:35 pm on Apr 14, 2012  Comments Off on Some local bike lanes next to parking
Apr 142012
Bike lanes next to parking – how wide is wide enough?

Yes, this post is about the dreaded door zone.  How wide does a bike lane next to parked cars have to be to be safe? The relevant measurement is the combined width of the bike lane and parking area.  That determines how much space is available between the parked cars and the left edge of the bike lane. On county projects, I’ve been insisting on a minimum combined bike lane/parking width of 14 feet when car speeds are not too fast.  The logic is pretty simple.  Properly parked cars with left-side doors open take up 10 to 11 feet of pavement in most cases.  Most mountain bikes or hybrids are 2 feet wide at the handlebars.  Add to that a […]