Oct 142012

What is the best way to bike from MD 198 (at Rt. 29) to downtown Silver Spring? Montgomery County DOT is planning to post bike route signs along the best route and is asking the cycling community for input.  DOT is posting signs along other useful bike routes too, to create a network of routes criss-crossing the county.  The only route they’ve signed so far  runs from Potomac to Colesville via Tuckerman Lane and Plyers Mill Road among other streets.  The Rt. 29 corridor route will be the second route to be signed, and they also plan to do 2 or 3 more this year.  The routes are arranged in part to serve transportation cyclists, and riders are expected to be comfortable riding on secondary streets or roads with shoulders or wide lanes.

Here’s the route being proposed, also shown on Google here.   DOT is only adding signs, not making any improvements like bike lanes.

  • South on Old Columbia Pike (some cyclists recommend the shoulder of Rt. 29 instead)
  • L on Tech Road
  • R on Old Columbia Pike
  • Cut behind Sears shopping center at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and Lockwood Drive.  Or alternatively turn left on Stewart Lane and right on July Drive, since the county may be averse to signing a route onto private property.
  • R on Lockwood Drive
  • L on Rt. 29 (sidewalk) and across the Northwest Branch stream
  • R on Southwood Avenue
  • L on Sutherland Road
  • R on Lorain Avenue
  • R on Lanark Way (or Gilmoure Drive or Stirling Road or Forest Glen Road — which is quickest/tamest?)
  • L on Brunett Avenue
  • L on Sligo Creek Parkway or trail
  • Cross Colesville Road and get onto the Sligo Creek Trail
  • R on cut-through path across the creek
  • Get onto Bennington Drive heading south
  • L on Ellsworth Drive

If you want to get to the northwest side of Colesville Road instead, you would take a slightly different route. It’s the same to Brunett Avenue but then:

  • R on Sligo Creek Parkway or trail
  • L on cut-through path across the creek
  • Get onto Edgevale Road heading south
  • R on Watson Road
  • L on Highland Drive
  • R on Fairview Road
  • L on Spring Street
  • R on Cameron Street (or wherever)

If you’re starting on Briggs Chaney Road east of Rt. 29, you could use the new path that crosses the ICC.  This would be addressed by the signs.

Provide input via the comments section here, or send it to me.  (Your first comment is moderated.  After that you may comment freely).

Jack Cochrane

Chair, MoBike

  5 Responses to “What is the best Rt. 29 corridor bike route?”

  1. As a former White Oak cyclist, I have to say that crossing University at Lorain is going to be difficult/dangerous. I would ride Sutherland to University, use the crosswalk at 29 to cross University, and ride to Lorain on the sidewalk. It’s not a good bike route, and I think sidewalk cyclists need to make huge efforts to be polite and be ready to walk their bike if there are more than a few pedestrians around, but this is the only reasonable option to cross University without going all the way to Dennis.

    It would be nice if the county built some facilities to cross at Lorain…

  2. There’s a crosswalk across Univ. at Brunett. Do you think it would be possible to walk your bike across there? Drivers are supposed to stop for you.

  3. I checked out crossing University at Lorain myself. You’re right, it’s dangerous. But crossing at the Rt. 29/University intersection is a pain because you have to use the sidewalks which cross various commercial driveways and (not surprisingly) are used by a fair number of pedestrians. I think Dennis is the only way across University that I would consider good enough to sign. It’s a bit further but not horrible.

    • I also checked out the crossings at Lorain (wasn’t able to get across University) and at Brunett (possible if you cross halfway and then wait in front of the u-turn lane). Neither one seems appropriate to me as a signed bike route. When I lived in white Oak, I took Dennis across University. It’s a moderately big detour, but in the absence of new infrastructure, I agree that it’s the best option if we want to avoid sidewalks that are full of pedestrians.

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