Apr 142013

The Mont. County Bike Action Group (MCBAG) meets Thursday 10/18 from 7 to 9 pm at MCDOT’s Gaithersburg office.  The location is 100 Edison Park Drive, Gaithersburg on the 4th floor. Check in with the security guard in the lobby (you may have to buzz in).  Security is very tight and you might not be allowed to take your bike to the 4th floor.

Dialing in is welcome since it’s not an easy trip for downcounty cyclists!  Dial in at 240-773-8120 (pass code is 498265).

Meetings are held at 7 pm on the third Thursday of the month during most months.  The location rotates between Gaithersburg and Rockville.

This month’s topic will be a review and discussion of potential projects to be submitted to the Maryland DOT’s Bikeways Program for 2014.  Under this program, the state is providing over $4 million statewide “to fund design and construction of projects that enhance bicycle access to transit, increase bicycle safety, extend shared-use paths, and improve facilities and wayfinding for bike routes that connect key destinations, such as work, school and shopping.”  The county must submit projects for consideration to the state by June 5, 2013.  Last year (for 2013) the  state awarded grant money to two projects now underway:

  • Clopper Road Shared Use Path from Steeple Road to Hopkins Road and from Village Fountain Drive to Little Star Lane in Germantown
  • Woodglen Drive bike lanes, sharrows and sidepath (Bethesda Trolley Trail) from Edson Lane to Nicholson Lane in North Bethesda

Grant money is provided for construction and/or design (or both).  The county applies for the funds and the state evaluates the projects based on the merit of each. Here is the full statewide list of funded projects approved for 2013.  The grant is usually under $100K for each project.  Montgomery County DOT will begin evaluating and prioritizing projects for this year’s project application submissions over the next few weeks and is looking forward to receiving your input.

  5 Responses to “MCBAG meeting April 18 in Gaithersburg”

  1. What was finally decided about Woodglen Drive? The project page has nothing more than the limits of the project (Edson to Nicholson). Where are they going to put the bike lanes -and, more importantly- how will cylists transition from the pedestrian crossing they are forced to use coming from the NB trail? Specifically, will cyclists be able to cross Edson from the trail and proceed straight on Woodglen without having to stop twice? I noticed that the trail intersection as been referred to as a “sore point” – GOOD! admitting a problem is the first step to fixing it!
    P.S. my request that bikes be allowed to turn onto Woodglen from Edson during rush hour has gone unreplied, that turn is currently prohibited. Using Edson to avoid the trail…

  2. The decision was to put a bike lane on the northbound (no parking) side and sharrows on the southbound (parking) side of Woodglen. That’s what we asked for. The sharrows will be 12′ from the curb in the narrower parts of Woodglen, 13′ in the wider parts.. I wanted 13′ throughout but DOT’s traffic division didn’t want cyclists to jut into the travel lane so far that drivers couldn’t get around them, which is kind of misunderstanding the purpose of sharrows in my opinion. But to be honest, one foot doesn’t make that much difference and I’d like to see how it works and then we’ll learn something for next time. Then on the other side they were going to put in a 5′ bike lane but we asked for 6′ and they agreed. The travel lanes are 10′ wide except for the one with sharrows and parking, which is 22′-23′ wide. They asked our approval to be signed in blood! They’ve been burned by one group saying they want one thing and then another group protesting when it’s in place.

    The final word on the Edson intersection is that they want to see how it works and then they’ll look at putting in a middle curb cut for bikes. I don’t blame them for the design. They tried to design it for peds and thought bikes would be okay too. Whether it can be fixed for a reasonable cost remains to be seen. Now I’m worrying about the part in front of NIH.

    • OK, so there will be a 6′ wide bike lane northbound, sounds reasonable. But the key issue remains unaddressed: the vehicular bicyclist’s transition from the trail to those bike lanes. The crosswalk sends the strongest possible warning that users must go to the opposite sidewalk, without leaving the crosswalk. SO, how does a bike legally get into the bike lanes, please? Must the cyclist get onto the opposite sidewalk and then wait (again) to use the corner ramp into the street (Edson)? Of course, most cyclists will avoid such a clumsy maneuver, being the lawless criminals they (we) are. It is very important that MDOT (Patricia et al) understand WHY THIS IS A PROBLEM so they don’t repeat it elsewhere. I DO blame them for the design. The designers (Poole) are supposed to understand vehicular cycling; if they don’t, they are not competent to design a street/trail intersection. Should MDOT not be held responsible for reviewing the contractor’s design? Set the bar higher, for heaven’s sake. If MDOT required (someone’s?) signature in blood on the bike lanes, then they must spell out – in blood – the legal transition of a bike from the trail to those bike lanes. In the case of a collision, they must not be allowed to hide behind “the bike advocates asked for the bike lanes.”

      • Last week I rode around Bethesda with Pat Shepherd along with Bill Michie and Kristen Blackmon from the Bethesda Urban Partnership. I can tell you one thing: Edson Lane is about the 10th worst problem on the BTT. Pat is the new bike coordinator now, replacing Gail. She has really taken a lot of this to heart. She’s busy learning the ropes and is already doing well learning about bike best practices. As for Edson/Woodglen, MCDOT says they put the design out for review, to MCBAG and to others (not sure who). I looked at it and I didn’t pick up the problems. After all, a vehicular cyclist at the end of Woodglen would only turn left or right, not go straight onto the trail. They set the crosswalks up for peds. I know it’s a hazard to pass by in front of cars stopped at the eastbound stop sign when going from Woodglen straight into the trail, and I’ve complained about that several times and gone out there with Pat and another engineer. But if you work with these folks you know that they are not totally ignorant, and that not every problem is going to be obvious before implementation.

        • For the record, the project which happened to include closing off the intersection to vehicular bike traffic, was advertised as a “wayside redesign.” And no, not all bike traffic will turn right or left, since neither Old Georgetown nor 355 is useable to the vast majority of vehicular cyclists. I don’t understand why this debacle must be defended, whether or not it’s the 1st worst or tenth worst issue of the trail. (I was among the first to send a complaint about the bollards, shortly after the trail opened.) Again the point is: recognize the issue and don’t make the same mistake again. And meanwhile, I’m not holding my breath for MDOT to tell us how bikes get from the trail to the bike lanes. P.S. If we’re going with the line that “vehicular cyclists will turn left or right onto Edson”, then it’s time that the restriction against turning left from Edson onto Woodglen during rush hours be removed for bikes. Unless Pat is suggesting that bikes join the fray on 355.

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