Jack Cochrane

Nov 302014
 

The Montgomery County Council just passed Bill 33-13 entitled Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements. The bill makes modest changes to the county’s road design standards to make our streets better and safer places for bicyclists and pedestrians.  It does this primarily by calling for measures to reduce motor vehicle speeds.  County road standards are codified in laws and regulations known collectively as the Road Code. The enacted bill updates relevant portions of the Road Code, either by changing the law directly or directing the County Executive to modify relevant regulations. Here’s the executive summary of the bill’s stipulations. Through lanes and turn lanes on urban roads must be no wider than 10′ unless next to parking or a […]

 Posted by at 12:56 pm on Nov 30, 2014  Comments Off on Safer road standards adopted by the county
Nov 112014
 
Bike route signs: how do you list destinations?

Montgomery County is putting considerable effort into signing new bike routes in the county.  They’ve signed four continuous road routes so far: Tuckerman-Plyers Mill-Dennis Ave,  Bethesda/Fernwood Rd,  Georgia Ave Corridor, and Rt 29 Corridor.  More are yet to come! Question:  Which of the following four destination formats do you like best for county signs?  The county has used all of these formats lately.  They vary in the number of destinations per panel, total width, text flow and use of the word “miles”.  Overlook the fact that one is a hiker-biker trail sign and one lacks a big arrow.  Image scale is adjusted so you can compare sizes. To start off with, the county defines a base sign configuration consisting of […]

Nov 042014
 
PSA: why the heck don't cyclists stay right?

Wouldn’t it be great to air a public service announcement saying why cyclists don’t stay right all the time?  After all, this blog can’t reach everyone.  How’s this? [Sound of driving] MAN: Hey, there’s a bicyclist.  Why is he riding so far to the left?  Shouldn’t he move over? WOMAN: Not if he wants to be safe.  There are a lot of cars parked along the street.  Cyclists should always stay well away from parked cars because a driver might suddenly open his door. MAN: Even if there’s a bike lane? WOMAN: You bet.  A cyclist might also leave the bike lane to avoid leaves or broken glass or potholes or to get ready to turn left. MAN: I get […]

Nov 012014
 
Woodglen Drive gets Montgomery County's first cycle track

Woodglen Drive in North Bethesda now features Montgomery County’s first cycle track.  The county Department of Transportation deserves kudos for its willingness to support this type of facility.  The implementation is not without its shortcomings, but growing pains are to be expected as the county begins implementing cycle tracks, also known as protected bike lanes.  Moreover, the cycle track is not 100% complete (it will be by the end of November hopefully).  The primary problems seem to be intersection design and the proximity of parking to the cycle track, creating the potential for cyclists to collide with suddenly opened car doors.  Moving forward, there are steps the county can take to improve this facility and to create better cycle tracks […]

Feb 242014
 

Five County Council members have signed on to a letter by Roger Berliner asking for a cost estimate of clearing snow on the Capital Crescent Trail, with an eye towards covering it in the county operating budget this year.  This is something cyclists have been requesting for years, but the requests (like bikes in the snow) never got much traction.   The letter is directed to county DOT and the Parks Department, though the latter department owns the trail. Also, Councilmember Hans Riemer has asked DOT to draft a plan for better snow removal from sidewalks.  Forcing pedestrians to walk in the street because plows have dumped snow onto sidewalks is unacceptable.  A local pedestrian was killed in recent years doing […]

Feb 202014
 
Rockville Bikeway Plan available for public comment

The draft 2014 Rockville Bikeway Master Plan is ready for public comment!  For details, visit the plan update site or directly view the draft plan and map at these links: Draft 2014 Bikeway Master Plan Draft 2014 Bikeway Recommendations Map You can comment on the plan in person at a public hearing to be held on Wed. April 9th at 7 pm in the Mayor and Council Chambers, City Hall, 111 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD, 20850.  You can sign up to speak by calling 240-314-8200.   Individual speakers get 3 minutes; those representing organizations get 5 minutes.  Or you may provide written comments via email, via this form, or via regular mail (to bike coordinator Kevin Belanger, 111 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, […]

 Posted by at 9:23 am on Feb 20, 2014  Comments Off on Rockville Bikeway Plan available for public comment
Feb 082014
 
Maryland's New Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan

The Maryland Department of Transportation just issued its new Twenty-Year Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.  According to MDOT: The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation in Maryland. The Plan provides guidance and investment strategies to support cycling and walking, both on-road and off-road, as part of Maryland’s multimodal transportation network. It’s not the kind of plan that stipulates which streets will get bike lanes and where paths will be built.  Instead the plan describes the current state of affairs, identifies objectives, lays out strategies and discusses implementation.  It presents a lot of useful facts as well. The plan was released January 15, 2014.

 Posted by at 3:19 am on Feb 8, 2014  Comments Off on Maryland’s New Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan
Feb 072014
 
Share the Budget with Bikes!

On January 15th, County Executive Ike Leggett released his recommended 2015 Capital Budget and 2015-2020 Capital Improvements Program (CIP), aka the 2015-2020 Capital Budget.  It identifies capital project funding over the six year period starting with Fiscal year 2015 (which begins July 1, 2014).   The first two years of the budget, 2015 and 2016, are the ones to watch.  The other four years are “out-years” which represent intentions or best guesses but may change significantly.  The capital budget is re-crafted every two years.  It is amended during the other years or any other time as needed.  “Capital” projects essentially involve building, creating or designing things – as opposed to operating and maintaining things which is the purview of the Operating […]

 Posted by at 3:35 am on Feb 7, 2014  Comments Off on Share the Budget with Bikes!
Jan 272014
 
Fishers Lane Trail Arrangement Approved

Good news…  An arrangement to fund and build the Fishers Lane Trail, which will connect Fishers Lane to the Rock Creek Trail near Rockville, has been approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board. Fishers Lane (the road) in turn connects to Twinbrook Metro and is relatively bikeable (in the roadway).  While ultimate construction of the trail depends on funding that has not been allocated, the major issues that jeopardized the trail appear to have been largely resolved.  The superb web page created by Monte Fisher (no relation) covers the trail project and its recent history. The main issues facing the trail were: The originally intended alignment became impossible due to a new plan to put Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on […]

 Posted by at 9:09 am on Jan 27, 2014  Comments Off on Fishers Lane Trail Arrangement Approved
Jan 182014
 

County Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer have introduced a council bill to change county road standards in urban areas to better serve pedestrians and bicyclists.  Bill 33-13 seeks to 1) reduce car speeds, thereby making pedestrians and bicyclists safer, 2) stipulate certain road features to improve pedestrian safety and access, especially at crosswalks, and 3) better accommodate new technology including bike sharing.  Roger Berliner briefly summarizes the bill here. Whenever roads are rebuilt or in some cases resurfaced, engineers can choose from a toolkit of improvements designed to make urban areas safer for biking and walking.  The tools include everything from curb extensions (aka bulbouts or neckdowns) that make crosswalks shorter to HAWK beacons that blink when a pedestrian […]