Jul 032018
 
Bike Master Plan - Where are the shoulders?

The new draft of the Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan is about to go before the County Council.  Please let the Council know you support the plan and tell them how it can be improved.   Express your support at the hearing or in writing by July 10th.   The draft plan is an excellent template for the future, representing a paradigm shift towards “low stress” bikeways like protected bike lanes (cycle tracks), shared use paths, and bicycle boulevards.  The proposed network of low stress bikeways will attract more people who want to bike but are afraid of riding too close to cars.  This will increase the number of people out there on bikes. BUT WHERE ARE THE SHOULDERS? It’s […]

Nov 282017
 
Green bike crossings - solid, stripes or polka dots?

Not long ago, there were no protected bike lanes (aka cycle tracks) in Montgomery County, but now there are three, with more are on the way.  As a result, county bikeway designers are faced with many decisions they never had to make before. How should PBLs be separated from the street?  How can cyclists make left turns?  And so on. One question that I find especially important is this: What should protected bike lane crossings look like? I’m referring to the green areas where a protected bike lane crosses a street or driveway.  There’s a growing push across the country for what I call the “floating bars” design, which resembles a ladder consisting only of rungs.  This is very similar […]

 Posted by at 12:40 am on Nov 28, 2017  Comments Off on Green bike crossings – solid, stripes or polka dots?
Mar 222016
 
Bikes in the 2017-2022 Capital Budget

Wow, it’s been more than ten years since I started poring over bike budgets.  I still remember analyzing the 2005-2010 budget.   That’s so long ago that some of the projects in that budget are actually complete! (but many aren’t).  It’s so long ago that two-way cycle tracks were still called bike paths. Seriously, the County Executive’s recommended 2017-2022 Capital Budget (technically the “FY17 Recommended Capital Budget and FY17-22 Capital Improvements Program”) is a solid improvement over budgets from ten years years ago.  Support for bicycling has never been stronger in the county, thanks to growth in ridership and attitudinal shifts in county government.  But the county still has a long way to go. The capital budget covers six years but […]

 Posted by at 3:14 pm on Mar 22, 2016  Comments Off on Bikes in the 2017-2022 Capital Budget
Apr 012015
 
Bradley Blvd. project design presented

Montgomery County DOT convened a public workshop on the Bradley Boulevard Improvements project on March 23, 2015.   The open-house style workshop allowed people to view project plans, ask questions, and make comments to DOT staff. Project Details The project would improve the segment of Bradley Blvd from Wilson Lane to Glenbrook Road , including the Wilson Lane intersection: The project would convert Bradley into a “dual bikeway” having both bike lanes and an 8′ shared use path.  But it’s not just a bikeway project.  It would make major drainage improvements and add an additional sidewalk, representing a significant share of the cost.  For additional information, see the MCDOT official project description. The completed cross section would include: 5′ wide […]

Jan 132015
 
Woodmont Ave bikeway options north of Old Georgetown Road

Montgomery County is looking to construct a cycle track (aka protected bike lanes) on Woodmont Avenue between Old Georgetown Road and Bethesda Ave.  The project would allow cyclists to ride either north or south on Woodmont in some combination of cycle tracks and conventional bike lanes.  See this detailed analysis of the various options.  Much of Woodmont is a one-way street, so any facility allowing northbound travel would be a definite improvement, protected or otherwise. A key question is what will the rest of Woodmont Ave look like?  What bike accommodations will it get?  I’m referring to the half-mile long stretch of Woodmont Ave from Old Georgetown Road to Battery Lane, which is a two way street.  The future design […]

Jan 112015
 
Woodmont Ave cycle track options

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is considering construction of a cycle track, also known as protected bike lanes, on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda.  The project would require removal of one lane (often used for parking) between Old Georgetown Road and Hampden Lane.  The county is suggesting a two-way cycle track on the west side of Woodmont, but this might not be the best option. On a two-way street, one-way cycle tracks are superior to two-way cycle tracks because they make for much simpler intersections and avoid putting cyclists on the “wrong” side of the street (going the wrong direction for the side of the street they’re on, catching drivers by surprise).  On a one-way street, a two-way cycle track […]

 Posted by at 12:21 am on Jan 11, 2015  Comments Off on Woodmont Ave cycle track options
Jan 102015
 
MoBike position on cycle tracks

Statement by MoBike (Montgomery Bicycle Advocates) on cycle tracks: Cycle tracks, sometimes called separated or protected bike lanes, are one of the most promising new bike facility types to be implemented in the U.S. in recent years. Because cycle tracks physically separate cyclists from car traffic, they appeal to the “interested but concerned” category of bicyclists who would ride their bikes more if they felt safer doing so. The societal benefits of getting more people using their bikes for transportation, as well as the prospect of fewer deaths and injuries, make it worthwhile to provide cycle tracks in many contexts.  However, they are not completely without drawbacks, as noted below, so their suitability should be determined on a street-by-street basis.  […]

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 […]

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 […]