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 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
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 […]

Jun 132013
 
White Flint plan falls short for bikes

[Updated June 19th to reflect additional research] Montgomery County is in the process of redeveloping the White Flint area, a 430-acre planning division located a few miles south of Rockville.  Under the White Flint Sector Plan, the area will be transformed from a hodge-podge of strip malls, commercial buildings and parking lots into a walkable mixed use community centered around the White Flint Metro station.  The plan’s vision is in part: …transforming an auto-oriented suburban development pattern into an urban center of residences and businesses where people walk to work, shops and transit. Offices and plazas are full of workers during the day. At night and on weekends people attend the theater, visit galleries, and eat out… Rockville Pike will […]

Mar 292013
 
Want to read the definitive bikeway standard? Pay $144.

The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, 4th Edition is the definitive, nationally recognized set of standards governing key aspects of bikeway design, including bicycle facility design, planning and maintenance as well as bike parking.  It was released in 2012.  Please contact me if you want to view or borrow my copy. The document costs $144, even for individuals. The guide is used by thousands of government agencies across the U.S. to guide design and planning efforts.   However, citizens looking to review the document in order to participate in government decisions must either pay $144 for their own copy or find a hardcopy owned by someone else (or view the online version on the owner’s computer screen).  […]

 Posted by at 3:07 pm on Mar 29, 2013  Comments Off on Want to read the definitive bikeway standard? Pay $144.
Mar 242013
 
Montgomery County Road Code explained

Nov. 30 2014 update:  Modest changes were made to the Road Code by Montgomery County Bill 33-13, passed by the County Council on Nov. 25, 2014.  Most of the Road Code is unchanged. The Montgomery County “Road Code” is the set of standards that governs every aspect of road design on county roads, including the widths of things like travel lanes, bike lanes and sidewalk buffers; the design of stormwater management; and less interesting things like curb height.  This matters a lot to cyclists.  Officially called the Context Sensitive Road Design Standards, the Road Code is actually a set of county regulations.  It can be viewed in PDF form (in the relevant County Council resolution) or viewed online (go to […]

 Posted by at 4:26 am on Mar 24, 2013  Comments Off on Montgomery County Road Code explained
Feb 182013
 
Montgomery County Sierra Club's excellent bike statement

The Montgomery County Sierra Club has just published a superb bike statement outlining changes needed to support biking in the county.  A printable version (as of Jan. 28 2013) is here. These are the six points made in the 5-page statement (my paraphrasing): Make a complete network: The statement recommends connecting bike lanes to major destinations and completing facilities such as the Bethesda Trolley Trail, Capital Crescent Trail, ICC Trail and routes parallel to arterials like Georgia Ave. Be context-appropriate: It recommends providing a context-appropriate variety of facilities such as bike lanes, sharrows, cycle tracks, bicycle boulevards and grade-separated trails. Provide comfort: It recommends providing multiple route options, wayfinding signs, secure bike parking, meeting plazas and good trail maintenance. Safety: […]

 Posted by at 11:41 am on Feb 18, 2013  Comments Off on Montgomery County Sierra Club’s excellent bike statement
Nov 032012
 
Bike route signs: a matter of format

Montgomery County is preparing to post bike route signs along some long new bike routes like this one parallel to Georgia Avenue.  The county’s Bicycle Action Group (MCBAG) is weighing in on the routes, sign placement and sign format.  The routes will typically be 5 to 8 miles long. Please look at the wayfinding sign formats here on NACTO’s excellent website.   It shows what other jurisdictions have done. Based on signs the county has already installed, we (MCBAG) are recommending the following basic format where each sign has up to three panels per post. Top Panel: Just a bike symbol and the words “BIKE ROUTE” Middle Panel: Big arrow(s) pointing along the main route.  This panel is omitted if […]

Oct 112012
 

Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Floreen has asked the Maryland Department of Transportation to make changes to various state roads to better support bike sharing, which is coming to the county soon. Her letter is here.  She specifically requests bike lanes on Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring: [To support bikesharing] I encourage MDOT to implement wherever feasible these improvements endorsed by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association: Buffered bike lanes–where sufficient space exists, provide buffered space between the bicycle travel space and vehicular travel space (or the “door zone” of the vehicle); Non-buffered bike lanes—where space is available, provide a bike lane with a minimum width of five feet, in keeping with national engineering standards; Shared use markings […]

 Posted by at 11:19 am on Oct 11, 2012  Comments Off on Councilmember Floreen asks for bike lanes on state roads
Sep 272012
 
Montgomery County's Bikeway Plan

The quintessential Montgomery County plan for bicyclists is the 2005 Countywide Bikeways Functional Master Plan (CBFMP).  This plan says where the county plans to add major bikeways or has already implemented them.  Especially useful is the CBFMP’s table of table of existing and planned bikeways. See also this interactive map for a visual companion to the CBFMP document.  The map includes updates made to the CBFMP since 2005 except for the most recent, as well as local bikeways (see below) though it’s not guaranteed to be 100% correct. The CBFMP identifies these types of bikeways: On-road bike lanes “Signed shared roadways” (SSRs).  These are roads with some feature (like shoulders or wide lanes) that make them more comfortable for cycling.  […]

 Posted by at 11:14 am on Sep 27, 2012  Comments Off on Montgomery County’s Bikeway Plan