Mar 302015
 

The Carl Henn Millennium Trail along East Gude Drive is a notably unsafe and unappealing section of that well-used trail.  But it would be much improved if the county could convert it into a legitimate two-way cycle track with a separate sidewalk (like on Woodglen Drive in White Flint).  More realistically, it could be reconfigured as a sort of pseudo-cycle track that permits pedestrian use. Two problems contribute to the lack of safety on the Millennium Trail between Rockville Pike and Norbeck Road: Lack of a safety buffer or barrier between the trail and the street Many busy driveway crossings, often in very close proximity to each other As shown here, there simply isn’t enough separation between the trail and […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Feb 112013
 
Maryland's mandatory helmet law a disaster for biking

A bill before the Maryland House of Delegates would require everyone riding a bike to wear a helmet, no matter how short their trip.    If the bill passes, it would probably kill BikeShare and do a great deal to discourage cycling.  Capital BikeShare, now coming to Montgomery County, is inducing the county to invest in more bike infrastructure and will allow many more bike trips. The county’s transit oriented communities (including Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas designated by the state) rely on bicycling and walking to reduce traffic.  But this bill would undermine it all. Update on April 25 2013: The bill did not pass. Do Maryland legislators really think they know more about bicycling than the Danish and […]

Sep 042012
 
Wisconsin Avenue "Green Mile" Path - new design

There is an updated design of the “Green Mile” shared use path along MD 355 (Wisconsin Ave.) north of Friendship Heights.  The design isn’t final by any means, but it’s been updated to address concerns over tree removal expressed by the Little Falls Watershed Alliance (LFWA).  The State Highway Administration (SHA) is still calling it a sidewalk, though it’s meant to be a shared use path per county master plan.  See the links at the bottom of this post for the design diagrams. A very serious problem with the new design is that the path would only be 5′ wide with no buffer separating it from Wisconsin Ave. for the southernmost 250 feet of the project (from Grafton St. to […]

 Posted by at 3:02 pm on Sep 4, 2012  Comments Off on Wisconsin Avenue “Green Mile” Path – new design
Aug 282012
 
"Bikes May Use Full Lane" signs going up in Maryland

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is now installing “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” (BMUFL) signs around Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Maryland SHA’s written guidance for use of these signs is in this three page document.  That document leaves a lot of gaps, but SHA’s traffic and safety director supplied more depth in an interview with Jim Titus of WABA.  For more from Jim, see his post on Greater Greater Washington. SHA’s primary guidance states that BMUFL signs may be used on roads where the usable space for the cyclist in the right lane is 13 feet or narrower.  Usable means, for example, that gutters don’t count as part of the 13 feet (gutters are typically 12-16 inches wide).  […]

Aug 252012
 
Hazards on the Bethesda Trolley Trail bridges

There are several major hazards on the Bethesda Trolley Trail bridges over I-270.  Check out this photo album of the trouble spots. The worst hazards are related to the Derecho storm that hit the D.C. area on June 29th, 2012.   The problems include: A downed communications wire laying across half the trail Orange traffic cones in the trail that make it difficult to get around one of the bollards Trail bollards folded down to allow access by vehicles repairing Derecho damage A tree that fell on the trail railing at one point (since removed) All of these hazards have been reported to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) but the wire and folded down bollards remain. In addition, some […]

 Posted by at 4:07 pm on Aug 25, 2012  Comments Off on Hazards on the Bethesda Trolley Trail bridges