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 […]

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
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
Jun 212012

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation publishes a resurfacing schedule of upcoming road resurfacing projects.  Why is this useful?  Because roadway resurfacing (repaving) requires repainting all the lines.  White lines.  Yellow lines.  Dashed lines.  It’s a chance to widen lanes, add bike lanes and fix configurations that impact cyclists.  On some roads we’ve been chomping at the bit to have MCDOT redo the striping. On these projects MCDOT needs input from cyclists.  Many projects are brought up at MCBAG meetings.  But sometimes they aren’t.  It’s essential to keep an eye on the resurfacing schedule.

 Posted by at 11:09 am on Jun 21, 2012  Comments Off on County road resurfacing schedule – more important than you think
Jun 122012
Bethesda Trolley Trail assessment - north section

The Bethesda Trolley Trail promises to be a great route from the Twinbrook Metro station in Rockville to downtown Bethesda.   The existing part of the trail is excellent thanks to the two trail bridges over I-495 and I-270.  But it has its problems: 1. The trail fizzles out north of Edson Lane in North Bethesda.  This portion is labeled “future trail” on trail maps, although the small green trail signs continue all the way to Twinbrook Metro.  Much of it is sidewalks on busy roads lined with shopping center driveways, although there are decent alternatives for those who don’t mind riding in the road. 2. The trail fizzles out south of Charles St. in Bethesda.  Much of it is sidewalk […]

May 282012
Strathmore improvements needed

Various gaps need to be filled in on the bike route along Rt. 355 between Tuckerman Lane and Strathmore Ave, and on Strathmore Ave (MD 547) between Rt. 355 and Kenilworth Ave.  The gaps consist of either unsuitable sidewalk or marginal shoulder.  Here I discuss the gaps and how to fix them.  The route serves Metro and is part of a much longer bike route, a 12-mile signed route from Potomac to White Oak.  Most of that longer route is on-road, but some consists of off-road paths. Skip to the bottom of this post for a summary of what must be fixed. For the first 200 feet north of the Rt. 355/Tuckerman Lane intersection (i.e. Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro), the route is just a […]

 Posted by at 7:01 pm on May 28, 2012  Comments Off on Strathmore improvements needed
Apr 262012
Dealing with curb bumpouts

Curb extensions or “bumpouts” are a common method of calming traffic and shortening the street crossing distance for pedestrians.  The idea is that narrowing the roadway slows traffic by reducing the maximum safe speed as perceived by drivers.  Center islands serve a similar purpose. Unfortunately bumpouts often obstruct the space to the right of the travel lanes that’s used by bicyclists.  It forces cyclists to wait for traffic before passing the obstruction.  Even worse, drivers may misjudge the distance or the width and try to beat a cyclist to the bumpout when it’s not safe to do so.  This seems especially likely when the shoulder narrows gradually instead of suddenly.  I was almost run off the road on Arcola Avenue […]

Mar 122012

Local bike advocate Steve Friedman wrote the following piece for this blog about aggressive driving on Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda and his recent experience with the Montgomery County Police Department.  Steve is a member of the Montgomery County Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, which meets monthly and reports to the County Executive.  In fact he’s the designated bike representative on the committee. From Steve: As a regular bike commuter, I have spent time seeking out the safest yet fastest route to use on my daily ride between my home in Chevy Chase and my office on Executive Blvd.  My usual route is to take Bradley to Seven Locks Rd to Tuckerman Lane and cut through a neighborhood street […]

 Posted by at 4:16 pm on Mar 12, 2012  Comments Off on Bradley Blvd hazards, aggression and police enforcement
Nov 172011
Bradley Boulevard Maintenance Issues

Bradley Boulevard (MD 191) is used by many cyclists riding into downtown Bethesda from the west.  East of Seven Locks Road it has semi-decent shoulders for the most part, even if they sometimes dwindle to almost nothing.  Unfortunately the shoulders can be plagued with maintenance problems.  I sent the following list of needed fixes to the State Highway Administration to address.  (Thanks Steve Friedman for the photos!) WESTBOUND There is a stretch of gravel or other loose material  in the shoulder just west of Burning Tree Rd heading westbound. I think it’s been there quite awhile. There is vegetation blocking the shoulder between Burdette Rd and Oak Forest Lane, heading westbound EASTBOUND (SOUTHBOUND) There is a bad patch job near […]