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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]