Extending trails, adding bike lanes and "sharrows"—these are the things area biking advocates said need to be fixed in Silver Spring and Takoma Park before Montgomery County can successfully implement its Capital Bikeshare program.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Montgomery Bicycle Advocates recently created a list of bike infrastructure improvements for Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Bethesda and Friendship Heights that they said "make people feel comfortable and safe on a bike."
Among the suggestions are to finish two incomplete trails in Silver Spring: Metropolitan Branch Trail and Silver Spring Green Trail. For the latter, the groups propose that the trail be extended west along Second Avenue to Spring Street and that the Second Avenue/Fenwick Lane intersection be redone to connect the trail to another that a developer is planning.
"These trails have been left incomplete for too long," the groups wrote in their report.
Bicycle safety has been in the spotlight ahead of the expected to launch next year, which some say could bring inexperienced cyclists to busy downtown streets and increase conflicts between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
According to county spokesperson Esther Bowring, safe bicycle access is a priority for the county Department of Transportation, and MCDOT regularly meets with bicycle advocates to discuss concerns and project updates.
“Some of the projects that WABA and MoBike have identified are currently being studied/designed/ by the Department and/or have been studied in the past,” Bowring wrote in an e-mail to Patch.
“The newer requests will be placed on a waiting list and included for consideration as future candidate projects under the FY15-20 Facility Planning-Transportation.”
Here are the recommendations for Silver Spring and Takoma Park: ("Sharrows" are defined by the groups "shared lane markings—sharrows are a way to make existing travel lanes more hospitable to bikes, and are often accompanied by 'Bikes May Use Full Lane' signs.")
- Place bike lanes or sharrows on Second Avenue from Seminary Road to Colesville Road.
- Place bike lanes on Cameron Street from Second Avenue to Spring Street
- Place bike lanes on Spring Street/Cedar Street from 16th Street to Wayne Avenue.
- Place a "contraflow" bike lane on the one-way section of Ellsworth Drive (just south of Springvale Road)
- Place bike lanes on Georgia Avenue from Spring Street to 13th Street.
- Place bike lanes on the east (northbound) side of Colesville Road from East-West Highway north to Georgia Ave.
- Place bike lanes on East-West Highway from Georgia Avenue to 16th Street.
- Place bike lanes on Fenton Street from Cameron Street to Takoma Avenue.
- Place bike lanes on Takoma Avenue and Eastern Avenue from Fenton Street to Cedar Avenue.
- Place bike lanes on Maple Avenue from Carroll Ave. (D.C. line) to Sligo Creek Parkway.
- Place bike lanes on Holly Avenue from Eastern Avenue to Grant Avenue.
- Place bike lanes on Grant Avenue from Piney Branch Road to Ethan Allen Avenue.
- Place bike lanes on Greenwood Avenue from Carroll Avenue to Piney Branch Road.
- Improve the Capital Crescent Trail connection into Silver Spring:
- Provide two-way cycle track on the south side of Stewart Avenue from Brookville Road to the path connector to Kansas Ave.
- Provide sharrows on Kansas, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Talbot avenues to provide improve wayfinding. Continue sharrows on Grace Church Road to Second Avenue.