Momentum builds for fresh look at MoCo bikeways

Great MoCo Bicycle Summit in Chevy Chase in  April (file photo)The Montgomery County Planning Department is touting a new webpage showing all bikeways in Montgomery County via an interactive map.

Soon, county transportation officials may be planning a lot more.

At a Council Transportation Committee meeting on Monday, all involved expressed support for the idea of a new Countywide Bikeways Functional Master Plan to update the 2005 planning process that laid out where new bike lanes, shared use paths and bicycle sign pavement markings should go.

David Anspacher, the Planning Department’s transportation planner coordinator, said the nearly 10-year-old bikeway master plan is “kind of ancient” and a rewrite could be helpful to consider newer techniques such as buffered bike lanes and cycle tracks, especially with a new group of bicyclists expected thanks to the growth of Capital Bikeshare.

The new webpage details existing and proposed bike lanes, roads with bike markings to let drivers know bicyclists are allowed, off-road shared-use paths and protected cycle tracks, of which there are none in Montgomery County.

Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer — the three members of the Council’s Transportation Committee — have all put their support behind putting down more bike markings and facilities on more county roads, especially in urban areas.

But county transportation officials explained during the Monday session that adding bike lanes, for instance, is only one element that must be considered when designing a road or intersection.

Anspacher said the county’s road standards “don’t really” include bike facilities in urban district streets.

The group also talked about educating motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians about the actual rules of the road when it comes to bicycling.

“I do think these conflicts are intensifying,” Berliner said. “We receive emails almost every day, pedestrians upset with bicyclists, bicyclists upset with motorists. I’ve gotten angry at bicyclists in front of me and I’ve gotten angry when I dared go on the road [with my bike]. The rules aren’t understood. I don’t know all the rules that bicyclists are supposed to follow and I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck.”

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