Montgomery County’s bikeway coordinator said an extension of the Bethesda Trolley Trail in North Bethesda should be complete by September and it will use a street marking unique to many suburban areas.
Patricia Shepherd told the White Flint Implementation Committee on Monday that the county is prepared to begin a .29-mile extension of the trail from the northern terminus of its off-road portion at Edson Lane along Woodglen Drive to Nicholson Lane.
The Bethesda Trolley Trail is a six-mile route meant to connect the Twinbrook Metro station in Rockville with downtown Bethesda through White Flint. The off-road portion of the Trail, which includes bridges over the Beltway and I-270, runs to just south of NIH at Battery Lane.
The development of North Bethesda Market has led to concerns from bikers who use the Trail on Woodglen. A Whole Foods supermarket, parking garage entrances and curbside parking can make navigating the area difficult.
The county’s Department of Transportation hopes shifting a shared-use sidewalk from the Whole Foods side of the street to the west side of the street will help things. The county is waiting for WSSC to finish a project in the area. Then, it will remove the existing five-foot concrete sidewalk on the west side of Woodglen and add an eight-food shared-use path in its place.
In a move Shepherd said could become more common in downtown Bethesda with the introduction of Capital Bikeshare, the county will apply new lane markings to the street called sharrows. The markings mean bikers can use the full lane, just like the driver of a car.
MCDOT will remove six curbside parking spots from the street to help widen the lane, which will make it possible for cars and bikes to travel the roadway side-by-side.
Shepherd said cyclists were concerned that a traditional bike lane to the outside of regular traffic could lead to collisions with car doors that fling open in street parking spaces. She also said its important to connect the Bethesda Trolley Trail to Wall Park, which is just to the northwest of Woodglen Drive.