Bethesda Transportation Solutions had more than 600 people register for its Bike To Work Day festivities on Woodmont Avenue this morning, one of many local “pit-stops” around the area today.
The 13th annual event is meant to encourage bicycle commuting. Getting commuters out of congestion-creating single-occupancy cars and using other forms of transportation is the objecctive for Bethesda Transportation Solutions, a division of the Bethesda Urban Partnership.
District 16 Delegates Ariana Kelly and Susan Lee presented a proclamation from the state of Maryland celebrating the event, which included a bike raffle from Griffin Cycle (4949 Bethesda Ave.), on-site bike registration from Montgomery County Police, and giveaways and information from bike organizations such as the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.
Comptroller Peter Franchot made an appearance. County Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda) and Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services director Ken Hartman presented a Montgomery County proclamation recognizing Bike To Work Day.
BTS also presented two bike commuters with a “Bicycle Spirit Award.”
The official announcement from the county yesterday matches up with what DOT’s Sande Brecher told a citizens advisory board last month. Brecher said Portland, Ore.-based vendor Alta Bicycle Share must provide the Bikeshare equipment within a little more than 100 days after signing the contract.
Brecher said it will take four or five months to have the equipment come in, finalize the station locations and put the bikes and equipment down.
She predicted a best-case scenario opening for most downcounty Bikeshare stations by September 21, the official last day of summer.
Specific locations for the estimated 11 Bethesda stations remain undetermined, but will likely end up near the Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center and Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stations.
“Bikesharing can be a cost-effective, healthy way to provide better transportation connections that reduce the need to drive for short trips, provide efficient links to transit and reduce traffic congestion. Since bikesharing is low-cost and available 24/7, it may be particularly helpful for low-income residents, many of whom hold multiple jobs and try to participate in job training programs,” County Executive Isiah Leggett said in the press release. “We expect the bikeshare program to significantly expand opportunities and improve the quality of life for all our residents.”
The Capital Bikeshare program in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria has been tremendously popular, recently surpassing 2 million rides. Montgomery County officials are hoping for much of the same, though some are concerned about safety.
Last year, Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D-At large) asked the State Highway Administration to consider bike lanes and bike markings in repaving and road improvement projects.
Older residents have expressed concern about the effects a new group of potentially inexperienced cyclists will have on pedestrian safety.
Flickr photo by James D. Schwartz
Bethesda Transportation Solutions’ annual Bike To Work Day is approaching with a large event planned for the morning of Friday, May 17 and a number of pre-events planned throughout Bethesda in the next few weeks.
The BTS crew will be at Veterans Park from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with information and registration materials for the main event, as well as free bike maintenance checks from Griffin Cycle owner Nick Griffin.
Griffin will donate a bike to be raffled off on May 17, when bikers, BTS and the Bethesda Urban Partnership gather to celebrate Bike To Work Day from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues.
BTS, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Montgomery County Commuter Services will host a Confident City Cycling course from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad (5020 Battery Lane).
For more information or to register for the event, visit the Bike To Work Day website.
The rental program started April 1, when the longtime bike shop at 4949 Bethesda Ave. began offering hybrid, road and kids rental bikes across from the Haagen Dazs ice cream shop and Bethesda Row Cinema, right at the entrance to the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel.
Look for Griffin Cycle again this weekend. Helmets and locks are included with rentals.
Photo vis Griffin Cycle
That was the best-case scenario offered Monday by Montgomery County Department of Transportation manager Sande Brecher at a meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.
Brecher said MCDOT still hasn’t finalized specific locations for 11 Bethesda and 18 other downcounty (Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights) stations.
Brecher said the county signed the contract with Portland, Ore.-based vendor Alta Bicycle Share in the first week of April after a hold-up with the state, which funded part of the project through a $1 million grant and $250,000 bond. Because the state used federal dollars, the signing of the contract was put on hold until the state was sure it had complied with federal requirements.
That held up the county’s end of the process, said Brecher, who last year had hoped for a spring or summer opening.
Once Alta signs the contract, it must provide the Bikeshare equipment within a little more than 100 days. Brecher said it will take four or five months to have the equipment come in, finalize the station locations and put the bikes and equipment down.
The stations are expected to be near Metro stations and other widely used public spaces, much like the successful systems in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria. One private developer has suggested Woodmont Triangle’s Veterans Park as a station site.
“We hope to have sites on the ground. Will we have all 30 or so? Probably not,” Brecher said. “We hope to have a critical mass of stations in place so we can proceed with opening the system.”
Flickr photo by James D. Schwartz
An author and professor on bikeway planning is coming to the Montgomery County Planning Department to talk bike safety, an important topic to many ahead of the county’s rollout of the Capital Bikeshare program later this year.
Ralph Buehler, a professor of urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech and co-editor of the book “City Cycling,” will share his thoughts on how to make biking attractive for more than just those daring enough to battle car traffic. He’s speaking at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9 the Planning Department’s Silver Spring headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave.).
Montgomery County hopes to install and open 29 Bikeshare stations this year in the downcounty area. Eleven of those would be in Bethesda at too-be-determined locations near Metro stations and activity centers.
The Bikeshare network and the anticipated increase of less experienced riders has left county officials concerned about existing bike paths and safety measures. It also has some Bethesda residents worried about bikers using crowded sidewalks.
Buehler’s presentation will delve into safety, bikeways, bike parking, integrating cycling with public transportation and promoting cycling for everyone. It’s part of the Planning Department’s Speaker Series. For more information, visit the website.
Ken Hartman, director of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, said an update on Bikeshare’s progress is scheduled for the Monday, April 15 meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board at the Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane.)
Construction on a new bikeway along MacArthur Boulevard from the Beltway to just past Glen Echo Park will begin this month, according to Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center director Ken Hartman.
The 2.61-mile, 8-foot-wide shared use bike path along the south side of MacArthur Boulevard will run from the Beltway to Oberlin Avenue and should take a year to build.
Lane closures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will happen during the duration of the project, which will also include road resurfacing, the installation of retaining walls, driveways, underpass lighting, landscaping and a new storm drain system. The Department of Transportation’s March memo on the project has all the details.
Construction will happen on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with occasional Saturday work in case of weather delays. Alternative pedestrian routes will be provided when any existing routes are closed because of construction. For more information, email email@example.com or call 240-777-7220.
Photo via Google Maps
Construction Of East-West Highway Office To Cause Lane Closure — Construction crews are ready for mass excavation at 4500 East-West Highway, where the McDonald’s was torn down to make way for a new office building. Crews will close the west lane of Pearl Street in the next few weeks. The shot crossing street will become one-way between East-West Highway and Montgomery Avenue. [Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center]
Bike Groups Against State Mandatory Helmet Law — Bike advocates know helmet-use means safer bicycling, but they say a law that would require it being discussed in the Maryland legislature will cause fewer people to ride, perhaps making drivers less aware that bicyclists are out there and causing more accidents. [Washington Post]
Bethesda Art Walk Tonight — The monthly event takes art-seekers through a collection of studios and spaces and will coincide with the opening reception for Gallery B’s February exhibit of local photographers. Reception starts at 6 p.m. [Bethesda Urban Partnership]
Public Hearing On Redistricting, Voting Precinct Changes — The Montgomery County Board of Elections will hold a public hearing from 10 a.m. to noon on March 2 at its Gaithersburg headquarters to discuss realigned voting precincts that are expected to go into effect for the 2014 election cycle. [Montgomery County Board of Elections]
Flickr photo by katharine brainard
Capital Bikeshare is coming to Bethesda (probably this summer) and its pending introduction has caused some friction between bike advocates and residents who say it will be unsafe for both drivers and pedestrians on sidewalks.
Even with stations planned in Chevy Chase and Bethesda, a vocal contingent of Chevy Chase residents are against a planned Wisconsin Avenue sidewalk that would theoretically connect the commercial downtown areas of Friendship Heights and Bethesda.
With those issues in mind and the success the Capital Bikeshare has seen in D.C. and Arlington, what’s your take on Bikeshare?
Vote in the poll below and feel free to leave any other comments.
The agency has been working with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation since 2005 to find a way around narowing the shoulder of MacArthur Boulevard near Goldsboro Road.
Tonight, they’ll propose an option that shifts 800 feet of the path on to the Cabin John Trolley Right of Way on the grounds of the Glen Echo Park and Clara Barton National Historic Site.
NPS officials will present the Environmental Assessment of that option and take comments from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Spanish Ballroom of Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd.).
The document detailing the plan can be found here.
Image via National Park Service
MCPS On Two-Hour Delay Thursday — About an inch of overnight snow has Montgomery County Public Schools opening two hours later than usual on Thursday. [MCPS]
Bethesda Resident Turns 103 — Rita DiLazzara was honored with an event at the Clara Barton Community Center in Potomac, where County Executive Isiah Leggett turned up to present her with a certificate in honor of her milestone. She is one of the oldest people in the county. [Bethesda Patch]
Bethesda Teen Takes Biking To The Next Level — Ben Jacoby, 18, rides his bike nearly everywhere, enough places to have traveled 1,891 miles in January. He’s taking part in an international competition that tracks bike miles. [The Gazette]
Montgomery County councilmembers on Thursday raised concerns about cycling safety, a common theme in the last few months as the county prepares to implement a Capital Bikeshare program in the spring.
The remarks came at a joint Public Safety and Transportation Committee hearing in which Department of Transportation officials presented new numbers that showed even as pedestrian-car collisions have decreased significantly during the last six years, bicycle-car collisions were up.
“Our goal as a Council and I hope as a county is to increase the number of people using bicycles,” said Council President Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac). “So going back to more accidents on bicycles is something that is going to be more important, not less important.”
Bethesda is set for 11 Bikeshare stations when 29 are installed in the downcounty area next spring. Already some are concerned with the prospects of more inexperienced riders on the roads and sidewalks.
“I’ve been raising some questions about how prepared we are and how many additional bike lanes and safe places for bicyclists we are creating,” Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-at large) of Garrett Park said. “The state’s repaving of roads seems to largely be including bike lanes. I’m not sure about the county’s process in that regard.”
Floreen recently asked the State Highway Administration to consider bike lanes and bike markings in repaving and road improvement projects.
Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) brought up safety issues between bikers and pedestrians on sidewalks, something not measured in the DOT report.
According to an August report by CountyStat, there were eight reported bicycle collisions in downtown Bethesda in 2011 involving bicycles and cars, most at crosswalks.
Michael Wilhelm Breithaupt, 54, of the 3700 block of East West Highway remained in critical condition Friday after colliding with a Montgomery County school bus at about 2:30 p.m. in the intersection of Darnestown Road and Berryville Road in Darnestown.
Police said they were still investigating why both Breithaupt and the school bus entered the intersection at the same time. Breithaupt was traveling northbound on Berryville Road and the school bus was traveling eastbound on Darnestown Road, police said.
As of this weekend, police were also looking for help in finding Breithaupt’s car, a black 1991 Jeep he parked before beginning his ride. Cycle Moco says his wife believes he may have ridden with a group named the Spartans.
Police are asking anyone with information to the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.
A female bicyclist appeared to suffer minor injuries after a collision with a car on Wednesday morning near downtown.
The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. at the crosswalk of Cheltenham Drive and Wisconsin Avenue and involved a Mercedes SUV. Rescue Services and MCPD were on the scene attending to the injured bicyclist, who was put into an ambulance.
A witness said the bicyclist didn’t appear to be badly hurt and lifted herself onto a gurney.
An August report from CountyStat said there were eight reported bicycle collisions in 2011 in downtown Bethesda, most involving cars at crosswalks.
The League of American Bicyclists on Friday named Bethesda as one of 28 new “Bicycle Friendly Communities,” a distinction for areas “that actively support bicycling” by providing infrastructure for safe biking and the encouragement to do it for transportation and recreation.
The announcement came a few days after a number of Bethesda residents raised safety concerns about the Capital Bikeshare program. Some said they were worried more bikes would mean more bikers on sidewalks, which could interfere with pedestrians.
A local bike advocate said there are a number of Bethesda streets, including the main thoroughfares of Wisconsin Avenue, Woodmont Avenue and Arlington Road, that could use the addition of dedicated bike lanes or marker adjustments to keep bikers safe.
Bethesda earned bronze status on the Bicycle Friendly Community list. The area has already seen a significant increase in the number of employees who bike to work regularly, according to the county’s Annual Commuter Survey. The county cited its location between the Capital Crescent Trail and Bethesda Trolley Trail as part of the reason for that.
“Bethesda is a terrific example of the kind of bicycle-friendly environment that makes places more livable and more attractive for new residents and businesses,” Council President and Transportation Committee Chair Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) said in a prepared release. “As we prepare for the expansion of Capital Bikeshare to Montgomery County, we need to continue to build on this success to ensure we have more bike-friendly places in the county.”
An August report by CountyStat showed eight reported bicycle collisions in 2011 in downtown Bethesda, most involving crossing vehicles at crosswalks.
The Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) and Bethesda Transportation Solutions division of BUP nominated Bethesda for the designation. It is now one of 242 such communities in the country. The City of Rockville also earned bronze status as a new city on the list.
“It is wonderful to see how far Bethesda has come in bike friendliness, and some of the biggest opportunities for bike-friendliness still lie ahead. As advocates for a bike-friendly region, we are proud to see the Bethesda joining the list of Bicycle-Friendly Communities,” said Washington Area Bicyclist Association Executive Director Shane Farthing in the county’s prepared release. “We look forward to seeing that bronze ranking go even higher under leadership that understands the value of bicycling as a transportation solution.”
Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park, recently asked state transportation officials to include bike lane and marking improvements in all current county road projects ahead of the introduction of Bikeshare.
“This designation is a terrific affirmation of our commitment not only to providing a variety of transportation options but also to ensuring a safe environment for bicyclists,” Floreen said. “This recognition is just the beginning, and we will continue to strive for excellence when it comes to bicycle connectivity and safety.”