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.
Officials in charge of a Wisconsin Avenue sidewalk project promised less of an environmental impact on Chevy Chase’s “Green Mile” than first feared during a public meeting on Monday.
But in a packed room of the Somerset Town Hall, the long controversial issue seemed as divisive as ever. The State Highway Administration wants to build a 0.7-mile, $1.2 million sidewalk to connect bus stops on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue between Grafton Street and Bradley Lane.
“Why do we need this at all? We feel we are being railroaded,” said one resident against the sidewalk proposal. “I have trouble understanding where this demand is coming from. Clearly there is a very strong demand from people that are bikers.”
Cyclists were just one group involved in the discussion, which at times devolved into heated arguments between a crowd of about 60 people split by a variety of interests.
A number of cyclists from neighborhoods just south of Chevy Chase spoke up in favor of the sidewalk. They argued it would allow less experienced riders a way to get from Friendship Heights to downtown Bethesda without risking safety on the busy road, more important with the coming introduction of Capital Bikeshare.
Some Chevy Chase residents said they were opposed to the sidewalk because they can’t envision anybody using it, especially without the promise of additional crosswalks that would encourage east-to-west movement across Wisconsin Avenue.
There were plenty of Chevy Chase residents who said the sidewalk was necessary to connect the four bus stops in the stretch.
“I think it is very sad and unfortunately laughable the square chunk of concrete that northbound riders are faced with when they get off the bus,” said one resident in favor of the sidewalk.
“I think people are living in the past,” another said. “How could you not have sidewalks on both sides of Wisconsin Avenue?”
Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) will join students and parents from Wood Acres Elementary School on Wednesday for annual “Walk to School Day,” an international event to highlight pedestrian safety.
The Partnership for a Walkable America began the event in 1997 and it has since spread to include participants from 5,000 schools in 40 countries.
Berliner will join the group at 8 a.m. at the intersection of Cromwell Drive and Springfield Drive for the roughly 30-minute walk, one of many planned throughout the county.
“Walk to School Day underscores the necessity of having safe routes to school so that students and parents have the choice of walking to school while being out of harm’s way,” Berliner said in the county press release.
Wood Acres (5800 Cromwell Dr.) has a capacity of 551 students and is part of the Pyle Middle School and Walt Whitman High School clusters.
“Walk to School Day is a celebration of all that is great about our Wood Acres community — a chance for parents and students to get some physical exercise while visiting with neighbors and reducing the impact on our environment,” Wood Acres principal Marita Sherburne said in the release. “This day marks this year’s emphasis on greening up our school, from increased recycling drives and emphasis on reducing trash to conserving energy and reducing our ecological footprint.”