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guest post: David Anspacher

Last Saturday, the Montgomery County Civic Federation’s bicycle conference got representatives from various agencies together, including M-NCPPC, MCDOT, MDOT, MD SHA, and WMATA, to talk about their bicycle planning and implementation activities.

In the late morning, attendees  began developing an action plan for advancing bicycling in the County. There were lots of good ideas, many dealing with ways to reduce the speed of car traffic.

Francoise Carrier, Chair of the Planning Board, provided concluding remarks. She identified three ways that the Planning Board can work to improve bicycling:

  • through master planning, find opportunities to break up large blocks and expand the street grid, creating a network of low volume, low speed roads overlaid with  bike lanes and off-road paths
  • through the zoning code rewrite recommend bicycle parking requirements that vary by land use type and the size of a development, with shower and change facility requirements included
  • crediting  developers who agree to locate a bike sharing station on their property and who fund its capital or operating expenses

The good thoughts and energy at the conference should be the basis to improve bicycling in the County. As part of his opening remarks, Art Holmes, Director of MCDOT, asked the group to give him something that articulates what the bicycling community is looking for.

Perhaps the Civic Federation could establish a task force to summarize the suggestions from the conference and develop them into a bicycle initiative, much like the Pedestrian Safety Initiative launched by the County Executive in 2007, and then submit it to the County Executive, Council, and the Planning Board.

The future of biking in Montgomery County? photo credit: Richard Masoner

3 Responses to “Bicycle Conference Follow-up”

  1. claudia

    As the SSPP post points out, it is a big step forward that we can talk about a bicycle network and strive for mode share. Don’t forget that along with paths and trails, part of bicycle infrastructure are places to lock and store (which is why I love the bike share programs). And I expect to see more bicycle cafes where you can get air in your tires, something to drink, and a map ( Or how about a regional bike fest like this one:

  2. Steven Friedman

    David, thanks for not only giving a fine presentation at the conference but for all of your positive energies to this effort. To Claudia’s point, other presentations also addressed the lack or perceived lack in connectivity in our trail network to increase the strength of them as a part of the bike infrastructure. This include a mention of legislation to enable 24 hour access to trails which we would advocate for needs to include proper facilities including bike storage/places to lock up.

    The regional bike fest is also a good idea and in my opinion was doing well pre 9/11 with the original Bike DC concept. Haven’t done the refashioned version yet. I have done Bike NY several times and while excellent in concept the logistics do present some challenges. Bike NY now has 40,000 riders. When lined up in Battery Park, it’s like a marathon start, takes a half hour to get across the start line. And, the ride ends in staten island requiring most to take the ferry back but that wait is incredibly long as well. The ride itself traverses some sketchy pavement and bridges which makes novice cyclists a bit uncomfortable. Still something to try at least once.

    The record setting registration yesterday at BTWD is encouraging. I don’t think this is will grow under a build it and they will ride, this has to be a function of ride, advocate and it will get built. But we’re on our way…