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Home / News / Public Hearing for Bicycle Master Plan Will Be Held on January 25

Public Hearing for Bicycle Master Plan Will Be Held on January 25

bicycle master plan

Public invited to testify on Public Hearing Draft at Montgomery Planning headquarters in Silver Spring

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), approved the Working Draft as the Public Hearing Draft for the Bicycle Master Plan at its meeting on Thursday, December 7. The Planning Board’s public hearing for the Bicycle Master Plan is now scheduled for Thursday, January 25, 2018 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD).

The plan aims to make Montgomery County a world-class bicycling community. It sets the stage for a cultural shift, encouraging people of all ages and bicycling abilities to meet their daily needs by bicycle – in a safe, comfortable and accessible manner throughout the county.

View the Bicycle Master Plan Public Hearing Draft.

The community is invited to sign up to testify about the Bicycle Master Plan at the public hearing. Sign up to testify online beginning on January 15.

The public is also invited to submit comments about the Bicycle Master Plan via email to These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

Learn more about the plan’s Proposed Bicycle Network map.

The Bicycle Master Plan is a comprehensive overhaul of the 1978 Master Plan of Bikeways, 2005 Countywide Bikeways Functional Master Plan and all bikeway recommendations in past master and sector plans.

The goals of the plan include:

  1. Increasing bicycling rates in Montgomery County.
  2. Creating a highly connected, convenient and low-stress bicycling network.
  3. Providing equal access to low-stress bicycling for all members of the community.
  4. Improving the safety of bicycling.

Schedule of Planning Board Meetings for the Bicycle Master Plan

All events are scheduled to take place at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD); go to the Planning Board agenda 10 days prior to the hearing date for more details.

Background on Bicycle Master Plan

The Bicycle Master Plan paves the way for safe, comfortable and accessible bicycling throughout Montgomery County. Appropriate bikeways are recommended according to the level of stress experienced by cyclists in response to vehicular traffic on each road. On busy roads, bicyclists will have dedicated space separated from traffic. On residential streets, they will be able to comfortably share the road with automobiles.

Concept of low-stress bikeways

One barrier to bicycling is what is known as “traffic stress.” People who tolerate a high level of traffic stress are comfortable bicycling on most streets, including highways. These so-called “strong and fearless” bicyclists account for about 7 percent of the population.

Those who tolerate a moderate level of traffic stress are comfortable bicycling on highways and arterial roads that include bike lanes. These “enthused and confident” bicyclists account for about 5 percent of the population.

Cyclists who tolerate a low level of traffic stress are comfortable riding on residential streets, trails and roads with bikeways separated from traffic. These “interested but concerned” bicyclists account for about 51 percent of the population and include children.

New bikeway facility classifications

The Bicycle Master Plan proposes a new bikeway facility classification system for Montgomery County. This system organizes bikeways into five facility types based on their level of separation from traffic. Trails are the bikeways most separated from traffic and shared roads are the least separated from traffic

Trails include off-street trails, stream valley park trails and neighborhood connectors. They are located outside of the road right-of-way and provide two-way travel for bicycling and walking.

Separated bikeways include sidepaths and separated bike lanes. They also provide physical separation from traffic and are generally considered for roads with 3 or more lanes, posted speed limits of 30 mph or faster or in commercial areas.

Striped bikeways include buffered bike lanes, conventional bike lanes, advisory bike lanes and contra-flow bike lanes. They are distinguished from traffic lanes by striping and pavement markings.

Bikeable shoulders of at least four feet in width can improve comfort for some bicyclists. They are most appropriate in rural locations, often where posted speed limits are 40 mph and faster.

Shared roads include shared streets, priority shared lane markings and neighborhood greenways. Space on these bikeways is shared by bicyclists, cars and vehicles.

Innovative outreach for the plan

Since the Bicycle Master Plan was launched in 2015, the planning team has held numerous community meetings, community bike rides and other events to engage the public.

In addition, innovative outreach efforts were developed to engage more people throughout the county. They include a photo contest that invited residents to submit bicycling images that are part of the plan. A stress-reducing coloring book was created to illustrate the key concepts of the low-stress network recommended in the master plan.

Digital feedback maps, including the Cycling Concerns Map, allowed stakeholders to comment about safety, connectivity and any other concerns related to bicycling. The award-winning Bicycle Stress Map was launched in April 2016 to document the stress levels encountered by cyclists on county roads and intersections, and allow cyclists to better understand road conditions in the county.

Since introducing the Bicycle Stress Map, planners determined that about 75 percent of county road miles are suitable for most adult bike riders. But only 17 percent of actual trips can be completed on a low-stress network, due to the inability to reach key destinations, such as jobs, stores, schools or transit hubs, without extensive detours or the need to travel on higher-stress roads.

Contact project manager David Anspacher at or 301-495-2191 for more information.