New Protected Bike Lane in Bethesda Gives Riders a “Cycle Track”
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has announced that the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering has completed the county’s first protected bike lane — also referred to as a “cycle track.”
The on-road bike lane that is about 1,500 feet long and is located adjacent to the curb on the west side of Woodglen Drive between Edson and Nicholson lanes. It provides an important connection between the Bethesda Trolley Trail to the south and Rockville destinations to the north. Eventually, the lane will link directly to the White Flint Metro Station, which is located one block to the north.
“I am committed to creating walkable and bikeable smart growth communities in our urbanized areas, and cycle tracks are an important element in ensuring safe access for our bicyclists,” said Leggett. “As we further expand our 51-station Bikeshare program and enhance our sustainable, transit-oriented infrastructure with more pedestrian and bike trails, we are boosting the desirability of Montgomery County as an attractive place in which to live, work and visit. The future economic health and competitiveness of Montgomery County is tied to providing more alternative transportation options that help reduce traffic congestion.”
The project was a collaborative effort with the State of Maryland. The Maryland Department of Transportation awarded the County a Bikeways Grant that matched 50 percent of the project’s cost.
“Montgomery County has been a leader in investing in alternative forms of transportation, like bicycling, and the State is pleased to once again partner with the County and move this protected bike lane project forward,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary James T. Smith Jr. “This project is key to our ongoing efforts to make bicycling a safe, healthy and affordable transportation option for more Marylanders. Through Maryland’s Bikeways program, the State has awarded more than $1.5 million to Montgomery County to grow and enhance their bicycle networks.”
The two-way, eight-foot-wide cycle track protects bicyclists from both through traffic and parked vehicle door openings, because it is located between the curb and a two-to-three foot buffer bordered by flexible posts. Next to the buffer are the parking lane and three travel lanes of traffic.
“We are excited Montgomery County is joining an elite class of bike-friendly communities by installing its first on-street protected bike lanes,” said Greg Billing, advocacy coordinator for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. “Numerous studies show protected bike lanes encourage more people to ride bikes, because they make people feel more comfortable and safe biking on the road. Thank you to County Executive Leggett and Department of Transportation staff for making this project a reality. We look forward to growing the network in 2015.”
Several divisions in the Montgomery County Department of Transportation were involved in the project. The Division of Highway Services resurfaced Woodglen Drive and DTE installed new, on-road, wayfinding signs, crosswalks and green pavement markings at driveway entrances. A bike box with bicycle detectors was also installed by the Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations at Nicholson Lane and Woodglen Drive. A bike box is a colored area at a signalized intersection that allows bicyclists to pull in front of traffic stopped at a red traffic signal. The boxes increase safety by reducing car/bike conflicts, increasing cyclist visibility and providing bicyclists with a head start when a traffic signal turns green.
In the next few months, one ramp will be constructed at the northeast corner of Nicholson and Woodglen and another, will be reconstructed at the southwest corner of Edson and Woodglen.
View a video of the restriping process.