To make the White Flint sector more walkable and accessible to all types of individuals – pedestrians, cyclists, young, old – supportive pedestrian and bike infrastructure is necessary. Friends of White Flint and our members value biking and walking as alternative forms of transportation. As we begin to see the White Flint Sector Plan implemented, we want to make sure the values our residents, our community members, and our business owners hold will continue to be part of what is developed. There are many things to consider when adding new developments and infrastructures to urban landscapes, however. We always need to consider the effects they might have on current issues. Right now, one of the major issues the White Flint sector faces is traffic.
Creating new biking infrastructures can be directly related to street design, which is why people often believe it will cause more traffic congestion. Bike lanes, however, are a good example of a biking infrastructure that show how traffic can actually be eased by new infrastructures. In fact, this article from Grist.com shows that adding bicycle lanes can actually reduce traffic delays.
There are many examples of large urban areas- Washington, D.C., NYC, and Portland, where bike lanes have been used and have not caused more congestion. By narrowing street lanes, room for buffer zones and bike lanes emerges, without completely taking away necessary street lanes.
Biking infrastructures like bike lanes, cycle tracks, and wider sidewalks provide many benefits for an urban area. These elements allow cyclists to feel safe and comfortable using bikes as a main source of transportation, not just for commuting but for recreational purposes as well. The lanes create a space for only cyclists to ride on, separating them from car traffic. By providing supportive infrastructure, the idea is that more individuals will feel safe biking as an alternative to cars, thus actually decreasing the car traffic. When safety is perceived, people tend to be more willing to take alternative forms of transportation, possibly lowering the amount of people who travel by car.
Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road are still and will continue to be major roads that carry traffic through Montgomery County. The best solution to create a more walkable urban center, however, is to design the street and sidewalks in a smart and complete way. To carry out our vision of what we want the White Flint sector to become, from a car-centric suburb to complete streets, urban center promoting alternative forms of transportation such as walking and biking, we need our infrastructures to match our vision.
This is why Friends of White Flint and our members will continue to advocate for pedestrian and biking safety and strong infrastructure.