The Montgomery County Planning Department hosted the second event in its 2016 Winter Speaker Series with a presentation by Jennifer Toole, president of the Silver Spring-based Toole Design Group. This firm is currently assisting the Montgomery County Planning Department as it updates its Bicycle Master Plan.
View the video presentation featuring Jennifer Toole on February 23.
Toole discussed the need to provide high-quality bikeways, now evident in cities, for suburban areas where the demand for safe bicycle conditions is growing. “Due to higher speeds on suburban roads, there is a greater need for separation between bicyclists and adjacent motor vehicle traffic,” said Toole. “There is also a greater need to address issues at intersections, driveways and property entrances in the suburbs.”
Drawing on her own experience, Toole discussed projects in the Netherlands and other locations to demonstrate the potential of bike travel in the suburbs. “Some designers throw up their hands when it comes to making suburban roads more bike-friendly, but it can be done successfully as shown in other countries,” she notes.
Toole debunked the myth that conditions in the Netherlands had always been primed for good bicycling. She compared cycling in the Greater Washington, DC region to Rotterdam, where bicycling has proven to be compatible with a lower density environment. As noted in her presentation, it took a concerted effort to transform a country with wide roads like the Netherlands into a bicycle-friendly society.