There is Still Time to Register for Bike to Work Day or Take a Cycling Class

There is Still Time to Register for Bike to Work Day!
Make sure to register for the North Bethesda Pit Stop at Pike & Rose! We will be in the parking lot of REI. Along with our great host, Pike & Rose,we will welcome new and seasoned cyclists on Friday, May 17, beginning at 6:30 am until 8:30 am. Please join us at this exciting event for light refreshments, great prizes provided by our local businesses, and a chance to win a FREE BIKE! 

The first 20,000 registered cyclists will also receive a free t-shirt. To be guaranteed a t-shirt, you need to register by Wednesday, May 8th, so register now!   Please help us spread the word to others who might be interested in participating in Bike to Work Day. You can even print out a flyer to share with your friends and co-workers.

Take a Cycling Class!
In conjunction with WABA, MCDOT is sponsoring opportunities for people to take bicycle classes and go on community rides.The Adult Learn to Ride Cycle Classes are for adults who want to enjoy biking for recreation, fitness or commuting. The community bike rides are for riders of all experience levels, and you will learn urban riding techniques, practice riding in the city, and meet other bikers.

Adult Learn to Ride Cycle Classes and Confident City Cycling Classes:

Saturday, May 4: Silver Spring/M-NCPPC Parking Lot on Spring Street, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday, June 1: Bethesda/BCC Rescue Squad Parking Lot at 5020 Battery Lane, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you build it, they will bike. And do so safely.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials recently released a report, Equitable Bike Share Means Building Better Places for People to Ride which shows that the number of people biking in the United States is going up yet the risk of death or injury to each individual bike rider is declining. The report attributes the increase in safety to all the bike lanes cities and towns are building. Bottom line, riding a bike is getting safer as cities build better bike lane networks and more people ride when cities build protected bike lanes. The report said that adding protected bike lanes significantly increases bike ridership by anywhere from 21% to 171%.

The report also noted that bike share programs increase the visibility of cyclists, making riding safer for everyone, but mandatory bike helmet laws reduce ridership but don’t actually increase safety. (Note to anyone I know personally — wear the damn helmet anyway.)

Finally, the report said that 60% of the total population are “interested but concerned” about biking. Of those, 80% would be willing to ride on streets with a separated or protected bike lanes.

Homes near walking or bicycle trails enjoy premiums of up to 10%

In an article in Market Watch yesterday, “homes near walkable, and often bikeable, trails enjoy premiums of between 5% to 10%, according to an analysis by Headwaters Economics, a research group focused on community development and land management issues.”

The article added, “What’s happening is, a little bit of the city is following people into the suburbs,” says Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C.–based land and real estate research and education group. “Almost all the successful suburbs are building walkable, mixed-use centers.”

Mel Jones, a research scientist at the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech said in the Market Watch article, “No, millennials aren’t completely abandoning cities. They still flock to them, in fact. But increasingly they are viewing them as a place to work, rather than a place to live. But they’re willing to move farther out (and commute longer distances) as long as their towns are stocked with all the amenities they crave.

“What millennials want are places that have a vibrancy, where you … can shop, go out to bars, walk, and bike,” says Lynn Richards, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a Chicago-based advocacy group for more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

In just the past year, 136 communities from across the country applied to be designated as Bicycle Friendly Communities through the League of American Bicyclists. Sixty-three were suburbs and 17 were rural towns.

Also noted the article: “For a very long time we built up our towns and villages and cities to drive” in, says transportation consultant David Fields with San Francisco–based Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, adding that even drivers like to park their cars and walk around. “People ultimately want choice.” He says demand for biking-accessible communities is currently the highest he has ever seen.

No. 1 thing potential buyers of all ages want in their communities is walkability, concluded Market Watch.

Friends of White Flint in the Post

FOWF in the Post

Bill Turque wrote an insightful piece in yesterday’s Washington Post about the perils and potential around cycling in Montgomery County. (And for the record, we think it’s a good piece not just because Friends of White Flint Amy Ginsburg was quoted in it.)

In the article, Montgomery County officials said, “The goal is to connect a system left fragmented by years of ad hoc planning in which riders can sail along for miles on bike lanes or off-road trails only to hit dead ends — or intersections with wide, high-speed roads that are exceedingly difficult to cross.”

Bicycles are an important part of multi-modal travel, especially in the Pike District, so we thank the Post for bringing attention to this important issue and support the County’s efforts to make our area more bike-friendly.

What happens when you turn parking spaces into bike lanes?

Some retailers fear the loss of street parking, but recent studies show that fear is misplaced.

For example, a study, from UC-Davis scholars Natalie Popovich and Susan Handy, analyzed nearly 1,900 shopping trips to downtown Davis made after the opening of a new Target store. Cyclists not only took slightly more trips than drivers did, but spent more per trip—leading to a monthly total spending of roughly $250 for cyclists to $180 for drivers. The results were especially impressive considering they only reflect spending on the type of goods available at Target, not food or services. Even without accounting for spending on food, drink, and services, study results indicate that the customers who travel by bike to shop downtown spend as much money as their car-driving counterparts or more each month.

In another study, a University of Washington researcher collected retail sales data before and after a bike lane absorbed 12 street-parking spaces on 65th Street in Seattle. The sales index on 65th Street skyrocketed after the lane was put in place, especially compared with the index in the rest of the neighborhood. f7061d427







We would agree that creating safe bike lanes and paths throughout the White Flint area will increase the economic, physical, and mental health of Montgomery County.

Protected bike lanes — a winning proposition

Woodglen bike lane
The advantages of protected bike lanes are many. Rather than bicyclists and drivers maneuvering and fighting for space, each has its own safe space for their preferred mode of travel, according to a recent study.
  • Across six cities, the study found a rise of ridership between 21% and 171% after the lanes were installed.
  • Ten percent of cyclists said they would have used another form of transportation before the lanes were built.
  • Some 43% of residents said the lanes improve the desirability of their neighborhood, compared to 14% who said it detracted from desirability.
  • Nineteen percent of cyclists and 20% of residents were more likely to visits stores with the new bike lanes installed.
  • More than half of residents said traffic had become more predictable as a result of the bike lanes.
The Pike District already has a protected bike lane on Woodglen Drive by North Bethesda Market. How many more people would ride their bikes rather than drive their cars if they had safe lanes in which to pedal? Imagine the reduced traffic, healthier lifestyles, and increased fun if protected bike lanes were the norm.

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Thanks for Walking White Flint

Last Saturday morning was a gorgeous one for exploring White Flint by foot.  Thanks to the forty, or so, Friends who joined our Community Walking Tour to better understand pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and how smart infrastructure plays a big role in getting people out of their cars.  

Particular thanks goes to former Governor Parris Glendening, now a leader with Smart Growth America, White Flint champion Councilmember Roger Berliner and Ramona Bell-Pearson from County Executive Leggett’s office. We all pitched in for a robust conversation as we walked around the block – a single block which creates about a mile-long walk.

We were also joined by Dan Reed, of, who has graciously shared the photos he took during our walk.  See all of his photos on his Flickr page by clicking here.

One pedestrian safety hazard that exists in two spots on Old Georgetown Road are “slip lanes.” They’re the uncontrolled, at-speed right hand turns that give drivers little notice of pedestrians in their way.  At both the intersection with Rockville Pike and with Executive Boulevard (pictured) pedestrians cross at their own risk because no signal light controls that lane of traffic.  Although there’s a crosswalk, there is little other notice for drivers (who need not slow to make the turn) that pedestrians might be in their way.

At the new intersection of Grand Park Avenue and Old Georgetown Road, we crowded around the pole in the middle of the sidewalk and to talk about how the shapes and radii of corners can impact pedestrians.  The wider and more curved a corner is, the less caution a driver will take when turning.  This means they could be less aware of pedestrians.

There are several hardy souls in this photograph! First, the pedestrians walking along Rockville Pike have nothing separating them from traffic speeding by at 40 miles an hour.  The same road, when it reaches downtown Bethesda, will have a speed limit of 25mph. Even though they’re probably safe up on the sidewalk, it’s the perception of safety and the unpleasantness of the walk that keeps people from doing it. Cars came past me fast enough that my sweater blew around. Also – hooray for the bicyclist on Rockville Pike!

Even in this photograph, one can sense how a little space between the pedestrians and the traffic can create a more pleasant pedestrian experience. Here, we’re walking south on the Pike and approaching the metro tunnel entrance at Marinelli.

Our last stop allowed for the most pleasant of the pedestrian experiences – a walk down Marinelli Drive buffered by both grass and a new bike lane. I think all of the participants could really feel the difference that those small additions made in walking down the street.

A last, but important, thanks to Pike Central Farmers Market for allowing us to gather on their site! Mitch Berliner and Debra Moser have really built a community staple in their first few years in White Flint and we’re looking forward to many more to come. In the meantime, the Market will be open every Saturday until the week before Thanksgiving so get there soon!

Easy Ways to Make Places More Pedestrian Friendly

Making places more pedestrian friendly is a shift we’re seeing globally.  Earlier this week, published a piece called “7 Simple Ways to Make Cities More Friendly to Pedestrians.”  Some are concepts we’re already talking about for White Flint, like Complete Streets , orienting buildings to the street and moving parking behind/below buildings.  Check out the full article by clicking here — would these make you more willing to leave your car and take a stroll?

Thinking a bicycle might be more your speed?  Check out this video from Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, where 33% of ALL TRIPS are made by bicycle.  See eight minutes of an ordinary morning commute condensed into two:

A TedTalk on Shifting Gears towards Bicycle- Focused Street Design

Mikael Colville-Andersen, an urban designer in Copenhagen, recently gave a Tedx Talk focused on bicycle culture in cities. For Colville-Andersen, city planners and designers need to now focus on creating complete street designs that are supportive to other means of transportation, especially bicycles. In the talk, Colville-Andersen provides a short description of how streets were designed originally for the benefit of cars and motor vehicles.  Since people are using other means of transportation more and more, our streets need to fit people’s modern lifestyles.

The best way to design streets for bicycles, Colville-Andersen says, is to focus on the human scale- people’s behaviors and patterns of how they move around cities. He brings up the idea of “desired lines, ” the actual areas, spaces, and streets that people travel most on. These lines can help define where elements such as bike lanes or cycle tracks should be placed. It is a really fascinating and perfect way to figure out how to design areas for bicyclists. We need to remind our communities why it is so important to incorporate these infrastructures into our cities and urban areas as we continue to advocate for biking infrastructure in the White Flint sector.



Bike Commuting Rate in DC Doubled in Last 4 Years

The rate of bike commuting in Washington D.C. and NYC has doubled in the last four years. With new biking infrastructure such as Capital Bikeshare, designated/protected bike lanes, buffer zones, and cycle tracks, the occurance of commuting cyclists has increased from 2.2 percent in 2009 to 4.5 percent in 2013 in Washington, D.C. At this rate, Washington, D.C. becomes second to Portland, Oregon as a “bike commuting hub” amongst U.S. cities.

As our neighboring city continues to increase its biking infrastructure, we hope here in the White Flint sector that this infrastructure will flourish as well. It is extremely important that the infrastructure in an area addresses the demands and needs of its residents, in this case, cyclists. As more individuals in the White Flint sector continue to use alternate forms of transportation, we must make sure our infrastructure can support their choices. This is why we need to continue to advocate for pedestrian and bicyclist safety and strong infrastructure. Check out some of Friends of White Flint’s points of focus on this topic that we hope to bring to the attention of our county stakeholders.