Last month, Montgomery County was proud to welcome Capital Bikeshare across the District border and into our communities. Encouraging bicycling is new for our area, which is not known for having streets friendly to multiple modes of transportation. With this important first step, County residents are offered a different choice for getting around.
Although no Bikeshare station is presently located in White Flint, there is a plan to expand here as redevelopment progresses. Several new development plans, including Pike and Rose, are poised to incorporate them into their properties. Ensuring that, as our new roads are built out, we emphasize the needs of all travelers (and not just drivers) is going to be of key importance as we work with the state and county transportation engineers. Our work is going to be cut out for us.
But, it’s for a good reason. Last week, the League of American Bicyclists released their rankings of “Bicycle Friendly Communities.” The full list includes 291 towns and cities in 48 states and ranks them in a four-tier system, from Platinum to Bronze. Interestingly, our area is already represented. Washington, DC, was awarded Silver and Bethesda and Rockville were each awarded Bronze. There’s room for improvement – read more about the rankings here.
The stakes are high. As Bill Nesper, Vice-President for Programs at the League of American Bicyclists told the Atlantic Cities, “what’s happening is that bicycling is an indicator of a high quality of life. It helps the community compete.” The article continues to say that “suburban leaders are seeking out a “bicycle friendly” designation because they think it makes their communities more attractive to new businesses and residents. He cites Greenville, South Carolina, as another unexpected place that earned a bronze designation this year. Amenities like good bike infrastructure can help set a suburb or small city apart from its sprawling counterparts.” Read the full Atlantic Cities piece here.