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.



White Flint Bikeways Update

As we mentioned last month, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation offered a great presentation to the White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee on the status of Bikeway infrastructure in White Flint.  We’ve expressed concern in the past about the dirth of this amenity in White Flint but it looks like MCDOT is heeding the call!

We’re very grateful that MCDOT has shared its robust PowerPoint presentation with us so we can, in turn, pass it along to you.   Take a minute to click and scroll through so you can visualize the difference between a bike lane and a cycle track:

bike facilitiesFrom http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-dte/Resources/Files/Aug11WFICMeetingWoodglenCycletrack.pdf

and much, much more – including the proposed plans for Woodglen Drive, Nebel Street and Marinelli Road.  Just click here to see the full presentation.  Thanks to MCDOT for sharing!

The First Great Montgomery County Bike Summit

Montgomery County is home to many bikers, including a rapidly increasing number of individuals who use biking as their means for transportation.  Greater Greater Washington recently highlighted Rockville for prioritizing a strong and connected bicycle infrastructure across the city.  The city of Rockville has 34.3 miles of separated bikeways and 33.5 miles of shared lane designations. It also, with the help of the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee (RBAC), built the Carl Henn Millennium Trail, which is a “multi-use path connects together a number of neighborhoods and parallels several major roads that would scare off all but the most experienced cyclists.”

In addition, Rockville is putting forth a 2014 Bikeway Master Plan that will create 24.5 more miles of dedicated bikeway and 18 more miles of shared lanes over the next 10 years. This is an updated plan from the 2004 Bikeway Master Plan. RBAC and other concerned citizens have allowed bicycle infrastructure to flourish in Rockville, but this bicycle infrastructure is missing in many other parts of Montgomery County.  The county recently launched the Capital Bikeshare program with 50 planned stations throughout, but residents and the county need to figure out how to connect these resources with built infrastructure.

This “Great Montgomery County Bike Summit” will provide an opportunity for residents to express their needs and wants from the county regarding bicycle infrastructure. Through this summit, the hope is to find ways to incorporate next-gen bicycle facilities and to make the Capital Bikeshare successful throughout the county. Organized by Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and Montgomery Bicycle Advocates (MoBike), the summit will take place this Saturday April 5, 2014 at the Jane Lawton Recreation Center in Chevy Chase from 9:15 am to 12 noon. The Jane Lawton Recreation Center is located at 4301 Willow Lane in Chevy Chase.

The schedule of the event is as follows:

9:15am – 10:00am
Family Bike Ride from Silver Spring to Bethesda along the Capital Crescent Trail, starting at Tastee Diner in Silver Spring.

10:00am – 10:10am
Introductory Remarks from Councilmember Hans Riemer

What are the most urgent needs to improve biking generally in Montgomery County?

10:10am – 10:30am
Presentations from Shane Farthing (WABA) and Dave Anspacher (M-NCPPC)

10:30am – 11:00am
Moderated Panel Discussion
Shane Farthing (WABA)
Dave Anspacher (M-NCPPC)
Fred Lees (MCDOT)
Pat Shepherd (MCDOT)
Jack Cochrane (MoBike)

11:00am – 11:10am
Coffee Break

How can we best ensure the success of Bikeshare in Montgomery County?

11:10am – 11:30am
Presentations from Anne Root (MCDOT) and Paul DeMaio (Metrobike LLC)

11:30am – 12:00pm
Moderated Panel Discussion
Shane Farthing (WABA)
Anne Root (MCDOT)
Paul DeMaio (Metrobike LLC)

Closing remarks from Councilmember Roger Berliner



For more information and to RSVP for the event, click here.

What’s Important to our Members?

In our last weekly email, we asked members to share what’s important to them in the redevelopment of White Flint and, therefore, where FoWF should aim its focus.  We were thrilled by the response!  Here are some of the points raised:

  • We should keep bicycle access and safety at front of mind.  All areas should be accessible for cyclists.  And, there should be secure bike parking at all residential units and bike parking readily available at commercial establishments.
  • Baby Boomers want to ensure that they aren’t being forgotten when the county works to draw the young professional demographic.  Prioritizing accessibility and well-integrated residential and commercial areas that balance all users will make this the most friendly place for all.
  • Focusing on and advocating for as much green space as possible remains a priority.  At the moment, White Flint neighborhood park is a real gem but we need to ensure that we build out spaces like Wall Park and the Civic Green, and support developers who are integrating green space into their redevelopment plans.
  • One member suggested making as much of the White Flint district as smoke-free as possible, including sidewalks, parks, parking lots, grassy areas, bus stops, bus shelters, etc.  The many benefits would include putting White Flint on the map as a healthy place to live/visit/work, widespread free publicity, a market niche, reduced litter, better aesthetics, etc.
  • Keeping small and local businesses remain a priority for our community!
  • Shading our sidewalks and installing benches to make them more friendly to those with limited mobility.

Many of these points are already part of the plan for a redeveloped White Flint, but it will take advocacy and attention to ensure that they’re executed timely and to their full potential.  We’ll keep you posted as we learn of ways where your voice will make a difference!

Also, do you get our weekly updates?  We send an email out every Thursday morning that recaps anything you might have missed during the previous week and highlights other important points!  Either sign up on our homepage at www.WhiteFlint.org or, better yet, join!  Just visit www.WhiteFlint.org/membership and have your voice heard!

Safe Streets Act of 2014

On February 7th, Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2014 (S. 2004) to the U.S. Senate, “which would require all new federally-funded transportation projects use a Complete Streets approach to planning, designing and building roads,” says Craig Chester.

The bill will create standards for federally funded streets and roads to ensure stronger road/traffic safety and more accessibility for all types of transportation, whether that be a car, bus, bike, or foot. A similar bill was first introduced to the United States House of Representatives in June 2013. Both of these bills “will ensure consistency in policies and funding needed to support these local efforts to ensure safe streets,” notes Chester. If these bills are passed, we hope that state and regional level governments will adopt more Complete Streets policies.  Already, we can see 610 jurisdictions in 48 states, as well as D.C taking action towards creating Complete Streets.

This concept has found its way here in Montgomery County too. Some of our County Councilmembers are taking action towards incorporating Complete Streets policies in our county with the introduction of the Bill 33-13: Urban Road Code Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements. Our roads, standards, and policies in the county need to encourage complete streets in order for any development project such as the White Flint Sector Plan to be successful in creating walkable and sustainable communities. This updated urban road code under the Bill 33-13 will be one step closer to creating streets and roads we really want and need throughout the county. The bill hopes to strengthen ADA, pedestrian, and bike language surrounding the county streets. As we mentioned last week, this bill might be adjusted by a multi-disciplinary workgroup that has convened to hash out some of its details. We’ll learn more this summer when it returns to the Council for approval.

Both the House and Senate bills are great steps for our nation to take. It is one step closer to  ensuring national infrastructure and support for walkable neighborhoods and communities to develop across the nation.  With these bills, we can see that our nation is moving forward in encouraging healthy and sustainable living in many different aspects our lives, including transportation. We hope that within Montgomery County and specifically, the White Flint district, that we can encourage and promote complete streets through the urban design and standards we will enforce as well.