Are you confused by the bike lane markings?

Bike lanes are full of green lines and green boxes that appear to be in the middle of the intersection. I (FOWF Executive Director Amy Ginsburg) had to look up what they all mean because few of these markings and bicycling infrastructure are intuitive. I was confused as both a cyclist and a driver.

Through its Look Out campaign, MCDOT explains all the bike lane markings with an interactive infographic and videos.

Could we be creating bike lanes faster and cheaper and so we could have more of them in the Pike District?

Perhaps there are ways we could build bike lanes with greater ease and fewer costs which would allow us to have more bike lanes in the White Flint area … and have them faster!

People for Bikes suggests that “instead of trying to plan something for perfection from the beginning, like you’d need to do if you were building a freeway, cities advance along a spectrum of decreasingly flexible and increasingly durable materials over the course of a decade or so, gradually tweaking a street toward greater safety and comfort and fixing small issues along the way.”  It’s called a quick build, as seen below.

Here’s a comparison of the many different options for bike lanes.  (Who knew there were so many types?) Are there ones in the image belowe that would work in the White Flint area?

Want to know more about bike lanes in the Pike District?

Check out this presentation by MCDOT on current and future bike lanes in the Pike District.

MCDOT Presentation to North Bethesda Transportation Management District 1-25-2017_

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.

Would Quick-Build Bike Lanes Work for the Pike District?

Many cities have embraced quickly deployed, temporary, community-driven projects to define bike lanes. According to an article in Wired, the idea is to come in, lay down some paint, and see how cyclists and motorists react. It’s call the “quick-build” method.

How about we grab some paint to outline bike lanes (less than a hundred bucks a bucket), install plastic bollards to protect cyclists (about $150 a pop), and planters (roughly $1,000 each) to separate them from traffic and join the other cities that have embraced the quick-build? People want to bike; they just want to bike safely.  Portland State University found that protected bike lanes increased ridership by 20 to 170 percent.

Learn more about quick-build by reading this informative report prepared by People for Bikes.