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Bethesda’s Bike Facilities: What’s Here And What’s Missing?

By Aaron Kraut

Thursday - 8/1/2013, 2:15pm  ET

With Capital Bikeshare set to hit Bethesda in September, county officials, bike advocates and residents are all asking whether there are enough bike lanes and other accommodations for a new batch of likely novice cyclists.

In June, county transportation officials and consultant Paul DeMaio laid out planned locations for 15 downtown Bethesda-area Bikeshare stations. The county’s Department of Transportation hopes to have at least some of those stations operational by Sept. 21, the last official day of summer.

Still, there are questions about how the area’s bike-readiness.

Last year, County Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D-At large) asked the State Highway Administration to consider bike lanes and bike markings in any upcoming repaving and road improvement projects.

In October, The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and MoBike put out recommendations for new bike lanes, road diets, sharrows and “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Friendship Heights, where the county’s first Capital Bikeshare stations will go.

In public meetings since, many residents have raised concerns about pedestrian safety on sidewalks where Capital Bikeshare users are avoiding busy roads. Bikers are allowed to use the sidewalk and road.

We took a ride around town to highlight some of the areas that could use improvement and some of the existing bike lanes and facilities that will likely be put to the test when Bikeshare arrives.

The full list of WABA/MoBike recommendations follows the jump.

Bethesda

  • Make Woodmont Avenue a two way street for bicyclists south of Old Georgetown Road by providing a “contraflow” northbound bike lane from Hampden Lane to Old Georgetown (optionally with a northbound car lane) or a cycle track on the east side.  Reconfigure the Woodmont/Elm Street intersection and the bike lanes south of Elm Street.
  • Add bike lanes on Woodmont Avenue from Old Georgetown Road to Battery Lane.  This may require removing on-street parking on one side of the street.
  • Implement a “road diet” on Arlington Road north of Bradley Boulevard, reducing the number of travel lanes from four to three (including a two-way left turn lane) to provide space for bike lanes.
  • Make the short one-way section of Glenbrook Road/Little Falls Parkway (just south of Bradley Blvd.) a two-way street for bikes.
  • Provide sharrows in the right-hand lane on Old Georgetown Road from Wisconsin Avenue to at least Battery Lane.
  • Provide bike lanes and a shared use path on Bradley Boulevard west of Goldsboro Road.  This is currently in facility planning.
  • Provide sharrows on Bradley Boulevard from Goldsboro Road to Wisconsin Ave.
  • Consider other sharrows – Norfolk Avenue, Cordell Avenue, portions of Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street

Friendship Heights

  • Place bike lanes on Friendship Boulevard between North Park Avenue and Western Avenue.
  • Place bike lanes on Western Avenue between Connecticut Avenue and River Road.
  • Place bike lanes on Willard Avenue between Wisconsin Avenue and River Road where they fit.
  • Improve connectivity from Dorset Avenue to Friendship Boulevard/North Park Avenue (upgrade dirt path for example)