Archive for the ‘Cedar Street’ Category

A Met Branch counter-flow bike lane?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Rails-to-Trails is leading “Don’t Sweat It!” commute convoys on the Metropolitan Branch Trail on Monday mornings through October, see their information flier for a route map and ride registration. I rode with them on their first commute. It was an easy ride, and a good way to learn the latest plans for the Met Branch.

Until this ride I had never quite figured out what the plans were for the interim on-road route north of Fort Totten Drive. The maps always showed Gallatin St. NW as the route between Fort Totten Drive and 3rd Street NW.

Partial Google map of Met Branch interim on-road route

But Gallatin St. is one-way westbound between New Hampshire Avenue and Fort Totten Drive. I had tried alternative streets nearby for an eastbound route, but all had problems. Rails-to-Trails showed the way on the Monday “Don’t Sweat It!” commute, and it was on Gallatin St. after all.

View Larger Map

Google Maps street view at Gallatin Street and New Hampshire Ave.

The one-way section of Gallatin Street now has “Except Bicycles” signs posted beneath the “Do Not Enter” signs! So two-way cycling is legal there now, although perhaps not safe. We didn’t have any difficulty riding against the flow of traffic there on a Monday morning, but we were more visible riding in a group than an individual cyclist would be. More signing and marking is needed because there was nothing to alert westbound motorists that cyclists will be riding against the flow of traffic on this street.

The counter-flow bike lane on Cedar Street in Silver Spring

I’m still not a big fan of counter-flow bike lanes. But there are situations like at Gallatin Street where we only need a short counter-flow bike lane to close a difficult gap in a bike route. It appears to be working at Cedar Street. DDOT needs to install the bike lane markings and signs on Gallatin St. ASAP, because motorists need clear clues about how to share the street space so that cyclists can safely ride against traffic.

Cedar Street counter-flow bike lane

Friday, July 31st, 2009

The bike lane on Cedar Street between Wayne Avenue and Bonifant Street has been installed.

It’s probably not the best design possible. (I still feel it would be better on the east side of the street, to not be in the door zone of the parked cars.) But it is a vast improvement over the prior condition, having no counter-flow bike lane, which gave this Street the “honor” of winning the “Stupidest bike lane in America” award.

south on Cedar Street from Wayne Avenue

Entering Cedar Street at Wayne Avenue.

looking south on Cedar Street

Looking south down Cedar Street.

We can probably get away with being in the door zone on this block, because this is a quiet residential parking area where parking activity is minimal. If this were an active commercial zone with constant parking turnover this would be a greater problem.

looking north on Cedar StreetOverall, cyclists should be much safer riding south on this street in the new counter-flow bike lane. The lane lets both cyclists and drivers know what they are expected to do to share the road. Except – cyclists going north on this bike route may not get the message from the one-way directional arrow in the bike lane that this bike lane is only for southbound cyclists. Cyclists riding south should keep an eye out for northbound cyclists in their lane.

Cedar Street no longer #1?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Feb. 4, 2009 Update:

The Montgomery Gazette reports that the majority of residents on Cedar Street are opposed to moving the parking lane. That means the bike lane will be installed in the door zone of the parked cars, as shown in the illustration below. Construction should begin this spring and will last about a month.

The Gazette article summarizes the state of bike trails in Silver Spring well:

In 2002, DOT implemented a bicycle lane on Cedar, satisfying recommendations from the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan. But after residents complained that a curb installed next to the lane hindered trash pickup and snow removal, the curb was eliminated.

Since then, the trail has become nonexistent, an example of a lack of continuous bike trails in Silver Spring, said Darian Unger, chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board.

Other problems include the Green Trail along Wayne Avenue, which does not link to the Sligo Creek Trail, and continued delays to a bike trail expected to run parallel with the CSX tracks in Silver Spring, Unger said.

“This bike trail and several other bike trails haven’t been happening in Silver Spring for awhile,” he said.

Oct. 19, 2008:

Cedar Street was honored recently as the “stupidest bike lane in America”, see We’re #1. But Montgomery County DOT is making plans to take that status away. DOT is circulating a Newsletter asking for input on two options for a counterflow bike lane on Cedar Street.

The bike lane would be marked by a double yellow line. This, with strong signs alerting motorists to the presence of counterflow cyclists, can make riding against traffic on this one way street reasonably safe. We can all “just get along”, if we all know what is expected.

DOT recommends an Option 1 that avoids the problem of getting “doored” by moving the parking lane to the opposite side of the street from the counterflow bike lane. The Option 2 leaves the parking lane where it is, with the bike lane placed squarely in the door zone.

Source: DOT October 2008 Newsletter

This decision of Option 1 vs. Option 2 should be a no brainer. But the parking lane on Cedar Street is under residential parking permit zone regulations. That means that the lane cannot be moved without the agreement of over 2/3 of the residents on that street, plus the approval of the local civic association. There are 13 homes on that street, it will only take 4 residents to say “no” to block the Option 1 that would move the parking to the other side of the street. So – that makes very strong odds we will get Option 2 since it does not require approval of the residents.

Am I the only one who thinks the rules give the residents way too much power over the design of the public street?

We’re #1! We’re #1!

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Eric Gilliland, of WABA, has sent an email alert:

“The winner for the stupidest bike lane in America goes to Silver Spring MD! We’re # 1! We’re #1!”

I know I should not say “I told you so!” But I saw the potential for this bike lane to be recognized as world class when it was built, and featured The Cedar Street Wrong Way Bikeway in my Silver Spring Trails website until last year. It is good to see this bike lane finally get the recognition it deserves.

This may appear to be off topic for this Finish the Trail blog. But the same people who designed this Cedar Street bike lane, Montgomery County DPWT, will be responsible for the design to finish the CCT into Silver Spring. Keep that in mind when they assure us “trust us – we know what we are doing!”