The D.C. bike station at Union Station is opening today. I’ll say more on that this p.m., after the opening ceremony. The bike station opening is already prompting Washcycle to ask what happened to the bike station in Silver Spring.
A bike station was initially proposed to be an integral part of the new Silver Spring Transit Center that is now under construction. But Montgomery County DOT withdrew its early support and the new transit center design has no bike station. The new transit center design, as I last saw presented in 2007, does not increase bike racks and bike lockers over the number that were available in the old station. The Silver Spring station was the most heavily used transit station in the State of Maryland before the new expansion began. Use is expected to nearly double overall by 2020. Three new regional trails are being built to meet in the transit center. More bike parking is already badly needed here.
The vision for a Silver Spring bike station is still alive, in spite of Mont. Co. DOT’s unfortunate decision to withdraw its support for a location inside the new transit center. The south east corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue was used as a jughandle for buses to turn into the old transit center, and is still being used as a bus stop during construction of the new transit center. The jughandle will be closed when the new transit center opens. In July, 2007 the Mont. Co. Planning Board agreed to trade a small park at the south end of the old transit center for the jughandle site. This agreement gives the Mont. Co. Department of Parks control of the jughandle area for a new park, dubbed “Jughandle Park”. M-NCPPC planning staff have recommended that an area at the rear of this proposed new park (at the side nearest the Discovery Building) be reserved for a future 1500 sq. ft. bike station.
We now have a great location on publicly owned land that has been recommended by the Planning Board for a bike station. But no funding has been committed for construction. The bike station design and construction must be included in the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Budget as a new Department of Parks project. The bike station will not happen unless the Department of Parks can be convinced that the bike station is needed and is appropriate as part of a new “Jughandle” urban park.