Bikesharing is coming – but where is the infrastructure?

I was unable to attend the Nov. 29 Bike Share planning workshop hosted by MC DOT, but the WABA blog post Bikesharing Growing to Montgomery County gives a good account.

A major concern I had about whether Bike Share can work in Silver Spring was whether bikeshare stations clustered around Silver Spring might be too isolated from the system in D.C. The WABA post reports that planners are addressing this:

…A side note, in planning talks DDOT has agreed to expand bikeshare stations north between the system core and the new clusters in Bethesda, Silver Spring & Takoma Park to help connect the entire system.

The public is invited to submit ideas for locations of future bikeshare stations at the Capital Bikeshare crowdsourcing map.

One important item is still missing from the plan – a serious commitment to beef up the bicycling infrastructure to make the street network more bike friendly. Much can be done with signs and paint. Bike lanes, bike sharrows, and signs marking routes and reminding all to share the road can make a difference. Yet little has been done to mark streets in the Silver Spring CBD that have long been identified in the Master Plans as on-road bike routes. Two examples:
1) Spring Street was recently restriped to narrow the traffic lanes by creating approx. 6′ wide “dead zones” adjacent to the center median in a several block long section centered at Second Avenue. MCDOT could as easily have narrowed the traffic lanes by placing them adjacent to the center median, and placing full width bike lanes on the outside.
2) When Cameron Street was restriped there was room for bike lanes, yet MCDOT instead chose to install a center turn lane that was not needed.

I am excited that MCDOT appears to be serious about bringing bikesharing to Montgomery County. Now if we can only get MCDOT to read the approved Master Plans when it restripes streets, and use stripes and sharrows to show that bikes have their place on the road.


2 Responses to “Bikesharing is coming – but where is the infrastructure?”

  1. Crickey7 says:

    Silver Spring is fairly physically separated from DC core other than along the Georgia Avenue corridor. From the West, the Rock Creek Valley is a barrier (although it flattens out right at Portal Drive on the Eastern side). 16th Street is a bit hair raising to ride on.

    There’s some connection to Takoma Park, but where do you go from there? I think the trail alongside the Purple Line will make a Silver Spring-Takoma Park-Chevy Chase-Bethesda corridor adequate for Bike Share, but really not until then.

  2. Greg Sanders says:

    Glad to hear that it is coming. This news finally inspired me to sign up for an account. I’ll probably use it mostly to get across town in DC, particularly to neighborhoods like Adams Morgan that are off the network. I’m not sure how often I’ll use it in Silver Spring depending on locations.

    There are a few times in the past few years when I would have considered biking from downtown to Silver Spring, although they tend to involve inaugurations or the time when I realized at the last minute that they don’t keep the Metro open late on election nights.