In November, the Montgomery County Council Approved a 25-Year Bike Master Plan hoping for a total of 1,100 miles of bike lanes, shared-use trails, and paths. A quarter of that’s already built, and the plan raises the bar on one of DC’s least bikeable areas, but the plans need funding—a lot of funding.
Here’s how Greater Greater Washington summarizes the quarter-decade MoCo Bike Outline:
“More than a quarter of these bike paths and trails already exist, and the county would build them out further over the next 25 years. One of the goals of the plan is to prove that great biking isn’t just limited to cities and urban areas. The improved bicycle infrastructure should also help the county with its Vision Zero goals.
This plan also places a larger emphasis on biking for transportation—rather than recreation—than previous ones did. About half of the county’s trips are under 3.5 miles, and many of the commute trips are to Metrorail and MARC stations. Planners see this as an opportunity to capture a larger percentage of those trips by bicycle.”
Here’s how Montgomery County Studied and Designed It’s Bike Plan:
“Planners first evaluated the stress level of every road and facility in the county and determined that 14% of potential bicycling trips can be made on a low-stress bicycling network. This plan aims to increase the measure of low-stress connectivity to 55% by 2043.
Utilizing the county’s stress map, they defined an 1,100-mile network of bikeways includes 573 miles of sidepaths, 172 miles of trails, 128 miles of bikeable shoulders, 99 miles of separated bike lanes and 48 miles of neighborhood greenways. This would more than triple the current system. (For some reference, BikeArlington says the county about 50 miles of bike trails, and Prince George’s has 85 miles of multi-use trails.)
It also calls for more bike parking, a standardized design toolkit, more outreach, new ways of measuring bicycle demand, regular reporting and bicycle-supportive programs, and a legal and policy framework.
The plan represents a shift in the kinds of facilities intended for cyclists. Gone are wide outside lanes and “Share the Road” signs. In their place are facilities intended for, or primarily for, cyclists and other types of active transportation. Cyclists will eventually find bicycle parking stations at every Red Line Metro Station and at high-demand MARC, Purple Line, and CCT stations.”
Montgomery County’s Biggest Hurdle to Bike Expansion, Other than Angry Car Commuters, Will be Funding:
“The fiscal impact statement set the total cost of the 25-year plan at $3.1 billion, which doesn’t consider “substantial” land acquisition costs. Many of these facilites are unfunded lines on a map, and that may be how some of them remain.
Developers are expected to pay around $500 million for work over the years. Another $1.8 billion represents dual-use facilites, such as bikeable shoulders which are also highway safety improvements, that would be done in conjunction with other projects.
Finding the money to fund these projects—and making sure that state and federal projects include the faciliites laid out in the plan—will be critical to achieving its goals.
The county hopes to create a transportation network that connects the county with convenient and low-stress bicycling routes, encourages more people to bicycle, provides equal access to low-stress bicycling for all members of the community, and improves safety for cyclists.”