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Sep 30 16

Planning Board Will Review Draft of New Bicycle Parking Guidelines at its Meeting on October 6

by Bridget Schwiesow

Best practices for securing and storing bicycles build on new County Zoning Code requirements

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review newly proposed Bicycle Parking Guidelines at its meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

These guidelines are intended as a resource to help developers, planners, architects and property owners provide high-quality bicycle parking in Montgomery County. The guidelines summarize the bicycle parking requirements in Chapter 59 of the County Code and identify best practices for short- and long-term parking, bike rack design and installation, storage, security and wayfinding.

For more details, consult the Draft Bicycle Parking Guidelines.

In the past, bicycle parking requirements were calculated as a percentage of automobile parking with a maximum of 1 bicycle parking space per 20 vehicle spaces. The new Zoning Code that went into effect on October 30, 2014 calculates bicycle parking requirements based on land use square footage. The full text of the Zoning Code is available online at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcg/countycode.html.

Staff plans to update the Bicycle Parking Guidelines approximately every two years to reflect the newest practices.

About The Montgomery County Planning Department
The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The Planning Department creates great communities by developing master plansreviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The Department comprises 147 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the general public. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org.

Accessibility 
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission encourages the involvement and participation of all individuals in the community, including those with disabilities, in the planning and review processes.  In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities.  M-NCPPC works to make its facilities and materials accessible and to hold public meetings in locations that are, likewise, accessible. M-NCPPC will generally provide, upon request, appropriate aids and services and make reasonable modifications to policies and programs for qualified persons with disabilities (e.g., large print materials, listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.). For assistance with such requests, please contact the M-NCPPC Montgomery County Commissioners’ Office, at least a week in advance, at (301) 495-4605 or at mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.  Maryland residents can also use the free Maryland Relay Service for assistance with calls to or from hearing or speech-impaired persons; for information, go to www.mdrelay.org/ or call (866) 269-9006.

Aug 31 16

Planning Department Invites Public to Enter Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest between September 12 and October 7

by Christopher Peifer

photo_contest_form_banner
Winners will receive gift cards and their photos will become part of the Bicycle Master Plan or other Planning Department documents

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, invites the public to enter its Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest, to be held from September 12 to October 7. The winning images will become part of the master plan document and other publications produced by the Planning Department.

The contest provides the opportunity to showcase cyclists in urban, suburban and rural settings in Montgomery County. Action shots, staged shots and photos showing the joy of being on two wheels can be submitted in the following categories:

Categories of photos

  1. Best family
  2. Best commuter
  3. Best recreational
  4. Best kid shot
  5. Other (errands)

Participation is free and open to the public. Each person can enter up to five (5) photos, which must be submitted electronically. The contest will begin on Monday, September 12, 2016 and the submission period will end on Friday, October 7 at 4 p.m. For more details, consult the online contest page.

Semifinalists will be selected by a jury of professional planners and photographers and the winner will be selected by the public in an online poll. The photos with the most votes in each category will receive $100 in gift cards and will be promoted on social media. All photos will be eligible to be included in the Bicycle Master Plan.

Sign up for the Bicycle Master Plan e-letter

Follow the team on Twitter: @MCBikePlan

What to enter

High quality digital images capturing the best of cycling in Montgomery County (see categories listed above) can focus on people running errands, commuting, cycling for exercise and fun, family cycling and group rides, among others. All photos must be original, not copies of existing images.

For some examples, check out these photos that have been a part of previous documents for the Bicycle Master Plan. See the Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report.

If you choose to include people other than yourself in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted, and must be able to provide copies of those releases to M-NCPPC upon request. Entrants must not submit images that infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.

Technical rules

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are acceptable. Images that do not meet these requirements may or may not be judged at the judging panel’s sole discretion.

Photo captions must accompany all submissions, and should include:

  • The subject of the image.
  • The location in which the image was taken.
  • A description of the trip, circumstances, etc., that may be helpful for judges.
  • Your name as you would like it to appear in the plan or document if the photo is chosen.

Please clearly label all photos to assist judges in determining eligibility.

All photographs will be credited with the caption “Photo by Person’s Name.” M-NCPPC has final approval of any language that appears on its website with any of the photos and will not promote or endorse third-party products or services.

The Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest is open to ANYONE at least 18 years of age. The contest is open to all participants as long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation. M-NCPPC employees, board members and photographers currently paid by M-NCPPC and the immediate families of such individuals, regardless of residence or citizenship, are NOT eligible.

Your submission of any photographs to the Montgomery County Planning Department for the Bicycle Master Plan Photo Contest is subject to the Terms and Conditions listed on the online contest page.

Aug 31 16

Planning Department Wins 2016 American Planning Association Award for Bicycle Stress Map

by Christopher Peifer

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National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association recognizes digital Bicycle Stress Map as a valuable tool

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is this year’s recipient of a 2016 Award for an Outstanding Tool from the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The chapter award recognizes the value of the Department’s Bicycle Stress Map in helping to develop the data-driven Bicycle Master Plan for Montgomery County. The purpose of the digital map is to understand impediments to bicycling and to identify and prioritize the changes that are needed to create a low-stress bicycling environment for people who say they would be interested in bicycling, but do not currently ride because they have safety concerns.

Planning Department staff evaluated more than 3,500 miles of roads and trails in the County to determine the level of stress on each road segment and intersection and assign a value to it, from high stress to low stress.

“This award recognizes the hard work of the Bicycle Master Plan team,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “The Bicycle Stress Map is making bicycle planning accessible to the community in a whole new way.”

The planning team will receive the award at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC.

“Montgomery County is working to elevate bicycle planning to the level of analysis that is used for traffic and transit planning by gaining a deeper understanding of what connectivity means for people who bicycle,” says Project Manager David Anspacher. “I am excited that the Bicycle Master Plan team was recognized for this cutting-edge tool.”

View the Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Stress Map.

Background on the Bicycle Stress Map

What is traffic stress?

For most people the decision to bicycle includes consideration of whether road conditions, such as traffic volume and traffic speed, exceed their threshold for stress. Since most adults are uncomfortable bicycling on roads with four or more lanes of traffic or a posted speed limit of 30 mph or higher, the opportunities to get from Point A to Point B in Montgomery County are limited unless a separated bikeway such as a path, trail or separated bike lane can be provided.

What does the bike stress map do?

This publicly accessible tool displays the data in a way that can inform the public about bicycling in the County and help decision makers prioritize bicycling improvements.

  • Users can toggle between stress levels to reveal the bicycling network available to people, depending on the different levels of traffic stress they tolerate.
  • Videos capture the look and feel of different stress levels.
  • Connectivity analyses show how well each rail station, public school, library, recreation center and regional park is connected to the surrounding neighborhood.
  • A customized bike shed analysis can be done to reveal the areas that can be reached by bicycle without exceeding one’s comfort level.

How has the Bicycle Stress Map helped planning efforts?

Preliminary analysis from the Bicycle Stress Map has revealed the following:

  • While about 70 percent of County road miles are suitable for most adult bike riders, only a fraction of actual trips can be completed on a low-stress network, due to the inability to reach destinations with minimal detours.
  • Only 18 percent of people living within a two-mile distance of a Metrorail station can reach that station on a low-stress bicycling network.
  • Connectivity is poor around schools. Elementary, middle, and high schools are connected to only 20 percent, 10 percent and 5 percent of the residences within their service area, respectively, by a child-appropriate bicycle network.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: David Anspacher, Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Connect With Us
Follow: @MCBikePlan
Sign up: for the Bicycle Master Plan eletter

Jul 22 16

Planning Board Will Review Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report at July 28 Meeting

by Christopher Peifer

framework cover

Public invited to testify about cycling plan or submit written comments

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review the Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report at its meeting on Thursday, July 28, 2016.

To review the report, visit the Bicycle Master Plan’s webpage.

The Montgomery County Planning Department is seeking comments on the Draft Framework Report and invites the community to sign up online to testify in person or submit written testimony to mcp-chair@mncppc-mc.org.

These ideas will help shape the Working Draft of the Bicycle Master Plan, which will be presented to the Planning Board in spring 2017.

Background on Draft Bicycle Master Plan Framework Report

This framework report outlines the proposed foundation and concepts for the Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan. It sets forth the goals and objectives of the Master Plan, and recommends the creation of a bicycle infrastructure network supported by policies and programs that encourage bicycling.

As stated in the report, the goals of the Master Plan are to increase the number of people who bicycle in the County; create a highly connected, low-stress bicycling network; provide equal access to low-stress bicycling for all community members; and improve safety for bicyclists.

The report proposes a new classification for bikeways that are separated from traffic. The five facility classifications are trails, separate bikeways, striped bikeways, shoulders and shared roads.

To demonstrate that each objective of the Master Plan is being reached, a detailed monitoring program is proposed to make the implementation process both clear and responsive to the needs of the community. For example, the report includes statistics on the number of residential units, schools and public facilities that can be accessed via low-stress bicycling networks.

For more details, consult the Draft Framework Report.

 

Jun 22 16

Planning Department Launches Campaign to Identify All Bike Racks in County

by Bridget Schwiesow

061616_Bike_Rack_Locations

Citizen-led survey will help planners to recommend more locations for racks as part of Bicycle Master Plan

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching a survey of all bicycle racks in the County as part of the ongoing Bicycle Master Plan. Planners are asking cyclists and residents to identify racks at schools, retail centers, offices, transportation hubs and other locations.

Citizens can sign up online to track bike racks in one or more areas, using an app created by BikeArlington. This data will help the County to recommend more locations for bicycle racks in Montgomery County.

Find out more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

Jun 1 16

Update on County’s Bicycle Master Plan Will Be Part of Third Great MoCo Bike Summit on June 18

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bicycle Master Plan

Planners will explain the latest strategies for improving the County’s bicycling network at event

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will participate in the Third Great MoCo Bike Summit on Saturday, June 18, to be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Council Office Building (Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD). The event starts with a family-friendly group bike ride at 9 a.m., beginning at the intersection of the Bethesda Trolley Trail and Tuckerman Lane, and will proceed through Rockville to the Council Office Building.

The summit will focus on ways of incorporating next-generation bicycle facilities into the County’s transportation network. It is being organized by County Councilmember Hans Riemer with the participation of the Planning Department, County Department of Transportation and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

Beginning at 11 a.m., County planner David Anspacher will present an overview of the new Bicycle Master Plan and its focus on developing a high-quality network of cycling routes throughout the County. The Plan is considering the newest types of bikeways, such as separated and buffered bike lanes, and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.

The network is being developed using an evaluation of the varying levels of stress imposed by traffic on cyclists along each roadway in the County. This information is being gathered through a digital, interactive bike stress map.

Find out more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

Apr 5 16

Taking Stress Management to the Next Level: Montgomery County Planning Department Releases an Online Roadmap for Bicycle Stress

by Bridget Schwiesow

stress map

Planners evaluated 3,500 miles of roads and trails based on their comfort level for bicyclists

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has created a digital map showing the amount of stress that people experience when bicycling in Montgomery County.

View the Montgomery County Planning Department Bicycle Stress Map.

The purpose of the map is to understand impediments to bicycling and to identify and prioritize the changes that are needed to create a low-stress bicycling environment for the 50 percent of people who say they would be interested in bicycling, but do not currently bicycle because they are concerned for their safety.

Planning Department staff evaluated over 3,500 miles of roads and trails in the County to determine the level of stress on each road segment and intersection.

“Montgomery County is working to elevate bicycle planning to the level of analysis that is used for traffic and transit planning by gaining a deeper understanding of what connectivity means for people who bicycle,” says Project Manager David Anspacher.

What is traffic stress?

For most people the decision to bicycle includes consideration of whether road conditions, such as traffic volume and traffic speed, exceed their threshold for stress. Since most adults are uncomfortable bicycling on roads with four or more lanes or a posted speed limit of 30 mph or higher, the opportunities to get from Point A to Point B in Montgomery County are limited unless there is a separated bikeway such as a path, trail, or separated bike lane.

Key Findings

Preliminary analysis has found that:

  • While about 78 percent of road miles are suitable for most adults, only a fraction of actual trips can be completed on a low-stress network, due to the inability to reach destinations with minimal detours.
  • Only 16 percent of people living within a two-mile distance of a Metrorail station can reach that station on a low-stress bicycling network.
  • Connectivity is poor around schools. Elementary, middle, and high schools are connected to only 28 percent, 15 percent and 7 percent of residences, respectively, by a child-appropriate bicycle network.

Bicycle Master Plan Background

The Bicycle Master Plan seeks to develop a low-stress bicycling network that encourages more people to ride a bike in Montgomery County. It will evaluate an array of bikeway types, including separated, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as how to provide secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: David Anspacher, Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Connect With Us
Follow: @MCBikePlan
Sign up: for the Bicycle Master Plan eletter
Attend: monthly Advisory Committee Meetings

Feb 4 16

Planning Board Supports Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal and Approves Design Guidelines for Life Sciences Center Loop Trail 

by Bridget Schwiesow

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Separated bike lanes and walking and cycling trail will provide transportation alternatives within research park

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is announcing the Planning Board’s support of a substantially enhanced bicycle network and trail recommendations for the Life Sciences Center research district of the Great Seneca Science Corridor.

The Board expressed strong support for the Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal and approved an amendment to the 2010 Urban Design Guidelines for the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan. The amendment includes detailed design recommendations for the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail, a 2.5-mile walking and cycling path through the research park.

The Draft Life Sciences Center Bicycle Network Proposal will create a network of separated bike lanes and provide long-term bicycle parking stations in the Life Sciences Center. Separated bike lanes (or cycle tracks) create a low-stress environment for cyclists that can make bicycling a mainstream transportation option because they provide physical separation from both traffic and pedestrians.

A complementary project, called the Life Sciences Center Loop Trail, will provide an off-road shared use path for walking and bicycling to connect destinations within the Life Sciences Center area. At the Planning Board meeting on January 28, the Board approved the LSC Loop Trail Design Guidelines as an amendment to the 2010 Urban Design Guidelines for the Great Seneca Science Corridor.

These guidelines will assist developers who are required to implement the trail along the frontage of proposed buildings. They also will help in developing a Facility Plan for the trail, including engineering plans and cost estimates for construction, as recommended in the County Executive’s draft Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for FY17. This plan will allow funding for the LSC Loop Trail to be included in the six-year County Capital Improvements Program as required for the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan to advance to the next stage.

This Planning Board presentation follows a community meeting held on December 15, 2015 to discuss new transportation and recreational networks for people who walk and bike in the Life Sciences Center. View the video recap from the December 15 community meeting.

Bicycle Master Plan Background

The Life Sciences Center cycling lanes and trail are part of the Bicycle Master Plan to develop a low-stress bicycling network that encourages more people to ride a bike in Montgomery County. The Plan will evaluate an array of bikeway types, including separated, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as how to provide secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations. The network will be developed using an evaluation of the varying levels of stress imposed by traffic on cyclists along each roadway in the County.

Community meetings held in five locations throughout the County during September and October 2015 allowed participants to record comments on how the bicycle connections in the County could be improved. Those comments were recorded on a digital feedback map and will be taken into account as work continues on the new Bicycle Master Plan. View the feedback map.

Questions or Comments?

Contact: David Anspacher, Planner and Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Contact: Steve Findley, Planner and LSCP Loop Project Manager
Email: Steve.Findley@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.4727

Dec 3 15

Planning Board Supports White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network and Department Reopens Cycling Concerns Feedback Map for Public Comments

by Bridget Schwiesow

Separated Bike Lanes Report

Recent efforts are part of the ongoing Bicycle Master Plan to make cycling safer and provide more connections

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented the plans for the White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network to the County Planning Board on Thursday, December 3, 2015.

This proposed network will upgrade existing bike lanes and add safer routes for bicycling along busy streets such as Rockville Pike, Old Georgetown Road and Nicholson Lane. Separated bike lanes (or cycle tracks) create a low-stress environment for cyclists that can make bicycling a mainstream transportation option because they provide physical separation from both traffic and pedestrians.

Due to the pace of development in White Flint, the Planning Department is advancing work in this area of the County so that meaningful opportunities to construct segments of an enhanced bicycling network can be pursued before the actual Bicycle Master Plan is approved in 2017. The Planning Board expressed its support of the concept of a separate bike lane network for White Flint during its December 3 meeting.

Review the White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network.

Planning Department Reopens the Cycling Concerns Feedback Map

In October 2015, the Planning Department launched the Cycling Concerns Feedback Map to provide the community an ongoing opportunity to engage with the Bicycle Master Plan team on bicycle issues and concerns in Montgomery County. More than 1,340 suggestions were received and the Department closed the comment period to the public on October 31. An initial summary of the comments is provided here.

In December 2015, the Planning Department reactivated the digital map in order to collect additional comments about specific roads and cycling conditions in the County. The map enables the public to pinpoint a location and record concerns over difficult crossings, excessive speed, insufficient bike parking, poor pavement and connections, and more. These comments will be used to guide the planners during their work on the Bicycle Master Plan.

The map will now remain open until May 1, 2015. The Cycling Concerns map can be accessed through http://mcatlas.org/cyclingconcerns/. Feedback from the community will help planners as they study ways to improve connectivity and reduce stress while riding a bicycle.

Questions or Comments?
Contact: David Anspacher, Project Manager
Email: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
Telephone: 301.495.2191

Oct 12 15

Community Invited to Give Comments on Draft Proposal of Separated Bike Lane Network for White Flint and Apply For Bicycle Advisory Group

by Bridget Schwiesow

Separated Bike Lanes Report

Planners are seeking comments on the proposed network in the White Flint Sector Plan area as well as seeking applications for the Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Group

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is seeking comments on the draft proposal of the Separated Bike Lane Network for White Flint as part of the Bicycle Master Plan.

Review the draft of the White Flint Separated Bike Plan Network document.

The community is asked to give feedback on the recommendations for this focused area of the Bicycle Master Plan during the month of October. Send comments to Bicycle Master Plan Project Manager, David Anspacher: David.Anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org

The full plan will be approved at the end of 2017 but planners are moving forward with recommendations in the White Flint Sector Plan area to take advantage of opportunities to develop a high-quality bicycling network as part of the current development of new mixed-use projects, a grid road network and the County’s Rapid Transit System. Planners are tentatively scheduled to ask the Planning Board to review the draft plan for White Flint in early December.

The proposed White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network was presented to the community on October 6 at a meeting at Walter Johnson High School. This event wrapped up the five kickoff meetings for the Bicycle Master Plan held throughout the County during the months of September and October. The five events drew approximately 200 attendees who were interested in learning more about the Bicycle Master Plan.

Review the presentation from the October 6 Bicycle Master Plan meeting.

View a short video recap of the October 6 meeting featuring Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and Councilmember Roger Berliner.

Separated bike lanes (or cycle tracks) create a low-stress environment for cyclists that can make bicycling a mainstream option because they provide physical separation from both traffic and pedestrians.

Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Group
The Bicycle Master Plan team is seeking people interested in serving on the Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Group.

This group will consist of approximately 20 members and will meet approximately once a month over the next year and a half to provide advice to Planning Department staff as they develop a working draft of the master plan. Between 10 and 15 members will be chosen to represent a variety of interest groups.

In addition, eight members will be selected through an application process that is intended to represent a diverse perspective in the bicycling community, with members representing different areas of Montgomery County and all levels of cycling ability. All meetings will take place on weekday evenings at the Planning Department’s headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Interested members of the community should complete this application by Friday, October 30, 2015.

For more information contact David Anspacher at david.anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org or (301) 495-2191.

Background:
On July 1, 2015, the Planning Department began working on the Bicycle Master Plan. The plan will focus on developing a high-quality/low-stress bicycle network throughout Montgomery County, bringing bicycle recommendations in line with industry best practices, and consolidating all bicycle recommendations into a single plan for the first time since 1978. An emphasis will be placed on evaluating newer facilities, such as separated bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities. Visit our webpage to get more information on the Bicycle Master Plan.