County Completes Newest Bike Lane Project in North Bethesda

Another Bethesda project is nearly finished, while separated bike lanes proposed for downtown Silver Spring await final state approvals


Photo: The Nebel Street bike lanes run on both sides of the road, with traffic. via Patricia Shepherd, Montgomery County DOT

Piece by piece, Montgomery County is becoming more bike-friendly.

Earlier this month the county completed a separated bike lane project on Nebel Street in North Bethesda that allows cyclists to travel protected from traffic from Randolph Road to Marinelli Road.

The half-mile stretch includes 6-foot-wide bike lanes in both directions of Nebel that are separated from traffic with flexible white posts. To create the bike lanes, parking was removed from the west side of Nebel and relocated to the east side. The road’s travel lanes were also reduced from a little over 15 feet wide to 11 feet.

The project cost the county $135,000 and was built while Nebel Street was resurfaced. The project is part of a network of bike lanes that will one day connect major commercial and residential areas in North Bethesda, according to county officials. The plan is known as the White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network.

The planned White Flint Separated Bike Lane Network via Montgomery County

“We’re definitely committed to making this county much more walkable and bikeable,” Esther Bowring, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Transportation, said.

A similar 1,500-foot separated bike lane was built along Woodglen Drive in North Bethesda, near the Whole Foods grocery store. That project was the first bicycle infrastructure project of its kind in the county when it opened in 2014.

Last week, the county also was putting the finishing touches on a smaller separated bike lane along Glenbrook Road in Bethesda. The 0.2 mile, 5-foot-wide lane runs along Glenbrook from Bradley Boulevard south to Little Falls Park.

The bike lane was added because many cyclists were riding against traffic on Glenbrook, which is a one-way street, to use the Capital Crescent Trail, according to Patricia Shepherd, the bikeways coordinator for the county’s transportation department.

While the lines are painted for the bike lanes, the flex posts separating the lanes from traffic still needed to be installed, she said Friday. The county removed some parking spots on the short stretch of roadway to complete the $55,000 project, which also included traffic-calming measures and green pavement markings at intersections.

Photo left: The Glenbrook Road bike lane. Photo by Patricia Shepherd

A third separated bike lane project in Silver Spring is in  its final design stage, according to Matt Johnson, who oversees bicycle and pedestrian priority areas for the county’s transportation department.

The project calls for one-way separated bike lanes that stretch in both directions along Spring and Cedar streets between Wayne and Second avenues in downtown Silver Spring. Johnson said the county was planning to start construction on the bike lanes, as well as resurface Spring Street, in the summer, but are still waiting on final permits from the state. The state asked the county to modify some of its designs for crossings of state roads, such as Georgia Avenue, according to Johnson.

Johnson said the project could still be built this fall, but it will have to wait until warmer weather in the spring if temperatures begin to drop. He said the county transportation department has also begun initial designs for another bikeway that will run along Second and Wayne avenues to Georgia Avenue.

Taken together, the bike lanes will create a circle around much of downtown Silver Spring, according to Johnson.

“We’re hoping this network we’re building will provide lower stress ways to bike around,” he said.

The Silver Spring proposed bikeway. Image via Montgomery County

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