Downtown Silver Spring could become very bike-friendly, with three miles of interconnected, protected bike lanes.
Thanks to skyrocketing interest in bicycling for daily transportation, the County Council upped funding for bike improvements by 150%. It has identified bicycle pedestrian priority areas like downtown Silver Spring! But we’ve heard that some Silver Spring neighbors are concerned.
Downtown Silver Spring is the neighborhood I call home, and I personally couldn't be more excited that this summer, work will begin on Spring and Cedar Streets to bring the first separated bike lanes to Silver Spring.
Proposals for protected bicycle lanes are also under consideration for Dixon Ave, Wayne Ave, and Fenton Street.
It’s the Fenton Street proposal that’s prompting opposition even before studies have begun. Concerns range from loss of parking spaces to spillover into neighborhoods. These issues and others will be studied in a public process, and we think there are ways to address each concern. For example, there is ample parking available in the nearby parking garages and if needed, the county can put a neighborhood parking permit program in place.
Safe bicycling conditions offer so many benefits. More people will bicycle rather than pull out the car for both commutes and errands. That reduces traffic and greenhouse gasses, and helps people live healthier, more active lives. More bicycling makes streets calmer for people driving, biking, and walking alike. Urban retail sales have increased where cities have added bicycle lanes and bikeshare.
In short, protected bike lanes as part of a complete network will contribute to a more sustainable and pleasant downtown Silver Spring. That makes a great neighborhood even better!
Use our take-action tool below and voice your support for bike lanes in downtown Silver Spring. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Today at 750 N. Glebe Road, there’s a Mazda dealership and big parking lots. Tomorrow, there could be a LEED-certified mixed-use development with 491 apartments (studios, 1-, 2- and 3-bedrooms), restaurants, a small grocery store, on-site affordable housing, and a Capital Bikeshare station.
The project team has participated in over two dozen public meetings and made a number of changes based on community input, including:
- Addition of a public path through the building, linking Tazewell and Glebe, creating an east-west connection and reducing the effective block size.
- Varying the building facades to break up the massing.
- Addition of a right-in, right-out entrance and exit from Glebe, to reduce the number of vehicles entering from the narrower Seventh Street or from North Tazewell.
- Adjustment of the covered loading dock on Seventh Street to be closer to N. Glebe, and room to turn around within the dock, rather than backing in from the street.
- Altering the building heights to step down from 12 stories along North Glebe Road to only 5 stories along North Tazewell and the western end of 7th Street North
- Adding seven brick townhomes along North Tazewell Street to better transition the project into the lower-rise neighborhood.
- Increasing landscaping along North Tazewell Street
- Adding a traffic light and pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of North Glebe Road and 7th Street North like height changes and a traffic light and crosswalk at 7th St.
We think this well-designed project is worth supporting to the Arlington County Planning Commission and Board.
The Arlington County Planning Commission will consider the project at its meeting this Wednesday, June 8, and the Arlington County Board will review it on June 18 and/or 21. We’re concerned by the project’s 800 parking spaces, but the higher number is tied to the desire to attract a grocery store.
Nonetheless, Arlington should take steps to reduce its parking requirements for projects so close to Metro in a walkable, urban environment. You are probably asking, what about Metro’s situation? We believe “failure is not an option” -- that our region cannot succeed without Metrorail and we are going to get our Metro fixed.
Use our take-action tool below and voice your support for 750 N. Glebe to the Planning Commission and County Board. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Falls Church hopes to join the popular Capital Bikeshare in 2017 -- if it can secure funding from two regional transportation bodies.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) are considering the city's funding requests today and June 9, but have said they need to hear loud and clear from residents that they want the expansion.
Tell NVTA and NVTC that yes, Falls Church residents want Bikeshare!
Tonight (June 2), the NVTC will consider $850,000 to fully fund the first 3 years of operating expenses for the 16 stations Falls Church hopes to build. Next Thursday (June 9), NVTA will consider the city's capital request of $2 million to purchase stations and get the program up and running in Falls Church.
If funded, Falls Church has identified 3 priority corridors for the initial Bikeshare network: the Broad Street corridor, Washington Street corridor, and W&OD Trail. Capital Bikeshare would provide an easy and really cheap way to get to the East Falls Church and West Falls Church Metro stations! Falls Church's Bicycle Master Plan identifies a fourth corridor, Roosevelt Boulevard, as a priority for future expansion – providing a connection to Metro for thousands of residents.
The bright red bikes are already in place or on the way throughout much of Northern Virginia -- Arlington has 84 stations, and Fairfax is rolling out stations before year end. If you want to see Bikeshare in Falls Church, NVTA and NVTC need to hear from you today.
Use our take-action tool below to ask NVTA and NVTC for Bikeshare in Falls Church. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Do you agree transit-oriented development and walkable neighborhoods are important to Montgomery County? Soon, we could have more of both, thanks to a progressive policy update.
Once every four years, the Montgomery County Planning Department updates its growth policy – formally known as the Subdivision Staging Policy. This year’s proposed update promotes smart, sustainable land use; and would increase the opportunities for Montgomery residents to use transit, walk, and bike.
The current language in the Subdivision Staging Policy relies solely on automobile delay as a way to rate a new development’s impact on transportation. In effect, the more cars a development and transportation proposal allows to fly through an intersection, the better it ranks. Often, to mitigate a “failing” intersection, the policy dictates that we widen the road. But that in turn promotes more driving, and cuts against goals of walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods.
Under the new recommendations, Montgomery will look at transit accessibility and person trips as ways to evaluate a development’s impact. The new approach assesses all travel options, and will foster the type of development that enables people to drive less, and reduce air pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
By 2045, Montgomery County will have 200,000 more residents, and 40% more jobs. We need a transit-first approach to handle that expected growth.
Make sure the Planning Board knows how important transit and walkability are in your neighborhood. Ask them to approve this progressive update!
Use our take-action tool below to ask the Montgomery County Planning Board to support the update. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Metro's revised SafeTrack plan is out, and riders along the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines will be suffering much earlier than in the original plan. That may be necessary maintenance, but it'll mean local officials have to move fast to find alternative ways to get people east and west.
The first "surge" is single-tracking from Ballston to East Falls Church from June 4-13. That single-tracking includes rush hours and every other time. There will be fewer trains at rush hour everywhere along the Orange and Silver west of there and the Orange Line east all the way to New Carrollton.
Then, the really big challenge hits June 18, when Metro will shut down the line from Eastern Market to Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road for 16 days, June 18-July 3. This will also mean no trains from Arlington Cemetery to Rosslyn. That means no trains on these areas for over two weeks.
And this won't just affect people traveling on the east side of the region. There will be 54% fewer trains from Eastern Market to Rosslyn during rush hours and 40-43% fewer on the Orange and Silver lines in Virginia.
In July, Yellow/Blue riders are affected, followed by more single-tracking on Orange/Silver, and then a big Red Line single-tracking in August.
We'll need bus/HOV lanes and staging parking lots
Last week, we talked about 8 big ideas to help. Based on your feedback, we want to prioritize dedicated express lanes for bus and carpoolers along main arterial roads, including the bridges into DC.
In addition, the DOTs should find lots that can serve as park-and-rides and slugging staging areas. People could park in these zones and form ad-hoc carpools (called "slugging"), or ride special shuttle buses using the 42 extra buses Metro has available for the surges.
Workers, employers, retailers, and everyone else will have to step up too, to share rides and adjust work hours to keep people getting where they need to go. Still, many people don't have that option and need a way to travel east and west without spending hours in traffic. The only way we are going to encourage and move enough people by carpool and bus is if we offer a speedy and reliable trip with dedicated express lanes.
We don't have all the answers. The local DOTs have the experts who need to figure out the specifics. Or maybe they have variations on this plan that would work better. But while asking people nicely to please telework or carpool is part of the answer, it's not enough on its own. Some priority for carpoolers and buses is necessary.
There's not a lot of time. But the SafeTrack "surges" won't be permanent. It's not unreasonable to try some meaningful policies in late June to try to keep people moving.
Let’s all roll up our sleeves and take on this challenge. We can do it!
Ask your local DOTs to get this figured out right now
Please ask your local transportation officials to step up. We've suggested some recommendations in the form, but you can customize it as much as you'd like. Our system will automatically send your letter to the right officials based on the jurisdiction you enter, and will sign the letter with your first and last name.