Montgomery County's proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget for FY 2011-2016 again cuts key bikeway projects and programs. WABA put out an alert about this, and now people are starting to voice support for bikeways and trails.
The Silver Spring Advisory Board sent a letter in support of budgeting money for land acquisition and design work on the Metropolitan Branch Trail.
We have watched with increasing frustration as the Met Branch project has languished. The Council, the Planning Board, the Silver Spring Advisory Board, and the community have repeatedly pressed the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to move forward to complete the trail, to no avail. We respectfully urge the Council to direct MCDOT to get this project moving without delay.
And Councilmember Valerie Ervin wrote a letter to the Council's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) Committee and the Montgomery County DOT requesting that the DOT provide the T&E Committee a full update on the project during the Council's discussion of the FY11-16 Capital Improvement Program. This should include a clear account of the issues impeding the project, and what is needed to address them, including
- What information is needed from WMATA and CSX?
- What is the rationale for the proposed timing of the design and construction of the project?
- What is the rationale for the proposed route of the project?
- What is the Executive Branch response to the Planning Board's comments on the project?
- Does DOT expect ROW acquisition to delay project implementation?
Meanwhile, in Fairfax, the County Executive is recommending that all operating funds for the bicycle program be cut.
As a result, there will be no funding for capital improvements and signage or bike maps and outreach materials. One position will remain to serve as the point of contact for bicycle-related issues, work on acquiring grant funding for bicycle programming, provide input on how to incorporate bicycles when planning capital roadway projects, and oversee approximately $5 million in commercial and industrial tax funds for bicycle-related improvements.
Which the Post calls just "bicycle signage and maps." The capital improvements are pretty important too.
Cyclists can sign up to speak at budget hearings to be held on April 6-8, although the April 6 date is full. FABB will speak on April 7. Individual supervisors will also hold community budget meetings and we'll put info about them on the FABB website. You can also submit comments online or contact your county supervisor. We'll provide more info shortly.