After much discussion and work, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has recommended that $8.63 million be designated as part of the fiscal year 2011-2016 Capital Improvements Program budget to complete design of the first segment of the MacArthur Avenue bikeway and to begin construction in spring 2011.
The project would widen the road by 2 feet on both sides and reduce the width of the driving lanes by a foot, creating a 3-foot shoulder designated for on-road bicyclists on each side. It would also add a shared use hiker/biker path that is separated from the roadway. A shared use path already exists in some stretches, but because it is not separated from the road, cars can often mistake the path for an extra driving lane
While I do think the additions will make the road safer and reduce conflict, as long as Maryland has its mandatory shoulder law it will, at least, lead to misinterpretation or, at worst, relegate cyclists to the 3 foot shoulder. This shoulder will be 4 inches narrower than where Curtis Leymeister was killed.
A segment of the path, which would stretch from Oberlin Avenue in Glen Echo to the Interstate 495 underpass in Cabin John, is in its final design stages, according to Aruna Miller, a facility planning manager for the county's Department of Transportation. Two other segments are planned, and the path would eventually stretch for 7.3 miles from the District Line to Old Angler's Inn in Potomac, pending approvals, Miller said.
Similar bikeways in the Bethesda and Potomac areas are in initial phases, including one along Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard. The Bradley Boulevard plan would span a half-mile between Wilson Lane and Goldsboro Road, and transportation officials are in the early stages of developing concept plans, presenting them to the public and gathering feedback. A similar project is in the early stages for Seven Locks Road, which would span 3.3 miles from Montrose Road down to Bradley Boulevard.
Photo by Dan Gross/The Gazette