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Thank you for sorting through the MoCo Bikeways projects and giving this summary. There are some bright spots, and I sometimes overlook them because I get caught up with the dismal treatment the Met Branch Trail is receiving. I am especially encouraged that the BRAC projects can make cycling easier north of Bethesda.
But the Met Branch project has made little progress at MC DOT since 2005, even though it has strong support with the County Council. In 2005 the DOT project designers had completed facility planning to the point where they had a concept plan that had the strong support from the community group meetings and that followed the Master Plan alignment approved in 2001. It was ready to go to the Council for approval and transition to detailed design.
But then the Met Branch project engineers were told by their DOT management that the project was too expensive, and that no one would want to bike on a trail through the Ripley and Fenton Village areas. Project engineers were directed to go back and develop low cost options that did not have a new trail bridge over Georgia Avenue.
The project has made very little progress since then. In 2006 the Planning Board and Council T&E Committee rejected the low cost options as not being responsive to the need, and directed MC DOT to build the trail on the Master Plan alignment with the new bridge over Georgia Avenue. MC DOT did very little until 2008, then recommended the project not be funded until project coordination could be completed with CSX and WMATA. But then in 2009 the Council T&E Committee learned that no project coordination with CSX and WMATA could be completed because MC DOT had not done enough design work to be able to present substantive plans to CSX and WMATA for discussion. Now we have this - MC DOT recommending that the needed design work not resume until 2013.
I don't fault MC DOT design engineers. They started out by doing a good job, and then were cut off at their knees by MC DOT managers in 2005. The project has been in disarray since. I doubt this project will get back on track until the County Council and Executive show some leadership over MC DOT.

Sorry to be a curmudgeon, but wouldn't it be a good idea to ensure that current bikeways are maintained year round? e.g. not piling snow on bike paths, clearing the CCT, etc.

Agreed - maintain what you have is the first rule. But sometimes that money comes out of different pots - especially if there is a federal component.

maintain what you have is the first rule? I would hope so. but the fact is that even on NEW bicycle trails (the examples are too numerous to mention) the pavement is never at the same level of smoothness as that of a road-- and there's no reason this should be the case. and, as was echoed in another comment somewhere on this site, does a trail have to be reduced to pulverized asphalt, cracking, with roots shooting through and highlighted in orange paint, before it is repaved!!! and PLEASE, get someone to repave it who ACTUALLY KNOWS what it is like to bicycle, and MAYBE the trail will resemble something smooth.

as for montgomery county: Silver Spring could not be more hostile, and more ugly, and more dangerous for bikes due to incredibly bad surface pavement than it is now. whether Georgia Ave, Coleville, 2nd Street, Fenton (yeah right!!!!)-- truly unbelievable in a so-called first world country -- and embarassing. will ANYONE EVER address this issue?...

If Fenton is 3rd World, then those of us who live in DC must be in the worst of the favelas in Sao Paolo...

Some more comments:
- The annual bikeway program is being cut to $450K for the remainder of FY10 (ends June 30, 2010). Don't bet on it staying at $550K in the new budget for very long.
- The Falls Road, MacArthur Blvd. and Silver Spring Green Trail projects have been slipping and would slip further in the new budget, something like 2-3 years compared to the last budget. So bike projects are basically getting screwed left and right, while general transportation spending is not.
- The BRAC improvements seem to be displacing other projects in the budget (like MacArthur, etc.). Should we be thankful?
- See also Wayne's comments about the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Jack, who do people contact if they'd like to reverse this trend? The county council?

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