« The longest bike/ped tunnels in the country | Main | Multiple efforts underway to make Pennsylvania Avenue into DC's biking backbone »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Well if there’s a (not good) reason why DC connections were left off it would be the NIMBYism of NW residents to bike infra.

Rural areas of Montgomery County should have separated bikeways instead of unsafe shoulders,
the Virginia capital trail is a good example.

I have mentioned the Maryland portion of the Glen echo Trolley trail to MD reps, but its been about 3 years and she said they didn't have money.
There currently is a bike path next to Macarthur Blvd but it isn't great. The bigger problem is most cyclists ride on MacArthur Blvd and they do it during rush hour. The only way to really change there habits is widening MacArthur Blvd and adding a bike lane to it (which brings back the question whether or not using the old trolley line would be worth it.
Personally I think it would be useful but you'd have to fix the old trolley bridge across from Sycamore store.
Photos of this segment of the trail can be viewed here

Cyclists riding on MacArthur are a problem? Seems to me the problem is that there are no reasonable alternatives.

It's definitely a source of conflict, though I hear less complaining about it from drivers than I used to. I think the conflict could be reduced if there were better alternatives, and a trail along the Trolley ROW would be one such alternative.

Cyclists riding on MacArthur are not a problem. Not at rush hour. Not ever.

There is a bike path next to Macarthur Blvd. Yet most cyclists are biking on MacArthur Blvd during rush hour in the Morning.
And the specific area I am referring to is DC state line going north to the Clara Barton Pkwy on ramp road (Nex to to Oberlin)
I thought the law in MD is if there is a bike lane, then the bicyclist needs to use it vs using the road.
Anytime I cycle on MacArthur Blvd in that area, I use that MacArthur Blvd bike path.

You could possible connect that trolley path to the CCT via the Brookmont Neighborhood but it would be a huge bridge over Little Falls Branch. (Not included nimby oppostion and NPS support would be needed) The old trolley had a bridge that went over that creek back in the day.

I know the bike laws in Maryland quite well. It is mandatory to use a bike lane. But there are very specific requirements for what constitutes a bike lane, and the multi-use path on MacArthur categorically does not qualify.

Yes, there are cyclists on MacArthur in the morning and evening. I've been one, at times. You're welcome to use the bike path if you wish. But do not confuse your personal choice with the law, so as to imply that a lawful road user lawfully using the road for its intended purpose is some kind of "problem". The problem is with those who think there's something wrong with a cyclist who is riding right where they're allowed to.

There is a bike path next to Macarthur Blvd. Yet most cyclists are biking on MacArthur Blvd during rush hour in the Morning.

Perhaps the problem is drivers driving on MacArthur Blvd rather than one of the many other streets and roads available to them.

Maryland law requires cyclists to use a bike lane where one is present, and defines a "bike lane" as "any portion of a roadway or shoulder designated for single directional bicycle flow." The path adjacent to MacArthur is not a bike lane because it is bi-directional and is not a portion of the roadway or shoulder. It is rather a "bike path," which Maryland defines as "any travelway designed and designated by signing or signing and marking for bicycle use, located within its own right-of-way or in a shared right-of-way, and physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by berm, shoulder, curb, or other similar device." See MD Trans Code 21-101(c), (e); 21-1205.1(b)(2). Therefore, cyclists can ride legally on MacArthur instead of the bike path. It should also be noted that cyclists wishing to use the bike path in the vicinity of Cropley and Old Angler's Inn cannot do so and must ride in the roadway, because the bike path is perpetually blockaded in this area by vehicles parked illegally to access the C & O canal. The county makes no apparent effort enforce parking laws in this area.

@john A
Thanks for the explanation. That is what I wanted to know.

So in conclusion, Montgomery County still needs to come up with a better solution at Macarthur Blvd from Glen Echo Park to the DC border.
THey could widen Macarthur Blvd for bike lanes.
They could use the trolley path in MD.
Or they could improve what is currenly used as a bike lane that isn't a bike line.
When I last talked to Patricia Shepard, Montgomery County didn't have the funds and they were still in the planning stages for the area I mentioned.....and that was 3 years ago.

Does the Maryland law mandating bike lane usage allow exceptions for unsafe conditions, at the rider's discretion? In Virginia, many of our bike lanes are designed so hazardously that it would be foolish to confine oneself to that space. On a typical ride from Arlington's courthouse to the Key Bridge (down Clarendon Blvd to Lynn St), I take a travel lane almost the entire way. Otherwise some car door would certainly have knocked me to the pavement by now.

* travel lane = general purpose lane

Maryland law allows you to leave the bike lane and enter the roadway "when reasonably necessary to . . . avoid debris or other hazardous condition." The mere possibility of a car door opening in your path is probably not a sufficient hazardous condition to avoid the bike lane entirely, at least in the eyes of the law. My personal view is that bike lanes adjacent to parked cars are inherently dangerous because they effectively force the cyclist to ride into the zone of opening doors. Any collision or injuries resulting from being doored (or swerving to avoid being doored) can be attributed at least in part to the faulty design and placement of the bike lane. One sensible solution is to create a buffer space between the parked cars and the lane, as was recently done on Woodglen Dr. and Nebel St. in Rockville. Other than that, I try to straddle the edge of the lane furthest away from the parked cars, which generally leaves enough room to avoid doors while still staying in the lane.

Yeah, I'm always on the white line in door lanes. Always amazes me that people will ride right in the door zone. But the thing is, the design is actually telling new cyclists that that is the place to ride. It amazes me that we have a standard design that inculcates unsafe riding behavior in new cyclists. It is setting people up for injury.

The comments on door zone bike lanes go without saying and I would add that they also set one up for all kinds of squirrelly moves from the left. Instead of silly stripes, they should paint educational messages, such as: "Cyclists belong here, so chill, you maniac."

"It amazes me that we have a standard design that inculcates unsafe riding behavior in new cyclists."

In the case of a buffered lane, there is some argument in favor of putting the buffer on the right next to parked cars, but still I think some resistance from DOTs. In the case of one too narrow for a buffer there is really not much choice in how you stripe it I think - and the actual danger will vary with the rider speed, and the extent of parking turnover (and driver behavior, good drivers doing the Dutch reach would actually make door zone bike lanes perfectly safe, but I won't count on that). Note, I do see experienced cyclists riding in the door zone on streets without bike lanes - at least a painted bike lane should signal to someone in a parked car to expect bikes.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader