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Oh it's fun to consider the wholly foreseeable yet wholly unintended consequences of this move. Like, people crossing the 4 lanes straight through and across the median, guerilla-style, despite removal of the crosswalk. Or cyclists - and drivers - frustrating one another by cheating to get ahead of green lights at the new crossing, or through on yellows (where drivers are already in a hurry, and not going in a straight line). So many more people at that intersection now! Or the cyclists who decide that doubling back down to the trail isn't worth the effort, and just ride along Arlington instead. How long I wonder before "cyclists on Arlington" becomes a problem brought before the Planning Board? How long I wonder before, with all these new turns and crossings, someone gets hurt? Idiots.

CCCFH was totally in favor of traffic calming on their own streets when the Westbard master plan was debated. What hypocrisy! https://townofsomerset.com/DocumentCenter/View/502

I was a daily bike commuter thru here before the present changes. Back then high vehicle speeds and red light running were common.

Is that what we really want to restore?

Wow. What a dumb decision. We need to fix this.

Stunning. Huge step backwards.

The planning commissioners voted 4 to 1 in favor of the modified Alternative B.

The issue is the successful use of power by a rich class of homeowners in order to advance entitlement over the public good.. Entitlement and intolerance are conjoined twins. Support for the Capital Crescent Trail among members of this group was originally a foil to block the Purple Line. Now the CCT becomes like their neighborhood trail rather than everyone’s trail. Rampant tribalism in our country scored another victory yesterday in our own backyard.

The 4 planning commissioners were aided in their bow to privilege by the misuse of Vision Zero as commonly promoted. Safety and comfort were conflated. This allowed decision makers to impose a detour and delay for cyclists and pedestrians for their own good. A traffic light-or bridge-removes the interaction and responsibility between drivers and pedestrians/cyclists for shared use of the public realm. This is what has lead to the massive carnage on our roads and why we need to promote true Vision Zero practices that promote human interaction and managed risk.

Not part of my commute, luckily, but I did ride through here again recently. As every other time I've gone through here since the road was reduced to 2 lanes, drivers were quite kind and respectful, as were the cyclists and pedestrians I saw, and things seemed to work pretty well. Admittedly, I don't travel through at busy times, where I suppose the wait for drivers could be longer.

So yes, from my limited experience traveling through here a few times a year, this is a very poor decision that will make things less safe.

"Aggravating the safety issue is the disregard that so many bicyclists have for the rules of the road."

I'm sure it felt good for the hypocrites at CCCFH (who merely seem interested in speeding faster to and from Friendship Heights), to say that, but it's completely irrelevant to the situation at hand. And if, indeed, there are so many conflicts with pedestrians and runners on the trail, that must mean there are a lot of pedestrians and runners; why does CCCFH want to make the trail less safe for them?

It's an amusing irony that the trail is seen as "not a commuter route," but Little Falls Parkway is a "commuter connector that is heavily used." In fact, Little Falls Parkway is a park road located in Little Falls Stream Valley Park, which is owned and operated by the Montgomery County Parks Department.

So what happens when MCDOT tells them that this "fix" that they just made up on the spot makes traffic worse? I won't even mention ped/bike safety since that is clearly not part of the PB's purview.

That intersection is going to be a death trap for cyclists, runners, & other trail users. Crossing against 2 lanes of turning traffic + cars making the right on red (read: blowing the light) will be an adventure. Make no mistake, people will die. Some civil disobedience is in order, I'm just not sure what it should look like. F that neighborhood and everyone who lives in it.

The Planning Department looks at 10 options... analyzes 3 of them... recommends one of them.. and then the Planning Board chooses something else entirely?

What then is the purpose of the Planning Department? (Governance of MoCo is badly broken.)

This is just a mind-blowing change of direction for Little Falls Parkway. I attended the meeting 10 or 15 years ago at the library after a number of injuries at that trail crossing, and from that point on I was under the impression that the road was recognized as incompatible with the park. There was some tussle between the parks dept and the MDOT but it looked like efforts were building to make Little Falls into a park road as opposed to the highway it is. I just can't fathom this change of direction. It looks like purely an effort by the local neighborhoods to push their own feeling of (hypocritical) entitlement to "safe" neighborhoods and speedy travel. The number of absurd statements from those associations is just astounding. Who can look at an 8 mile railroad right-of-way to downtown and claim it's not a commuter route (while claiming a park road is).

Is there any recourse? I do ride this every day (for almost 20 years) and thought the nightmare was near over.

Sadly, I can well imagine that when (not if) the next casualty occurs, the planning department history in this decision leaves the county open to one very large lawsuit - knowingly, advisedly making the trail more dangerous.

I'm a little confused here... What is the relationship of the Planning Board to the County Council, and who takes priority? I find it fascinating that the same people who advocated the Purple Line (at an undisclosed cost) to reduce car use hypocritically now want to say that trails are not meant for bike commuting, and the MoCo is a "car county". Yeah, it is, but it doesn't need to be.

Representative Doris O. Matsui (D-CA 6th).
Lives here at
5800 Kennedy Dr, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Wanna guess how close she lives to the trail?
https://goo.gl/maps/9Uaur2U6sb1ePdL69

Most likely she uses dorset to get home

What is the relationship of the Planning Board to the County Council, and who takes priority?

Planning Board members are appointed by the County Council, and the County Council approves the budget of the planning department and parks department. Otherwise, the Planning Board and Department are independent of the Council. The Board and Department are part of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a bi-county (with Prince George's County) state-sanctioned agency responsible for park land and planning.

Little Falls Parkway, being a road on park property, is entirely under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department and the Planning Board, not the County Council or MCDOT.

I just called Dori's DC office and he took down my complaint that she even commented on local MD issues
You can call her office here:
WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE
2311 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7163

I live closer to this intersection than Rep. Matsui -- by a lot. I probably drive it 10-20 times a week. The road diet creates essentially no delay, and I don't have to tell this crowd how much it helps when riding or walking.
This is the dumbest possible outcome. The planning board should hang their heads in shame and will have blood on their hands shortly after the change if they don't reverse course. What a disgrace.

That rendering at the top is eerily realistic and foreshadows what is going to happen.

The trail across Little Falls has the walk signal, yet the red SUV is making an illegal right on red at full speed.

I use this trail a lot in that area, and did so with young kids. If you look at the new proposal, it might not be so bad if the new crosswalk that will need to be added to Arlington/Little Falls is well designed. What is ironic is that the impact of a well-designed and additional crosswalk will probably slow flow turning right onto Arlington and from Arlington onto Little Falls, and I suspect that if they give proper time for crossing it may well cause even more backups for cars. If the trail on the north side of Little Falls is buffered by green and rejoins the CCT seamlessly, it's not that bad an option. I've never liked any version of the CCT crossing in the middle of a 2 OR 4-lane street. The only elegant solution (under or overpass) is almost certainly not worth the use of our tax dollars. I say this as someone who lives in Chevy Chase and commutes regularly on the CCT.

I would suggest that cycling advocates' lobbying efforts turn to state-of-the-art design of that crosswalk, e.g. flashing lights and signal delays that will accommodate a 5-year-old slowly riding across. If they are going to do the crosswalk, let's ensure they do it right and in a way that will minimize accidents between cars and bikes.

Oh, and while we are at it let's advocate for speed cameras all along Little Falls. They will also help. Surely residents can't be against something that is only an annoyance if speeding and helps defray road expenses.

I am very disappointed with this decision and the self dealing of Friends of the CCT board members. I was at the June 2018 community meeting when a women identified herself as a board member of FCCT and then went on to say she opposed the road siet because it would increase traffic on her street. I was stunned. I don’t begrudge her personal opinion (which Park planning’s traffic studies show statistically to be false) but it was wrong to represent herself as representing thr FCCT. While I would love to support the CCT, I won’t donate to the FCCt.

Sorry, my reference to the FCCT was weong. It was the Coalition for the CCT. I also don’t support the FCCT because their cause was not the trail but their backyards.

Plnerkingdom, did she identify as part of the FCCT or the CCCT? They're very different groups.

She identified herself at the June 2018 meeting as a board member of CCCT.

To add more to my CCCT story, I also attended a community meeting roughly 2 years ago regarding a negotiated solution to the Ourisman Honda dealership which illegally built on a significant shared right-of-way belonging to the CCT. At this meeting, a representative of the CCCT expressed a neutral position even though this took away any future options such as widening or enhancing this popular Bethesda access to the CCT. Until now, I hadn’t pulled together these two incidents which the CCCT did not represent the users of the CCT.

BOARD MEMBER BLAMES THE VICTIM - The following is a quote from Bethesda Magazine: “Planning Board member Tina Patterson said she was unaware until recently the fatality that sparked the road changes occurred when a vehicle struck a man who was riding a recumbent bicycle, a bike that places the rider in a reclining position and is harder for motorists to see, researchers suggest.

“Had I known this after the fact and moved forward with the staff recommendation, I would have been very embarrassed,” Patterson said. “When we’re going to talk about something that is impacting the community, we need to get the full details. We know that road diets are sexy and it’s the trend right now but sometimes it’s not appropriate.”

This attitude is grossly ignorant. So the victim was to blame because they were too short, or too dark, or too slow? Also, Maryland road regulations provide for a contributing negligence defense against a victims claims. You know, they were too short and dark.

The logic that cyclists don't obey traffic laws and drivers don't obey traffic laws so we have to accommodate drivers makes me want to bust out my vintage critical mass gear for a midnight ride.

The police at the time said there had been nine collisions at that spot in the prior 5 years. Only the one in which a fatality occurred was the cyclist's fault, though poor design was the real culprit. So to cherry pick that one and insinuate that cyclists were the problem here is ludicrous.

In the fatality they hold the cyclist the blame for getting in the way of a car. They never addressed the level of inattentiveness exhibited by the driver to have not seen the cyclist in the first place.

So the person on the recumbent bicycle was too hard to see because they're lower to the ground.

You know who else isn't that tall? Children.

I received a statement from the board of the CCCT and they asked me to put it in the comments.

1. The CCCT represents all trail users - cyclists and pedestrians — and we all also drive motor vehicles. We developed our position with safety for all users as our paramount concern.
2. We advocated first and foremost, for a bridge across Little Falls Parkway, which would totally separate trail users from motor vehicles and which is the safest alternative.
3. We did not support the "road diet" because it is unnecessary to assure safety if there is a bridge.
4. We are concerned the "road diet" would exacerbate congestion in vehicular approaches to Bethesda from the south: Wisconsin Avenue at Bradley is already way too congested; cutting out two road lanes on Little Falls would inevitably increase vehicle congestion in nearby residential neighborhoods; and with all the increased construction in Bethesda (Marriott, Offices and Apartments) and at Westbard, it is foolhardy to think that vehicular demand into Bethesda from the south will stay the same and not increase in the near future.
5. We understand that temporarily moving the trail to the light may slow some bike traffic (especially speeding commuters), but we believe that until a bridge is built, the safest approach is to force cyclists to conform to the traffic light at the crossing. Crossing with the light protects all trail users, including children, recumbent users, etc. This is precisely how the trail crossed Connecticut Avenue prior to Purple Line construction. In addition, as part of this crossing, we advocated for reconfiguring the Little Falls/Arlington/Glenbrook intersection so that Little Falls curves into Arlington and Glenbrook forms a T with these streets. This eliminates a “right turn on red” problem with the current configuration. We also supported redesigning the trail approaches to the light so there are gentle curves and adequate sight lines and considerable room at the intersection for bikes and people to wait for a light.
6. We are working diligently to assure that the Capital Crescent Trail continues to be a safe, attractive and enjoyable transportation and recreational corridor for all users along its entire route, including along the Purple Line.

Based on their comments, the CCCT clearly no longer represents the majority of trail users.

Their ridiculous rationalization of making LFP a four lane road shows that they are nothing more than a shill for the NIMBYs and drivers.

The fact that they must say "we all drive cars" and then make an extremely thin argument for high road capacity is all you need to know to know they represent mostly drivers and homeowners. The car delay of 7 seconds SB and 0 seconds NB is miniscule compared to the 30 sec trail delay. They are sympathetic towards everyone but trail users I'd like to know who's on their board.

The bridge is unlikely to ever get built and it will have grade issues barely a half mile of Bethesda Ave, limiting the value of the trail heading south for many users. Moreover, it would take money away from more necessary bike improvements in the county. But the bridge is being used as a cop-out by NIMBYs for their horrid "interim" position of a 4-lane LFP and Arlington crossing.
If the bridge really IS built in 5 years then the "road diet" they say is unnecessary because of the bridge could be removed.

Vilification of "speeding commuters" is another neighborhood position. Much of their lack of concern for trail users is due to dislike of cyclists in general. I imagine that most trail speeders are not in fact commuters but people getting exercise (like me, ha ha). Most of the speeding commuters are using 4000 lb SUVs.

The signal at Arlington would slow ALL trail users - not just the fast riders. A 30 sec. wait is a 30 sec. wait. The Connecticut analogy is hilarious - that's a terrible crossing.

Basically the CCCT deserves to be called out for what it is: a NIMBY pro-car group masquerading as a bike/ped group.

I'll correct myself and say that building a CCT bridge over Little Falls Pkwy would take funds away from needed TRAIL improvements, not bike improvements. Trail improvements aren't bike improvements; they're improvements for EVERYONE. There are many many planned trail projects in the county that aren't happening for lack of funding. And if we're talking about bridges, a Matthew Henson Trail bridge over Veirs Mill Pkwy is one that's much more necessary. Even the new signal there is proving to be ineffective.

https://www.cctrail.org/meet_the_board_members

I lost faith in the CCCT when they endorsed a 15 mph speed limit on that section of trail.

And just today, in my inbox is an announcement that they're sponsoring a "bells&whistles" events where they're giving out bells to cyclists and whistles for pedestrians. What the everloving F? Trail users need to be taught that if it's not safe to pass, you have to slow down and wait until it is safe. Sounding your bell (or blowing your whistle) doesn't make an unsafe situation safe.

A bridge is so unnecessary. And until (and if) a bridge is built, people--not just cyclists--will be crossing against the light rather than wait 30 seconds. People--drivers--will be taking rights on red, often at speed. The road diet was working fine. This stance by the CCCT is very disappointing and dangerous.

In my conversations with someone on the board, it was quite clear that many of them lived on Hillandale and did not like that the cars were using their road instead.
The bridge isn't needed.
And Little Falls road from River rd going west to Arlington RD need to be turned into 2 lanes.
Arlington RD is already slated to be turned into one lane.
Ever road that connects to Little Falls Parkway is already 1 lane in each direction
I hope WABA and Mongtomery County can get together and work something out for cyclist's safety

John's assessment of likely behaviors in response to the selected alternative certainly seems accurate based on my experience with both good and bad facilities( during ~25 years bike commuting.) Of course it will always be the bicyclist's fault: to respond to stupid design with "unapproved" behaviors is to be a "scofflaw". Guilty of BWB!!! (Bicycling while bicycling)
Yes, a major, organized public demonstration of disapproval is warranted - as well as activism targeting the budget for this project.
I do think we need to refrain from the rhetoric of "privilege", "wealth", etc. as it is too easily misquoted and used against us, and stick to the facts - especially when they are on the side of trail users.

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