Our efforts to expand bike transit in Montgomery County are being noticed. We have programs coming in Rockville and Shady Grove and hopefully we will install them in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring and Takoma Park, in 2012. Keep your fingers crossed! Run video…
Today’s Transportation Committee hearing focused on several issues that I want to see us move quickly to address. First was pedestrian safety. As a county we must move to promote walkability so that there are meaningful alternatives to driving everywhere and clogging the roads. The County Executive has implemented an effective pedestrian safety initiative that appears to have had a strong positive effect by reducing pedestrian crashes.
A big portion of that discussion focused on walkability and school safety. I was interested to learn that the county reviews data and makes improvements for a quarter mile “walk shed” for our schools, but the actual walk shed for that school could be a half mile, three quarters of a mile, and so on. I plan to discuss this issue more with our transportation officials and see if there are any changes that we need to make.
Finally, an invigorating discussion on bikesharing. The county has pursued federal grants for several years to build a bikesharing system, as DC and NoVa have done with great success. The revelation in the meeting for me was viewing the bikesharing operation as an additional transit system that we can put in place. Already since its founding just over a year ago, the capital bikesharing program has generated more than one million trips.
Committee Chair Berliner pushed very hard, noting that our relative lack of a bikeshare transit system is embarrassing to the county and needs to be resolved. I asked the County DOT for us to be the first jurisdiction in the state to apply for a new bikesharing program that the state government is going to fund on an 80-20 split. As our DOT pointed out, we will need to figure out where the resources come from on our end, as these are very tight budget times.