Details on the Rockville Bikeway Master Plan

by MCS Staff
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This past summer (late June 2021), the Rockville Department of Public Works presented a Draft Bike Lane Concept Plans for Maryland Avenue to Mayor and Council as part of the Rockville Bikeway Master Plan.

The Rockville Bikeway Master Plan, which was adopted by the mayor and city council in 2017, is a component of the city’s Comprehensive Plan and provides a vision for a safe and efficient multi-modal transportation system within Rockville.

The plan is intended to be used by city staff, elected officials and residents as a guide for improving bicycle infrastructure and programs over the 10 years (by 2027, since adoption of the plan came in 2017).

While the plan articulates a vision for the city’s bikeway network, it is not an exhaustive list of possibilities and new bikeway infrastructure will be considered as opportunities arise.

Some recommendations in this plan are aspirational and would face constraints, such as existing roadway conditions, including widths, speeds, parking, etc., which would make the recommendations not feasible.

Finding ways to increase the safety and efficiency of all roads for bicyclists as projects arise continues to be a priority in reviewing the plan. Rockville continues to build facilities listed in the Bikeway Master Plan through the city’s Bicycle Implementation Strategy.

Per the City of Rockville, the objectives of the plan are to:

• Improve the safety of bicycling in Rockville for users of all groups. Many people cite safety concerns as reasons why they do not ride bicycles. Directly addressing these concerns through infrastructure, outreach, and enforcement can help people climb over the safety hurdle.

• Enhance the mobility of cyclists by improving the bicycle facility network. The recommendations within this Plan are intended to help create a more comprehensive bicycle network. It is also helpful to be knowledgeable about Rockville’s bicycle ridership. Statistics allow us to better plan for the future by knowing current ridership numbers and compare them to past and future ridership data.

• Provide bicycle facilities during site development, redevelopment and roadway construction to improve the continuity of the bikeway network. It is important to add these amenities early in a development or redevelopment process because it is difficult to retrofit existing development to adequately accommodate bicycling. Rockville’s Complete Streets policy is a guiding document to ensure that bicycling is included in all projects across the city.

• Protect the environment. Rockville’s Mayor and Council signed the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement in 2006, and Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 requires greenhouse gas emissions statewide to be reduced 25% by 2020. Roughly 40% of Rockville’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, according to a 2006 study. Bicycling is a non-polluting form of transportation, and its use is a statement by an individual to reduce their carbon emissions and help Rockville meet these goals. The City can help promote the environmental benefits of bicycling by encouraging its use and developing bicycle amenities in environmentally sound ways.

• Encourage bicycling as a means of transportation and recreation. Many people fondly remember bicycling as a child, and a little encouragement can help them understand its potential role in their lives as adults.

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