County officials dedicated the mid-Atlantic’s first “protected” intersection this morning at Spring and Second streets, marking the completion of a circuit of bike lanes around downtown Silver Spring.
The “cycletrack” runs along Spring/Cedar streets, down Wayne Avenue and alongside Second Street, providing a direct connection to the Silver Spring Transit Center.
Thee track provides physical separation of bicyclists and motor vehicles. A protected intersection includes islands and continues that protection through the intersection.
“The islands also reduce the crossing distance from on side of the street to the other,” said Al Roshdieh, director of the county’s Department of Transportation, along with forcing drivers to slow when turning and providing improved visibility.
“Realizing movement of people through all various modes of transportation is important in an intersection, and this one here is pretty cool,” County Executive Marc Elrich said.
“This intersection is a critical part of an overall vision of Silver Spring, making Silver Spring a model for a walkable, bikeable, safe place to drive, safe place to move about,” added Councilmember Hans Reimer (D-At Large).
The project also includes the first bicycle traffic signal in Maryland, where the track crosses at Colesville Road and Wayne/Second.
“I think bike signals will be another thing that we’ll see more of in Montgomery County, even when you don’t have tracks,” Elrich said. “They’re useful in helping people understand what to do.”
“They think the environment that we live in now, the built environment, was sort of handed down on stone tablets by people that did everything perfectly and envisioned no change ever,” said Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-District 5) said about those who questioned the changes at the intersection.
“And that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” he added, pointing out that parts of the area around the intersection was designed about 100 years ago.
Another of the project’s features is the county’s first digital “bikeometer,” which will count the number of cyclists using the cycletrack, according to a press release.
“It will have a roadside sign displaying the number of cyclists passing the intersection of Second Avenue and Colesville Road daily and over the course of each year,” the release reads.
The county plans to add more protected intersections in the future, including one at Fenton and Cameron streets.
More information about the project is available on the county’s website.
Cutting the ribbon for the project is (from left) Al Roshdieh, director of the county’s Department of Transportation, County Executive Marc Elrich, Councilmember Tom Hucker, Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, Peter Gray, Washington Area Bicyclist Association board member, Reemberto Rodgriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, Councilmember Hans Reimer, and Matt Johnson, DOT staff and head of the project. (Photo by Mike Diegel)