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Montgomery County Bike Projects Moving Slowly | Sports & Recreation

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Montgomery County Bike Projects Moving Slowly

The WashCycle reports that with the Bradley Boulevard bike project having recently been presented, it joins a growing list of future bike projects in Montgomery County. But only one project has money budgeted for it so far. That's the MacArthur Boulevard Bikeway project.

The project will include an 8-foot-wide shared-use hiker/biker path running parallel to MacArthur on the south side, Miller said. The shoulder of the road will also be widened to provide a 2-foot shoulder on each side of the road for faster cyclists.

The project has been divided into three segments due to cost concerns, Miller said. The middle 13,800-foot segment from Oberlin Avenue to the Interstate 495 underpass will be constructed first. The segment will cost $8.7 million, and construction is expected to start as early as July, Miller said.

That's a few months later than we were told in February.

Meanwhile other projects are waiting for funding.

A hiker/biker path along Falls Road has been under design for several years but has been stalled since March 2008 because of budget concerns

Additionally, a hiker/biker path along Seven Locks Road in Potomac is still in the facility planning phase needed to justify the project,

Miller said that hiker/biker projects can get stalled in land acquisition, and they also face delays from allowing time for community feedback as well as the overarching funding problems facing the entire county.

"The budget crunch — it's affected everything; it's not just hiker/biker paths," Miller said. "It has hit road programs, it's hit maintenance projects — everything.  It didn't discriminate."

Jack Cochrane has some opinions about the order in which things get done and why they're important.

Even though they are further down the queue, Cochrane believes the Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard projects are of a higher priority than the Falls Road project, because they would help serve as main arteries for cyclists traveling between major parts of the city.

For Cochrane, funding biking improvement projects is vital to solving traffic congestion in the area.

"I think there's frustration in the pace of projects," Cochrane said. "I don't think we're so concerned that each project takes so long, it is that it takes so long between projects."

The budget issues are unfortunate. If only there were some federal program to get people back to work by investing in America's infrastructure while creating jobs. If only.