A (Quiet) Bike Renaissance in Rockville, Maryland

The DC suburb of Rockville, Maryland, is quietly becoming a bike-friendly city.

Greater Greater Washington reports that Rockville advocates and the city have worked together for the last 15 years to expand bike infrastructure. The result: a 68-mile bike network, including 34 miles of separated bikeways, 33 miles of shared lanes, and a multi-use path — a “bicycle beltway” that “connects together a number of neighborhoods and parallels several major roads that would scare off all but the most experienced cyclists.”

The Millennium Trail "bike beltway" in Rockville, Maryland. Photo: Bike Rockville via Greater Greater Washington
The Millennium Trail “bicycle beltway” in Rockville, Maryland. Photo: Bike Rockville via Greater Greater Washington

There’s more, writes GGW’s Shannon Brescher Shea:

Rockville has also developed Maryland’s first Safe Routes to School curriculum, built the Sister Cities bridge over I-270, and added bicycle safety classes to Montgomery College’s course offerings. Recently, the city has made even more significant investments in cycling as a mode of transportation.

With encouragement from RBAC [the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee], the city hired a full-time pedestrian and bicycle coordinator in 2011. While previous bicycle-related work was located in the Department of Recreation and Parks, the coordinator’s position is in the Department of Public Works, showing how the city is recognizing non-motorized transportation’s role in the larger system.

The bicycle and pedestrian coordinator has played a key role in system-level activities such as analyzing crash data, developing heat maps, running bicycle counts, and coordinating activities across the city government.

Rockville currently has 13 Capital Bikeshare stations. Thanks to a grant and matching funds from Rockville, Montgomery County provides free memberships, helmets, and cycling classes to residents with low incomes. The recently updated bike master plan calls for 24 new miles of bike infrastructure, including the county’s first protected bike lanes.

There’s still much to do, writes Shea, but daily bike counts are up, and in 2012 Rockville was named a bronze-level bike-friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists. Rockville’s goal, writes Shea, is a town “where bicycling is for all types of trips, for all types of people, and for all parts of the city.”

Elsewhere on the Streetsblog Network: World Streets explores the potential for rural car sharing, the Alliance for Walking and Biking maps a huge increase in memberships from 1998 to today, and Treehugger reports on a Simpsons subway expansion.

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