Showing posts with label Draft Bikeway Master Plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Draft Bikeway Master Plan. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Report to Rockville Planning Commission shows effect of APFS school capacity change on student generation

The Rockville Planning Commission will take public testimony on the city's Bikeways Master Plan at its meeting tonight at City Hall at 7:00 PM. Also on the agenda are the much-discussed Avalon Bay townhome proposal for Twinbrook Parkway, and the future Richard Montgomery Elementary School No. 5.

One other notable agenda item: a report from city staff showing an estimate of 127 students being added to the Richard Montgomery school cluster, by projects proposed since the City Council voted to weaken the Adequate Public Facilities Standards for school capacity. Prior to that change, only 64 students were expected to come from projects already in the development pipeline, according to the memo.

The total will now be 191 students.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Are residents aware of Rockville bike lane plan's impact on street parking? (Photos)

Rockville Planning Commission
Chair Don Hadley
Concerns that residents of roads where bike lanes could replace street parking aren't aware of the Rockville Bikeways Master Plan led a Planning Commission discussion on the draft document last night. There were also questions about the specific implementation of the plan, and how much say residents and the Planning Commission would have over it, versus city staff.

Commissioner Jack Leiderman said it seemed the commission would be "transferring our authority to staff’s discretion" during the implementation phase of the plan. In contrast, the commission has much greater say in the final bicycle infrastructure that will be constructed under the eventual Rockville Pike Plan. With the bike plan, city staff would essentially wind up with "carte blanche" authority over issues like parking removal for bike lanes on targeted routes, Leiderman said.

Leiderman also questioned whether or not residents on all routes that could lose street parking are fully aware of that detail, as opposed to simply hearing general information from the city about bike facility improvements. He asked that the commission be able to review outreach materials before they are mailed to residents, to ensure the street parking removal is prominently highlighted.
This planned climbing lane
that would have eliminated
street parking on Azalea Drive
is apparently history
Azalea Drive, having nipped the proposal for their street in the bud, organized resident opposition and their lane has now been removed from the map. That newer map, which also showed areas where street parking might be lost in gray, was shown during the meeting but does not appear on the Bikeways Master Plan page on the city website. Leiderman wondered if other streets simply hadn't realized they were on the list, as well. "We know the residents on Hurley Avenue have not agreed to this" yet, Leiderman said as an example. "Planning, to be effective in this city, cannot simply be from the top down," Leiderman argued. He also suggested conducting outreach after Labor Day, rather than during the summer when many are traveling.

A public hearing on the bikeways plan will be held in October.
Proposed bike lane and
climbing lane along Hurley Avenue
Commissioner Charles Littlefield was uncomfortable with giving residents of the streets in question too much authority in the parking question. If they are able to overturn the plan's recommendations, Littlefield said, the result would be a more segmented system. Littlefield said he would find giving up some street parking acceptable, if the end results were more connectivity and a citywide increase in bike ridership. Some of the streets in question, it should be noted, have an existing shortage of parking.

Commissioner David Hill said he would like the plan to include striping the Millennium Trail to better indicate it is a two-way path. Hill said he has encountered groups of joggers, running five-abreast toward him on the trail, while he is bicycling. He also recommended adding bicycle stations with secure bike parking, basic bike service and showers at the Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


The president of Regents Square's condo board told Rockville planning commissioners that the draft Bikeway Master Plan would be "a disaster for our community," at last week's public hearing on the document. Joe Covey said his community of 252 townhouses on Azalea Drive, and Nelson Street, were planned with street parking designed to complement off-street lot parking. Woodley Gardens Civic Association President James Reschovsky shared Covey's concern, although both emphasized that their communities are not opposed to improving bike mobility through their neighborhood.

A primary issue is the plan for a .4 mile bike climbing lane on Azalea Drive, that would displace existing street parking. Reschovsky said he did not have the precise number of parking spaces that would be lost, but estimated them as 50-75. "What I can say with confidence," Reschovsky added, is that "the street is totally parked, the off-street parking lots are full [and] there’s already a parking problem now." "50 to 75 is a substantial number of cars," Planning Commissioner Jack Leiderman said, describing the parking elimination as "a major change."

Reschovsky suggested the city examine alternative routes for the new bike connection between Nelson Street and Gude Drive. Pressed by commissioners for specific routes, Reschovsky said it would be inappropriate to speculate, without input from Woodley Gardens residents. He said Crocus Drive and Aster Boulevard would be possible alternatives, but that residents had not had a chance to address that specific question yet.

Montgomery College also expressed opposition to the draft plan's route that passes through its Rockville campus. Don Smith, director of the college's Evening and Weekend Office, and a member of its bike task force, said the college "strongly supports" biking, noting its participation in the Capital Bikeshare program. But "it cannot compromise security by opening the perimeter fence" in the northwest area of the campus, Smith said. "Controlling access is critical to the prevention” of crime on campus, Smith argued. The college "does not endorse" the plan's proposed through-campus route for that reason, Smith said.

The solid opposition of the college to opening the fence needs to be taken into account before passing the draft plan, two commissioners argued. Commissioner John Tyner said the campus is "not to be breached in any place." Leiderman pointed out that, while the city can put any route into the plan, the college cannot be compelled to open its property. To go forward with the college segment as written, would be "exercising futility, to put something in a master plan that cannot be," Leiderman argued.

Proponents of the plan stressed the importance of bike route connectivity both within the city, and to bike infrastructure outside of it. Rockville is already ahead of most in the county in its number and route miles of bike trails. It seems realistic that the goal of more connections could be accomplished while addressing community concerns, such as those expressed at the hearing.

Leiderman moved to hold a second public hearing after the commission holds work sessions, and to keep the public record on the plan open until after that hearing is held. That would ensure the public can comment on finer details not yet known, he said. Tyner agreed, and urged citizens to get involved on the issue. Commissioner David Hill recommended the record close one week following the second hearing. Leiderman and Tyner concurred. Leiderman's amended motion passed unanimously.

Friday, April 4, 2014


The agenda for the April 9 meeting of the Rockville Planning Commission will be dominated by the potentially controversial Draft Bikeway Master Plan. Citizens may comment on the draft during a public hearing, which will be the first item on the agenda at 7:00 PM. Commissioners will then discuss the plan, and the public input, in preparation for any direction or changes they may choose to forward to the Mayor and Council.

Are you gung-ho about getting a bike lane on your street? Or concerned about what impact that will have on your street, regarding parking, lane width, safety, etc.? While few details are given in the draft, now would be a good time to make your concerns known to the commission.

The meeting will be held in the Mayor and Council chambers at City Hall next Wednesday.