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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

County Executive’s Proposed Capital Budget Includes Funds to Improve Alternatives to Interim Georgetown Branch Trail

For Immediate Release: Monday, January 29, 2018


County Executive Isiah Leggett’s proposed capital budget includes about $3 million for construction of protected bike lanes and other bicycle infrastructure improvements in Bethesda. The funds will be used to further enhance alternative routes until the Interim Georgetown Branch Trail, which is now closed, is rebuilt as part of the Purple Line project. The Trail is an extension of the Capital Crescent Trail.

Creation of an alternate alignment for the Interim Georgetown Branch Trail was a State responsibility.  However, Governor Hogan, in his effort to achieve cost savings for the Purple Line, eliminated establishment of this alignment from the scope of work for the Purple Line. To ensure that a safe route existed between Silver Spring and Bethesda, Montgomery County agreed to take on the responsibility of setting up the alternate route.  The challenge in doing so is the paucity of viable east-west routes in the area and the presence of barriers that limit the available options between the Beltway and the District Line, such as Naval Support Activity Bethesda, Columbia Country Club, Chevy Chase Club and local jurisdictions such as the Town of Chevy Chase. 

The best route is a southern option that uses local streets in the Town of Chevy Chase. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) continues to diligently work with Town officials to secure an agreement that would allow the signing of such a route through the Town of Chevy Chase.  However, bicyclists are reminded that anyone can use the public streets in the Town of Chevy Chase regardless of whether there is a signed bike path.

The only available routes that didn’t require approval of local jurisdictions are Jones Bridge Road and East-West Highway. Of those, the northern route maximized the use of existing bike routes and Jones Bridge Road was deemed safer than East-West Highway. Jones Bridge Road was also preferred over East-West Highway by residents attending a public meeting last year concerning the alternate alignment and by members of the bicycle community who provided input during the planning of the route.  It is important to note that the portion of the designated route on Jones Bridge Road is on the south sidewalk and signs have also been added designating the shared use path on the north side of Jones Bridge Road as an option.

MCDOT has already made numerous improvements to the current interim trail by adding signs to better guide users to the designated route and refreshing pavement markings.

If the proposed capital budget is approved, the design for the Capital Crescent Surface Trail project (Bethesda Avenue, 47th Street, and Willow Lane bike facilities) is expected to be complete in fiscal year (FY) 2018, with construction in FY 2019. The design for improvements along Woodmont Avenue, Montgomery Lane/Avenue, Pearl Street and Norfolk Avenue/Cheltenham Drive will continue in FY 2019 to 2020, with construction anticipated in FY 2019 to 2021.

 

 

 

Release ID: 18-025
Media Contact: Esther Bowring 240-777-7170

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