Skip to main content

Press Releases

Montgomery County Executive Elrich to Join Dedication of First ‘Protected Intersection’ in Mid-Atlantic Region as Major Step in Connecting Silver Spring Bike Network on Monday, Oct. 7

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 3, 2019

Montgomery County Marc Elrich, who has made protecting pedestrians and bicyclists a priority, at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, in Downtown Silver Spring will join the dedication of the first “protected intersection” in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The intersection connects a new half-mile “cycletrack” completed by the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) with a previously completed section to form a 1.2-mile bikeway that protects cyclists from vehicles. The bikeway will connect directly to the Paul Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center.

Cycletracks provide physical separation between motor vehicles and bicycles and a protected intersection continues that protection through the intersection. The project also includes the first bicycle traffic signal in Maryland, where the project crosses at Colesville Road.

A ribbon cutting for the project will take place at the intersection at Spring Street and Second Avenue in Silver Spring. Among those expected to participate in the ceremonies are County Councilmember Hans Riemer, Director of MCDOT Al Roshdieh and members of the Washington Area Bicyclists Association.

There are about three dozen protected intersections in the U.S., with the nearest ones to the Washington area being in Atlanta and Boston.

The protected intersection increases separation between vehicles and pedestrians and those riding bicycles and scooters, better protecting them as stated in the goals of County’s Vision Zero initiative.

The main features of the intersection are corner islands that force drivers to slow when turning, providing improved visibility. The islands also reduce crossing distances from one side of the street to the other. These elements reduce the possibility of collisions, and if a collision does occur, the likelihood of death or severe injury is reduced because of the lower turning speeds. The new intersection also includes ADA-compliant ramps and detectable warning surfaces

The new section of the cycletrack, which runs along Wayne and Second avenues from Georgia Avenue to Spring Street, connects with the section constructed on Spring and Cedar streets in 2017.

“We are constantly working on programs and designs that will make our streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, but we know that traditional methods do not always work as well as intended,” said County Executive Elrich. “We are determined to make a difference, and on some of our busiest streets. We need to be innovative. I think that this new protected intersection will address our safety needs.”

In addition to the State’s first dedicated bicycle traffic signal that will let cyclists know that there will be no vehicles crossing their path, the project includes three floating bus stops (in which buses pick up/discharge riders in areas separated from the main roadway). Also in the project are Montgomery County’s first red-painted lane designated for bus use only. The bus lane is temporary and is in place to help buses avoid impacts during the construction of the future Purple Line bridge over Colesville Road. Vehicles other than buses will no longer be able to make right turns onto westbound Wayne Avenue.

One other feature of the project will be the County’s first digital “bikeometer” that counts the number of cyclists using the cycletrack. 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.

“I am so proud of the innovation and creativity shown by MCDOT staff as they continue to transform our transportation infrastructure to more safely accommodate all users,” said MCDOT Director Roshdieh. “We know that when we make biking safer by adding separated bike lanes, more people of all skill levels, young and old, will choose to bike. And, more people taking transit, biking or walking means fewer cars on the road, improving travel conditions and quality of life for all. Eventually, separated bike lanes will be added to the new ones to expand the low-stress bike network to even more of Downtown Silver Spring.”

Montgomery County provided the entire funding for the $1.5 million overall project. The Maryland Department of Transportation—State Highway Administration provided approvals for the bike signal and the bike crossings across Georgia Avenue (US 29) and Colesville Road (MD 384).

Planning for the intersection began in 2017. The cycletrack and the protected intersection are elements of the Silver Spring Master Plan and the recently adopted Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan.

Montgomery County has plans to create future protected intersections at Bethesda and Woodmont avenues in Bethesda and Cameron and Fenton streets in Silver Spring.

More information on the project, with graphic design images, can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-dte/projects/secondave/index.html

# # #
Release ID: 19-329
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-6532