Celebrate Bike Month in Takoma Park
From Erkin Ozberk, Senior Planner in the Housing and Community Development Department
You may have noticed more people riding bikes in Takoma Park lately. That’s not just due to the warmer weather but because more people are biking in the Washington area, and in Takoma Park, for commuting, errands, visiting friends, exercise, and just for fun. But don’t just take my word for it, the American Community Survey administered by the Census Bureau reports that commuting by bicycle in the 20912 ZIP code (most of Takoma Park) increased 183% between 2011 and 2014.
While traditionally people biked as a greener way to travel, these days people are turning to two wheels because it is a cheaper, healthier, more enjoyable, and sometimes faster, more convenient way to get around. Not to mention, increased biking has been shown to support local economies, as cyclists spend more dollars closer to home. With May being Bike Month, two great ways to celebrate biking is through Bike To School Day on May 4 and Bike To Work Day on May 20. Both are free community events that attract hundreds of local participants every year, ranging from everyday bike commuters to those who have been saying that this is the year to get back in the saddle.
To address the growing demand for better bikeways, the City of Takoma Park and Montgomery County are working to provide safer and more comfortable opportunities to travel by bike in both the short and long term. In the last year, bike parking at City buildings nearly doubled and Takoma Park’s first bike repair stands were installed at the Police Station and on Sligo Creek Trail. Over the next year, expect to see Capital Bikeshare expanded in the city, with two new stations at the Recreation Center on New Hampshire Avenue and at the Takoma/Langley Crossroads. Plans are being developed in both Montgomery County and the District of Columbia to complete the long-awaited Metropolitan Branch Trail along the Red Line Metro tracks, and the City is applying for grant funding to install lights to improve safety and comfort on our section of the trail. Meanwhile, the Montgomery County Planning Department is working on a Bicycle Master Plan, a longer-term vision with the goal of being the best suburban bicycle plan in the nation.
You can learn more about City’s plans and projects on the Bikeways Program page, as well as how the Takoma Park Safe Routes To School program is teaching safe and confident riding skills to students at local elementary and middle schools.