Beyond Bike Month: City plans year-round improvements
As another year passes and winter gives in to spring, bicycling continues to be an important part of life, work, and play in Takoma Park. While the recent utilities work has created challenges for cars and bikes along Carroll Avenue, there is reason to be optimistic as new bike-friendly projects and plans in Takoma Park and beyond take shape.
In March, the city’s agreement with the Maryland Department of Transportation was executed, committing $100,000 to bike improvements in Takoma Park, including bike lanes in the Ethan Allen Gateway Streetscape project and new and improved bike parking at the Community Center and Recreation Center on New Hampshire Avenue. There will also be “sharrows” – arrows painted on the road surface to indicate a shared road for bikes and cars – along Carroll Avenue where it is too narrow for a bike lane, and on Takoma Avenue near the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT).
Meanwhile, the District of Columbia is moving forward to extend the MBT north from Fort Totten Metro into Maryland (see story on page 11), and the Montgomery County Planning Department is revamping its 10-year old Bicycle Master Plan. Takoma Park residents can celebrate Bike Month this May in Takoma Park with the following local events:
Bike to School Day
Wednesday, May 6
All Takoma Park elementary and middle school students are invited to ride their bikes to school on Bike to School Day, Wednesday, May 6. Get your bike ready for spring and summer fun. Wipe off the spider webs, check the tires, brakes and chain and be sure to strap on your helmet. Here’s what’s happening in Takoma Park on May 6:
Takoma Park Middle School students participating in Bike to School Day will be met with refreshments when they arrive at school. Bike related prize drawings will occur during the course of the day.
Rolling Terrace Elementary School encourages walking and biking to school every Wednesday throughout the year and especially on Bike to School Day.
Piney Branch Elementary School will meet at the Franklin apartment building parking lot, 7620 Maple Ave. at 8:45 a.m. The ride to school will start at 8:55. Maple Avenue will be closed to traffic during the ride and the Takoma Park Police will escort the bicyclists. Extra bike parking will be available in the Community Center basketball court. Students riding a bike, scooter or skateboard must wear a helmet to participate.
Piney Branch will also celebrate the #SaveKidsLives Campaign for Global Road Safety Week (May, 4-10) during ts Bike to School Day event on Wednesday, May 6. Piney Branch joins communities around the world working hard to stop deaths and injuries to children on our roads. On Bike to School Day, students, teachers, staff, parents and other community members will have the opportunity to sign the United Nations’ Child Declaration urging decision makers to take strong action to make roads safer for children.
They can also take a #safie (not a selfie – a #safie). Taking a #safie is a fun way to show your support. To take part in this campaign, download the #safie signboard, write a safety message and share it on social media including the #Safie and #SaveKidsLives hashtags. All city residents who are concerned about road safety can sign the Declaration and take a #safie. For more information about the Declaration and to download the signboard go to www.safekids.org/safe-roads-safe-kids.
Bike to Work Day
Friday, May 15
If you’ve been telling yourself this will be the year you start commuting to work by bike, then why not start on Bike to Work Day? For the past several years, thousands of commuters in the greater Washington metropolitan area have participated in this morning event to celebrate bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. Three Bike to Work Day pit stops will again be in Takoma Park, at the Gazebo in Old Takoma, on Sligo Creek Trail at New Hampshire Avenue, and at the Takoma/Langley Crossroads Professional Building (7676 New Hampshire Ave.). All three locations have been a big hit with local riders as the event grows every year. Even in last year’s torrential storms, cyclists made their way to the rain-orshine pit stops. Registration is free and participants receive a T-shirt, refreshments, and are entered into a raffle for a bicycle and other fun prizes! Register at www.biketoworkmetrodc.com.
This article appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.