Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning for the National Capital Region
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region, adopted in October 2010, identifies the capital improvements, studies, actions, and strategies that the region proposes to carry out by 2040 for major bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The plan is an update to the 2006 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region, which was the first all-new regional plan specifically for bicycle facilities since 1995, and the first-ever regional pedestrian facilities plan.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), composed of governments and agencies from around metropolitan Washington, has developed this plan with the support of its Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee. The plan incorporates the goals, targets, and performance indicators for walking and bicycling from the TPB Vision (1998) and the Council of Governments' Region Forward 2050 (2010) plans.
In addition to building upon the TPB Vision, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region draws on and has been shaped by a number of regional, state, and local policy statements, plans, and studies. These include the TPB's regularly updated Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP); federal and state guidance on bicycle and pedestrian facilities; and a wealth of state and local bicycle and pedestrian plans from around the region.
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the National Capital Region is intended to be advisory to the CLRP and TIP, and to stand as a resource for planners and the public. In contrast to the CLRP, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan includes both funded and unfunded projects – projects in this plan may not yet have funding identified to support their implementation.
The plan includes 336 bicycle and pedestrian facility improvement projects from across the region, which were identified, submitted and reviewed by agency staffs of TPB member jurisdictions.
If every project in the plan were implemented, in 2040 the region will have added over 450 miles of bicycle lanes, over 630 miles of shared-use paths, hundreds of miles of signed bicycle routes (signage without additional construction), more than 80 pedestrian intersection improvements, and ten pedestrian/bicycle bridges or tunnels. A new bicycle and pedestrian crossing over the Potomac would be created, at the American Legion Bridge, and bridges over the Anacostia River would be improved for pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition, 21 major streetscaping projects would improve pedestrian and bicycle access and amenities in DC, Ballston-Rosslyn, Columbia Pike, Tysons Corner and other locations.
If it implements the projects in this plan, by 2040 the region will have over 1700 miles of bike lanes and multi-use paths, more than three times the current total.
Progress Since the 2006 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
Seventy-three projects from the 2006 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan have been completed, including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail, the DC Bike Station at Union Station, and the College Park Trolley trail. The region added 53 miles of multiuse path, and 35 miles of bike lane. This does not include projects that have been partially completed, or any privately provided facilities, or projects such as sidewalk retrofits that were too small to be included in a regional plan.
The current rate of construction is about half of what would be necessary to complete all the planned projects by 2040.
Priority Unfunded Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
Each year the Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee selects a short list of top priority unfunded or partially funded bicycle and pedestrian projects, which are recommended for inclusion in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The most recent list was adopted in October 2010. The TPB is briefed on the list annually.
Criteria for selecting the projects included pedestrian safety, transit access and bicycle network connectivity. The projects can all be completed within the 2012-2017 TIP and are considered priorities by the jurisdictions in which they are located. Although some projects have already been funded for study, none has received a full funding commitment. Estimated cost for all ten projects is $69 million.
The Subcommittee emphasized that many other worthy projects which deserve funding but are not on this short list.
The biggest projects in the list are the partially completed Metropolitan Branch Trail, which will run nearly eight miles from Union Station to Silver Spring, and the proposed expansion of Capital Bikeshare.
The ten priority projects are the following:
Arlington Boulevard Pedestrian Access to Transit and Bikeway Improvements (Arlington County)This project is for design and implementation of a series of bicycle and pedestrian safety and access improvements to the shared-use trail that parallels Arlington Boulevard, from Fairfax County to the Route 27 interchange. The project will provide much needed access and safety improvements to the corridor's transit stops.
Folly Lick/Spring Branch Regional Trail (Town of Herndon). Trail to connect the Town of Herndon to Fairfax County's Folly Lick Stream Valley Trail, and eventually to the planned Herndon-Monroe Metrorail station.
Loudoun County Parkway Shared-Use Path (Loudoun County) Path would run 4.4 miles along Loudoun County Parkway from Route 7 to Waxpool Road.
MacArthur Boulevard Shared-Use Path and Shoulder (Montgomery County) Running two miles from I-495 to Oberlin Avenue, the existing shared-use path will be upgraded, and the road will be widened to add three-foot shoulders.
Metropolitan Branch Trail (D.C.) Stretching 7.7 miles from Union Station to Silver Spring, parallel to the Red Line of the Metro.
Monocacy River Greenway Phase I (Frederick County) This planned trail will run down the Monocacy River stream valley. The priority segment is the 11 miles between Tuscarora Creek and Ballenger Creek.
Regional Bike Sharing Expansion (Regional) A proposed major expansion of the Capital Bikeshare system would add 3,578 bikes at 431 stations in the District of Columbia, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and the City of College Park.
Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail (Prince George's County) This project will extend the existing Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail south to Hyattsville and the Northwest Branch Trail. It will provide bike and pedestrian access through several residential communities and to the Riverdale Park Town Center.
Route 1 Sidewalks and Crosswalks (Prince William County) From Annapolis Way to Occoquan Road.
The Subcommittee's previous priority list was adopted in November 2009. Three projects on the 2009 list were fully funded for a total of $15,594,000.
The Washington region has become a national leader in innovative policies and designs, especially bike sharing (public self-service bicycle rental). In August 2008, the District of Columbia implemented a small 100-bike pilot bike-sharing system that was the first of its kind in the North America.
In September 2010, the District of Columbia and Arlington County launched a regional bike sharing system, Capital Bikeshare, with over 1,100 bikes available at 114 locations. As of July 2012 the system the system had grown to include over 1,500 bikes at 165 locations in the District of Columbia and Arlington. A proposed major expansion of the system would add 2,578 bikes at 331 stations in the District of Columbia, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, and the City of College Park. As the program grows other jurisdictions and agencies may choose to participate, and private or employer sponsorship of particular stations is being investigated.
Bike sharing is similar in operation and concept to car sharing. As with car sharing, bicycles are parked at a number of locations throughout the area served, and the public may use membership cards or credit cards to access the bicycles. The user may return the shared bike to any shared bike parking location. Users pay subscription and hourly charges, although often the first half-hour is free. The bicycles are typically of sturdy design, easy and comfortable to ride while wearing ordinary clothing.
Bike sharing is intended to solve the bicycle parking problem on both ends of the trip, by providing bicycles at origins and destinations across the city, while relieving the cyclist of the burden of bicycle ownership and maintenance. Bike sharing can provide local mobility for people who arrive by transit, extending the range of destinations accessible by transit.