Letter to SHA in Support of Permanent Bike Lanes on University Blvd in Wheaton

In October, a group of elected officials from Montgomery County, MD sent a letter to Maryland’s Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater and MD State Highway Administrator Tim Smith, encouraging the continuation/extension of the MD193 Bike Lane Pilot. This proposal would be an alternative to removal of the lanes, which is scheduled for November 14, 2021.

Please reach out to THANK these State Senators, Delegates, and Councilmembers (below) for their support!

Here’s the letter:

Dear Sec Slater/Adm Smith,

We have been following closely the pilot MDOT SHA has been conducting along MD-193/University Boulevard with the placement of protected bike lanes.

We applaud this innovative project and have seen from the reports of our constituents and first hand how the bike lanes have slowed car traffic without any noticeable traffic congestion. Most importantly, we see evidence of how much safer the road is now for people biking, walking, using wheelchairs, and strollers. Those using the narrow sidewalk are currently several feet away from cars on University Boulevard and can safely and comfortably use that segment of the road to get to transit, walk or bike to all the amenities in downtown Wheaton, including jobs, shopping, the Wheaton Metro stop, restaurants, doctor’s offices, as well as having safer access to Northwood High School.

We have also heard from the restaurant owners of the outdoor dining area in Wheaton how the bike lanes have generated more business for them during the pandemic.

Since this pilot has been such an overwhelming success, we strongly urge MDOT SHA to continue the pilot lanes beyond November 14 indefinitely; and, while still installed, develop a plan to put in place more permanent infrastructure.

For a permanent implementation, we also urge you to extend the bike lanes further east, at least to Dearborn Avenue and the entrance to Eastern Middle School.

We also propose that you consider extending the lanes westward to downtown Kensington to extend the multimodal benefits to more residents near downtown Wheaton.

We applaud MDOT SHA’s willingness to think outside the box and to study and evaluate road treatments on State Highways that are inclusive of and make it safer for non-automobile users.

Signed,

Senator Jeff Waldstreicher

Senator Will Smith

Delegate Al Carr

Delegate Jared Solomon

Delegate Emily Shetty

Delegate David Moon

Delegate Lorig Charkoudian

Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins

Councilmember Gabe Albornoz

Councilmember Andrew Friedson

Councilmember Evan Glass

Councilmember Tom Hucker

Councilmember Will Jawando

Councilmember Nancy Navarro

Councilmember Hans Riemer

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