The Mayor and Council in October moved forward with plans to make two Rockville Town Center thoroughfares friendlier to businesses, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The changes to East Middle Lane and North Washington Street, developed through a consultant’s study, follow recommendations for improving the vitality of Rockville Town Center made by a panel of Urban Land Institute experts who visited the city in July 2019.

The Mayor and Council directed staff to proceed with an option for East Middle Lane between MD 355 and North Washington Street (Option A in the staff report) that has one travel lane, buffered curbside bike lanes, and a parking lane between the travel lane and bike lane buffer.

The selected option for North Washington Street between MD 28 and MD 355 (Option C) includes single travel lanes and buffered bike lanes on both sides, and a parking lane on the northbound side. The parking lane and the northbound bike lane are to be separated with a buffer zone to provide room for opening vehicles doors without impeding the bike lane.

The design seeks to shorten crossing distances for pedestrians while reducing traffic speed and adding protected bike lanes, curbside parking and loading zones to support businesses, with minimal impacts on traffic.

“By calming traffic and making the area accessible to short-term high-turnover parking as well as safe/accessible bike lanes, a road diet in the area fosters pedestrian life for retailers, providing a greater sense of space and adding urban context to [an] area that has a mix of land uses,” the consultant’s study states. “Finally, new bike lanes within the Rockville Town Center will provide last-mile connectivity to and from designated City/County biking routes outside the Town Center core.”

The projects will be proposed as part of the Capital Improvements Program budget for Fiscal Year 2022, when the two streets are scheduled for resurfacing. See page 2 for more about the Mayor and Council’s work on the budget for FY 2022, which begins July 1.

For more, including renderings of the approved options, the consultant’s report, and video of the presentation and discussion, find the Oct. 5 Mayor and Council agenda at www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter.