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Why Bike Lanes? More ‘Complete Streets’ and Benefits for All Road Users

Recent changes created new traffic patterns in Rockville Town Center and frustration for some road users.

Construction last year on North Washington Street and East Middle Lane converted two motor vehicle travel lanes on each street into one lane in each direction, added new protected bike lanes using precast concrete curbs and bike boxes along North Washington Street, widened the sidewalk along East Middle Lane, and added new on-street parking spaces. It also left some road users baffled at what all the new lines, curbs and colors mean.

A man riding a bike in a bike lane in Rockville Town Center

Rockville recognizes that change is hard. In this case, change is good. This Complete Streets approach can help move the city towards the goals of Vision Zero, a plan adopted by the Mayor and Council to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries. Complete Streets benefit all people, not just bicyclists, by:

  • Reducing crash risk by facilitating more predictable movements for motorists and bicyclists.
  • Providing a dedicated space for people to bicycle at their preferred speed without having to navigate motor vehicle traffic.
  • Increasing pedestrians’ comfort and safety by widening the buffer between motor vehicle lanes and sidewalks and reducing the number of lanes to cross.
  • Reducing opportunities for speeding vehicles.
  • Reducing automobile-related noise and pollution from fuel emissions, brakes and tires.
  • Increasing economic activity, according to a study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities. (Read it at bit.ly/NITCStreetStudy.)
  • Increasing motorists’ awareness of other roadway users.
  • Reducing crash risk between bicyclists, scooter riders and pedestrians.
  • Providing more transportation options and freedom of choice.

Learn more about Vision Zero and the associated improvement projects at www.rockvillemd.gov/VisionZero and more about biking in Rockville at www.rockvillemd.gov/bicycling.

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