From our mail box::
I’m writing because I know you are interested in making Montgomery County more bike-friendly, and I wanted to call your attention to Hans Riemer, who is making support for two-wheeled transportation a major part of his campaign for at at-large seat on the County Council.
Hans has an excellent chance of winning, and I can personally attest to his commitment to all forms of bicycling, as I have joined him on many hours of riding the streets of DC, the mountain bike trails of Virginia, and just about every part of Montgomery County. Here’s what Hans has said about bicycling:
"I will make biking, walking, and transit a centerpiece of my agenda on the County Council. For too long, our elected leaders have given little more than lip service to alternatives to driving. I am already a regular bike commuter, so you don't have to wonder whether I will take the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians seriously. If I'm elected to the County Council, I am fully committed to shifting the county's transportation priorities to give people high quality choices in transportation. Here's how:
* Target key bike facilities for priority funding. The county has made incremental progress on improving its bicycling and pedestrian facilities in recent years, but it has failed to move forward on crucial projects such as the Metropolitan Branch Trail to connect Silver Spring to the Capital Crescent Trail and the District of Columbia and improvements to the Bethesda Trolley Trail abutting NIH. In a time when budgets are excruciatingly tight, we can't afford to build all of the bike infrastructure we would like, but we can certainly get these critical connections finished. Without safe and convenient ways to ride through downtown Silver Spring or between Rockville and Bethesda, many people who are otherwise open to bicycling will never seriously consider riding their bike to work.
* Build the Purple Line. I strongly support the Purple Line and the accompanying improvements to the Capital Crescent Trail, including grade-separated crossings for bikers and walkers at Connecticut Avenue, Jones Bridge Road, and 16th Street. I believe that high quality walking and biking infrastructure can co-exist with a light rail line, and with careful planning both transit and the trail will benefit.
* Finish the park trails network. Paved and unpaved trails in the park system are a critical component of any strategy to make biking and walking an attractive option for recreation and transportation. The county's decision to cut the promised ICC hiker-biker trail into pieces, with large sections left incomplete or diverted onto busy roads corridors, was the wrong choice. The claim that a six-lane highway running through parkland is environmentally acceptable while adding a parallel bike trail is too environmentally destructive simply does not make sense. And unfortunately, the ICC trail is far from the only major walking and biking trail to be delayed, scaled back, or abandoned. I will fight to finish the trail network and connect it to roads with bike lanes or safe, signed bike routes.
* Commit the county to achieve specific targets for the share of all trips taken by transit, walking, or biking. I think 30 percent by 2030 would be an ambitious but achievable goal.
* Reform our Department of Transportation's mission to focus more on making great places to live. A community that is bikable and walkable is a community with a high quality of life. How many people would ride bikes if it were more safe and convenient? We should find out. Not only do we need connected, safe, separated bike lanes and trails county wide, but we should see just what we can accomplish in a city like Rockville, Bethesda or Silver Spring if we made biking a real priority. Let's build a test case for a new vision."