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River Road Bike Path Moves Forward

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation intends to build a 1,200-foot, five-foot wide bike path on the north side of River Road, from Riverwood Drive to River Oaks Lane.

The county will need to acquire the land, finalize engineering and begin construction. The target completion date of the $400,000 project is Spring 2013.

The proposed construction includes a grass buffer between the edge of the road and the proposed bike path as well as landscape trees and reconstruction of a portion of the existing guardrail. Some 31 trees will be removed; 76 would have been removed from the original design.

Bruce Johnson, chief of Transportation Engineering, helped lead a public hearing held earlier this month at the Executive Office Buildings in Rockville. About 45 people attended and 18 testified.

Johnson gave the public an overview of the project, including the safety of walkers and bikers, and access to Potomac Elementary School and the C&O Canal via Swain’s Lock.

Three landowners who will be impacted by the bikeway testified as well.

Some testified that a bikeway could increase the number of bikers and hikers using the area and increase the risk of them being hit, although most of the participants at the public hearing were supportive of the project. Some bikers suggested that a five-foot-wide sidewalk/bikeway is too narrow and not a true bike path.

Some bikers say the best thing the county could do for bicyclists is improve the shoulders on River Road.

Written comments can be sent to the Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation Engineering, 4th Floor, 100 Edison Park Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.