Montgomery County transportation officials are moving forward with a new bike lane for Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda that has been criticized since it was proposed two years ago.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation has set aside $1 million to start designing the nearly one-mile track of bikeway, meant to connect the Capital Crescent Trail to Wilson Lane along Bradley Boulevard. It is the first part of a larger plan to build a seven-mile biking path down Wilson Lane and Persimmon Tree Road.
While there are several options, including not building the bikeway, Aruna Miller, MDOT’s facility planning manager said her department recommends an 8-foot shared-use path on the north side of the road and a four-foot-wide bike lane along both sides of the road.
The project will also prohibit parking on Bradley Boulevard.
Some residents who live along Bradley have opposed the project, saying it will remove too many trees and exacerbate existing traffic problems.
Bridgette Summers, a who lives near Bradley, said she is against it mainly because of the loss of the trees.
“I think we’ll lose the best part of the road to get a new sidewalk,” she said. “I’m not sure it’s worth it.”
A preliminary study done by the county’s Planning Department shows that as many 154 trees could be taken down for this project, 138 of them considered small — less than 24 inches in diameter.
Before moving forward with preliminary approval for the design, the County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee Chairman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Potomac said he recognizes that those living along the road will lose green space, but argued that the project will serve a greater good by reducing traffic congestion.
“There is no question it will change some of the character of that residential neighborhood,” he said Tuesday. “... But I think there is a context there.”
Bradley Boulevard sees more than 1,500 cars per day, according to a county staff report. Its Critical Lane Volume — considered the limit — is 1,600.
The total project, when completed, is expect to cost between $7 million and $9 million, according to MDOT’s website. It is expected to take two more years to design and five years to build.