Oct. 2009 Note: This webpage is no longer being supported.
Go to www.silverspringtrails.org for the new website.
A new, multi-modal transit center is being built where the Silver Spring bus station is today. This new transit center will provide access at one location for the Metro Red Line, Bi-County Transitway, MARC Commuter Rail, Metrobus, Ride-On Bus, inter-city bus, local taxi, and the CCT, MetBranch and Silver Spring Green Trails. The project plans include significant private development on the site with hi-rise apartment buildings, a hotel and transit oriented retail at street level.
From MTA Bi-County Transitway pre-preliminary concept sketch, April 2006.
A bike station was initially proposed to be an integral part of the new Silver Spring Transit Center, at a location with convenient access from the trails. Silver Spring is an ideal location for a bike station. Three regional bike trails will converge in the area's most transit oriented urban center. The Silver Spring Station is the most heavily used bus station in the State of Maryland. 57K people now use the station every day, and the estimated future demand in the new Transit Center is 100K per day by 2020.
But Montgomery County DPWT withdrew its early support for a bike station to be in the Transit Center. The new DPWT transit center design has no bike station. The DPWT transit center design also does not increase bike racks and bike lockers over the current number, even though transit center use is expected to nearly double overall by 2020 and three new regional trails are being built to meet in the transit center.
From June 7 mandatory referral staff information packet.
The bike station may survive, in spite of DPWT's unfortunate decision to withdraw its support. At a June 7, 2007 transit center mandatory referral to the Planning Board, M-NCPPC staff recommended that space be reserved in a new Jughandle Park for the bike station. The south east corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue has been used as a jughandle for buses to turn into the transit center bus bays. The jughandle will be closed to buses when the new transit center opens, and this area can be converted into a small park, appropriately dubbed "Jughandle Park". It was proposed that an area at the rear of this triangular property (at the side nearest the Discovery Building) be reserved for a future 1500 sq. ft. bike station. The bike station could provide a secure and guarded 'valet' storage area along with other features, such as a possible bicycle repairs and rentals.
on July 13, 2007 the Mont. Co. Planning Board took up the transit center design again, and agreed to trade a small park at the south end of the existing transit center for the jughandle area. This agreement clears the way for DPWT and WMATA to begin construction of the new transit center, and gives Montgomery County control of the jughandle area for the new park and possible bike station. M-NCPPC bike coordinator Chuck Kines has indicated M-NCPPC staff will need to get funding for a consultant study to define the design and determine construction cost. The bike station must be included in the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Budget as a new Department of Parks project.
The Montgomery County Parks Dept. must be convinced that it should do what DPWT refused to do - support the bike station. The bike station will not happen unless the Department of Parks can be convinced that the bike station is badly needed and that the bike station is appropriate as part of an urban park.
The bike station concept was first proven successful in California at bike stations in Berkeley, Long Beach, and Palo Alto. The concept is spreading rapidly. New stations have opened in Seattle, Denver and Chicago. The District of Columbia DOT is building a bike station at Union Station. Many of these stations are featured at www.bikestation.org.
Secure bike parking will be essential at the new transit station to support bike/transit intermodal transportation. A bike station is badly needed here.