Key to Bicycle Route Maps
- Our own desired (including existing) bike routes are marked using thin lines:
- Routes already recorded in county and city master plans are drawn as thicker solid or dotted lines.
- Thick solid lines indicate existing bike routes
- Thick dotted lines indicate
routes that are planned but not yet implemented
- Planned local community routes are not necessarily all shown;
the Master Plan of Countywide Bikeways does not address such routes
Our bike map identifies existing, planned or desired bicycle facilities
as any of the following:
Shared Roadway (red) - Bike-friendly roadways having either a bikeable shoulder,
ample space within main travel lanes (for cars to easily pass), or low car speeds
(such as residential streets).
Bicycle Lanes (blue) - Formally signed and marked marked lanes for bicycles
on (or contiguous with) the roadway.
Separated Path (purple) - A type of bikeable "shared use path" (SUP)
that has few intersections with roads and is generally away
from any roadway (except limited access roads). They are normally at
least 8’ wide and shared with pedestrians. Purple routes must have a hard surface
(i.e. a paved surface, with the exception of the C&O Canal Towpath).
Side Path (green) - A hard-surface, shared use path
(SUP) alongside a roadway,
normally at least 5’ wide and shared with pedestrians. Width and signage for
bicycles usually distinguishes this from common sidewalks.
Note: Master-planned separated paths (shown as thick lines) may
be marked either purple or green per M-NCPPC practice.
The M-NCPPC distinction is moot.
- Tentative Route (yellow) - We haven't decided what we want here yet.
These are potential routes that must be further investigated
Note that roads may be "dual facilities" - red AND green, or blue AND green.
Constraints that we would like to see applied to each type of bike route
are described on the constraints page.
Comment on Green vs. Purple
The county master plan generally calls trails maintained by
M-NCPPC "park trails"
and draws them in purple. Shared use trails that are maintained by
(normally those running next to a road or railroad) are
called "shared use path/off road" and colored green in the master plan.
However, the color scheme used by this bicycle map project
bases green & purple on a trail's interaction with car traffic,
not jurisdiction. We'll use purple for any trail that has
very limited interference from roads, including the CCT, Georgetown Branch Trail,
North Bethesda Trolley Trail, and
trails running alongside LIMITED access highways like the proposed
Montrose Parkway or the ICC.
Green in our own scheme is used for trails running alonside all other roads, where
turning cars, intersections, etc. are frequently encountered.
The distinction is important because trails away from roads create
fewer conflicts with cars and other trail users
and are therefore typically much more pleasant, less awkward, and safer for cyclists.
The include the most popular trails in the county.
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