MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — There’s controversy brewing in Montgomery County over bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda. 

The bike lanes on Old Georgetown Road turned the 6-lane highway into a 4-lane highway. People who live in the area such as Allan Ginsburg say it’s created more traffic than ever. Ginsburg says in 42 years of living in the area it has never taken him so long to get home, until the bike lanes came. Some people seem to agree with him as there’s a new petition with over 4,000 signatures calling for the removal of the bike lanes.

“I have no problem with bike lanes, but the way that they designed this, if you create more havoc than safety, what have you accomplished?” said Ginsburg.

There’s also a counterprotest with just over 400 signatures applauding the state for prioritizing safety. Peter Gray is an organizer for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Co-Chair of Montgomery County Families for Safe Streets. He says the state needs to study the bike lanes impact and also look into other solutions like lowering the speed limit.

“Before you take these things up and decide they’re a totally terrible idea, don’t do that, because as they are now, they are saving the lives of everybody who uses those sidewalks,” said Gray.

In June a University of Maryland Student– Enzo Avarenga was hit by a van while riding his bike on the sidewalk of Old Georgetown road. 17-year-old Jacob Cassell also was fatally hit on the same stretch in 2019.

The Maryland Department of Transportation sent DC News Now this statement in part:

“Our engineers estimated the safety improvements for our vulnerable users will lead to an additional one to two minutes of travel time for motorists along sections Old Georgetown Road.  We are balancing our efforts to reduce fatalities on our roadways with the travel times for motorists.  We anticipated an adjustment period for motorists to become familiar with the new travel patterns. ”