Add riding your bike down Ellsworth on weekends to the list of acts prohibited by Downtown Silver Spring security guards. While I don't know if this is a new rule, it is but another item on the ever-growing list of verboten activities that already includes taking photos, breastfeeding and skateboarding.* Hustling candy and harassing passersby outside the Majestic are still ok, though I do seem to hear fewer complaints about the latter.
Reader LW shared her experiences when attempting to pass through DTSS on her bicycle:
I regularly bike commute from Silver Spring to Bethesda, and back, and often on the weekends like to ride in Rock Creek Park. On my commute I ride up and down Ellsworth, and there is never a problem, the street is open to cars and no one says anything to me. Twice I've finished a ride on a weekend and come back from Rock Creek and taken the "short cut" down Ellsworth, (instead of riding on Wayne) both times I was stopped by a security guard. The first time was in the area of Starbucks, and the guy walked right in front of me, and I stopped, not understanding why he did that. He told me that when the street is closed to traffic you can't ride your bike down it, you must walk the bike.I am admittedly unfamiliar with the particulars of county laws governing the use of bicycles on public streets temporarily closed to vehicular traffic, nor do I know if DTSS security has the authority to enforce these laws. However, it seems to me Ellsworth should be adequately wide enough to accommodate both pedestrians and bikers at most times. It's not as if someone was trying to ride a bike through City Place. (Hahahahah, as if there was any chance of running into a pedestrian in City Place!) No one really seems to understand the ambiguous legal status of the semi-privatized Ellsworth Drive, but there's the distinct possibility this might be a case of DTSS security imposing an arbitrary rule on a taxpayer-funded thoroughfare.
Interestingly, the "Silver Spring is Bike Friendly" flyer (PDF) put out by the county displays a photo of a biker on Ellsworth, though they are not actually in the act of riding.
The same flyer also declares that "Silver Sprung" is "Fun for Cyclists and Pedestrians Year Round", though maybe that excludes Ellsworth on particular days of the week.
While we're on the subjects of biking, for those who haven't seen this before, Silver Spring once held had the honor of being the home of "America's stupidest bike lane", located just blocks from Ellsworth. (The Silver Spring part of the video starts at about 2:30.)
* Remember back when the lack of a big skatepark was the issue du jour in Silver Spring? It looks like that movement has petered out. Both its blog and Facebook page have had essentially zero activity in the last two years. We miss you Skatermom!
And here's our existing way-over-capacity skatepark, blowing up on a recent weekend afternoon: