In January, we reported that MCDOT had plans to calm traffic and improve the travel experience on Nebel Street. Engineer Kyle Liang of MCDOT was at the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee to share some ideas on how that might look, and he returned this month with an update on their thinking.
As a recap, Nebel Street stretches from Nicholson Lane to Randolph Road and has 47′ of pavement, curb to curb. So, the question is: how do we best use this pavement? At the moment, the road has three travel lanes (one in each direction and a center lane for left turns) and two parking lanes. Here is MCDOT’s latest proposal:
Although the graphic says 10′ travel lanes, Mr. Liang said the lanes would be 11′ wide (which makes the road add up to the full 47′ available). So, we have two travel lanes, two bike lanes and two parking lanes. At the intersections with Old Georgetown Road and Marinelli, a center turning lane will be necessary so the extra space will come from a parking lane. Because nearly all of the planned redevelopment is on the western side of Nebel, the parking there is expected to be prioritized.
Two major concerns we have:
First – the pavement narrows as the street heads north toward Randolph Road so the bike lanes are projected to just end about half a block from that intersection. Mr. Liang describes that a road sign would alert bicyclists and drivers that they are now to share the travel lane. We believe that, at a minimum, sharrows (see below) should be painted in the travel lane to really drive the point home. A bicyclist’s trip is not going to end abruptly mid-block, so we need to do everything possible to ensure their safety as they approach the intersection. A sharrow is an inexpensive way to do this.
Second – Concerns remain about the safety of turning left from Marinelli Road onto Nebel Street. Because of curves and parked vehicles, visibility is very limited and makes for a treacherous turn. The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee asked Mr. Liang to consider a three-way stop sign there to assist both pedestrians and turning vehicles. A similar move at the intersection with Old Georgetown Road has made a world of difference and was, arguably, less in need of the improvement.
Image from Google Maps
It was noted that the stop bar, which you can make out from the photo above, is set back quite far from the corner which makes it even harder to see. Mr. Liang did note the intention to add curb extensions to the eastern sides which will allow cars to move up even farther in preparation for turning and, hopefully, have better visibility in doing so.
It’s worth mentioning here that this project does not yet have final funding so these ideas are totally conceptual. But, the county does have a traffic calming budget so, if these improvements could be classified within this, we might be able to see the project completed this year. In the meantime, MCDOT is collecting comments on the proposal. Friends of White Flint plans to send a letter and we’d like your input – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here with your opinions!