Western Workaround Testimony

Western Workaround Testimony

Below you’ll find the testimony from Friends of White Flint on the Western Workaround Mandatory Referral that’s going before the Planning board today.  Bottom line, FOWF strongly supports the Planning Staff’s recommendations to make the Western Workaround more pedestrian and bike-friendly and to ensure it fits the White Flint Sector Plan. Basically, the report says that MCDOT missed the boat on a number of issues relating to walkability, and points out in great detail how MCDOT can make the design better for pedestrians, bikes, and the disabled. Friends of White Flint hopes that MCDOT will fulfill its intent to design roads that work for everyone, not just autos, and make the changes recommended in the planning staff report.
Our testimony:
Friends of White Flint, a nonprofit organization with 1,300 supporters whose mission is to ensure the transformation of the White Flint/Pike District area into a thriving, walkable, transit-oriented urban neighborhood, strongly supports the recommendations contained in White Flint West Transportation, Phase 2, CIP No. 501116, Mandatory Referral No. MR2015029 to be discussed on September 10, 2015 Planning Board meeting.
We agree that to fully and successfully implement the White Flint Sector Plan, the design of the roads, sidewalks, and paths that are included in the Western Workaround must live up to the State’s designation of White Flint as a Transit-Oriented Development area and its designation of White Flint as a Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority area.
Specifically, we wholeheartedly endorse the following recommendations:
General Recommendations:
  • The maximum target speed for the roads to be constructed or reconstructed under this project should be 25 mph.
  • Travel lanes should have a maximum width of ten feet, curb radii should be reduced to fifteen feet unless a greater radius is needed to accommodate the design vehicle, and curb extensions must be provided at intersections on streets with parking lanes.
  • Six-inch-high, rather than eight-inch-high, curbs should be used to avoid unnecessarily reducing the usable width of the sidewalk, lengthening the pedestrian crossing distance in the allowed traffic signal cycle, and requiring more effort by handicapped persons to cross the street.
  • Construct sidewalks and paths behind handicap ramps wherever possible rather than have the ramps in the main travel path around the corner.
  • Widen all handicap ramps that accommodate bicyclists on shared use paths to ten feet wide.
  • Provide dual, directional handicap ramps at all intersections and provide median pedestrian refuges on all legs of divided roadways at intersections.
  • Medians of six feet in width or greater should be landscaped and medians of ten feet in width or wider should be planted with trees. Concrete medians narrower than six feet should be constructed with an ashlar slate formwork surface.
Market Street Recommendations: 
  • Provide curb extensions on Market Street at Old Georgetown Road and provide handicap ramps to cross all four legs of the Executive Boulevard/Market Street intersection. Locate the proposed handicap ramps to minimize pedestrian crossing distances.
  • Provide handicap ramps, a marked crosswalk, a median refuge, and a traffic signal on the south leg of Old Georgetown Road at Market Street.
  • The intersection of Executive Boulevard and Market Street should either be fully stop sign-controlled or traffic signal-controlled to ensure pedestrian safety.
East Jefferson Street Recommendations
  • Provide separated bike lanes on East Jefferson Street.
  • Consider reducing the number of turn lanes on East Jefferson Street.
  • Eliminate the proposed free-right turn lane in the southwest quadrant of the Old Georgetown Road intersection or modify it to improve pedestrian safety.
  •  Provide a marked crosswalk with handicap ramps and a median pedestrian refuge on the east leg of East Jefferson Street 450 feet west of Hoya Street at the traffic signal controlling driveways on the north and south sides of the street. Also provide a median pedestrian refuge on the west leg.
 Old Georgetown Road – south leg Recommendations:
  • Provide two-way separated bike lanes on the east side of Old Georgetown Road from Nicholson Lane to East Jefferson Street with a pavement width of eleven feet.
  • Work with SHA to narrow the proposed lane widths to ten feet.
  • Where a curb-attached sidewalk is proposed, offset the sidewalk on the west side of Old Georgetown Road from the curb by a minimum five-foot-wide landscape panel with street trees.
  • Minimize the length of landscaped median to be removed and replaced by unused, striped-out pavement.
Old Georgetown Road – east leg Recommendations:
  • Reduce the curb-to-curb roadway width of the segment between Hoya Street and Executive Boulevard to 76 feet by deleting the proposed eastbound right turn lane. Work with SHA to narrow the proposed lane widths to ten feet.
  • Separated bike lanes would provide a better accommodation than the planned on-road bike lanes and a shared-use path without requiring any additional space.
  • Provide dual directional handicap ramps in the southwest corner of the Executive Boulevard Extended/Grand Park Avenue intersection and a median pedestrian refuge should be provided on all four legs of the intersection.
Executive Boulevard Extended Recommendations:
  • Reconsider building separated bike lanes on Executive Boulevard Extended from 300 feet south of Marinelli Road to Old Georgetown Road (east leg) in the context of providing a comprehensive bicycle facility network for White Flint. This could be accomplished by eliminating the proposed center turn lane, as well as reducing the width of the travel lanes to ten feet. If the center turn lane cannot be eliminated, consider other modifications to the typical section to achieve the separated bike lanes.
Hoya Street Recommendations:
  • Widen the median on the south leg of Hoya Street at Montrose Parkway to six feet and provide a median refuge.
  • Convert the shared use path to two-way separated bike lanes on the east side of Hoya Street with a pavement width of eleven feet.
  • Work with SHA to narrow the proposed lane widths to ten feet.
We strongly urge MCDOT and SHA to follow these recommendations to ensure that pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars can safely co-exist and to enable the White Flint/Pike District area to transform into a vibrant smart growth neighborhood.

Amy Ginsburg

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