Friends of White Flint wants to thank MCDOT for their wonderful response to the concerns of the Planning Staff and FOWF about the Western Workaround. MCDOT staff agreed with almost everything the Planning Staff and FOWF had recommended, and we salute their commitment to a walkable, transit-oriented, bicycle-friendly Pike District.
We strongly encourage SHA to also commit to making their part of the Western Workaround equally safe and appealing for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars.
Friends of White Flint looks forward to working with both MCDOT and SHA to ensure the successful implementation of the White Flint Sector Plan.
Please find below the text of MCDOT’s response.
White FlintWest Transportation Project, Phase 2, CIP No. 501116 Mandatory Referral No. MR2015029
Comment 1: This project is critical to the success of the White Flint Sector Plan area and, by extension, to the future economic health of Montgomery County. Its current design however does not meet the intent of the White Flint Sector Plan; the State designation of White Flint as a Transit-Oriented Development area; or the designation of White Flint as a Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority area. Neither does it follow the recommendations of the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan (CTCFMP) for Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas or Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Best Practices. We believe that the project could be significantly redesigned to prioritize bicyclist and pedestrian accommodations in line with the comments enumerated below.
Response 1: The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCMCDOT) shares the vision for theWhite Flint area that includes priorities for bicycle, pedestrian and ADA accommodations. MCMCDOT appreciates the MNCPPC comments. Please see the following MCDOT responses. MCDOT will comply with many of the MNCPPC comments and coordinate with SHA on others.
Comment 2: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): The North Bethesda Transitway has an alternative alignment that runs along both legs of Old Georgetown Road within the limits of this project, as well as a planned station at the East Jefferson Street/Hoya Street intersection. A determination should be made as to whether an additional lane is needed on Old Georgetown Road south of Hoya Street and the space requirements for the planned station at this intersection so that any necessary design changes can be made before the plans are finalized.
Response 2: MCDOT will continue to work with MNCPPC staff to develop the space requirements for the proposed North Bethesda Transitway through the project limits. MCDOT believes the North Bethesda Transitway can be accommodated inWhite Flint II. Planning Staff may want to consider the need for additional ROW on the west side of Old Georgetown to accommodate the transit station when looking at the White Flint II Sector Plan.
Comment 3a: General – The Capital Improvements Program Project Description Form for this project should be modified to reflect any and all variances from the requirements of Chapter 49 of the County Code – including travel lane width, curb radii, curb extensions, and target speeds – and submitted to the County Council for approval.
Response 3a: We concur and will comply for County maintained roads.
Comment 3b: General – The maximum target speed for all roads to be constructed or reconstructed under this project should be 25 mph, per the 2014 Urban Road Code bill and theWhite Flint Sector Plan. Also in accordance with this bill, reduce travel lane widths to ten feet; reduce curb radii to fifteen feet unless a greater radius is needed to accommodate the design vehicle; and provide curb extensions at intersections on streets with parking lanes.
Response 3b: Market Street and Executive Blvd Extended will both be posted at 25 mph. For East Jefferson Street, MCDOT’s design will tie into the existing conditions, however, we will work with our Traffic Engineering Division to consider re-posting East Jefferson to 25 mph. For the SHA portions of the project along Old Georgetown Road (east and south legs) and Hoya Street, MCDOT will coordinate the proposed design with SHA to verify if 10-foot lanes and a lower posted speed limit would be acceptable. The current SHA requirement is a minimum of 11 feet for a travel lane.
Comment 3c: General – Use six-inch-high, rather than eight-inch-high curbs on this project to avoid unnecessarily reducing the usable width of the sidewalk, lengthening the pedestrian crossing distance inthe allowed traffic signal cycle, and requiring more effort by handicapped persons to cross the street.
Response 3c: MCDOT is proposing to use six-inch curbs on all County-owned roads. MCDOT will coordinate with SHA to verify if six-inch curbs can be provided on the SHA owned roadways as well.
Comment 3d: General – Construct sidewalks and paths behind handicap ramps wherever possible rather than have the ramps in the main travel path around the corner.
Response 3d: We concur and will comply.
Comment 3e: General –Widen all handicap ramps that accommodate bicyclists on shared use paths to ten feet wide.
Response 3e: We concur and will comply.
Comment 3f: General – Provide dual, directional handicap ramps at all intersections and provide median pedestrian refuges on all legs of divided roadways at intersections.
Response 3f: We concur and will provide these wherever possible.
Comment 3g: General – 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 shouldbe constructed with an ashlar slate formwork surface.
Response 3g: Agree. MCDOT will ensure that all medians six feet or wider are grass, landscaped medians. MCDOT will also plant trees in medians larger than 10 feet wide. MCDOT will coordinate withSHA to verify that ashlar slate formwork surface will be acceptable.
Comment 4a: Market Street – Provide curb extensions on Market Street at Old Georgetown Road to meet the requirements of the recent Urban Road Code changes and provide handicap ramps to cross all four legs of the Executive Boulevard/Market Street intersections. Locate the proposed handicap ramps to minimize pedestrian crossing distances.
Response 4a: We concur. MCDOT will provide curb bump outs and adjust the size/location of the handicap ramps along Market Street at this intersection.
Comment 4b: Market Street – Provide handicap ramps, a marked crosswalk, a median refuge, and a traffic signal on the south leg of Old Georgetown Road at Market Street.
Response 4b: MCDOT will re-visit with SHA MNCPPC’s suggestion for a pedestrian traffic signal at the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Market Street. A full movement traffic signal at this location has been rejected by SHA.
Comment 4c: 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.
Response 4c: MCDOT agrees that the traffic control at this location needs to be considered carefully. The need for a multi-way stop or signal controlled intersection should be determined by an engineeringstudy after the intersection is operational. In preparing for a potential future traffic signal, underground conduit will be installed at this intersection.
Comment 5a: East Jefferson Street – Provide separated bike lanes on East Jefferson Street.
Response 5a: MCDOT will provide the master plan-recommended bike lanes along East Jefferson Street within the current Limits of Work for the project.
Comment 5b: East Jefferson Street – Consider reducing the number of turn lanes on East Jefferson Street.
Response 5b: The need for a westbound right turn lane along East Jefferson Street will be evaluated along with the proposed bike lanes being incorporated into the design of this section.
Comment 5c: 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.
Response 5c: MCDOT designers and traffic engineers will reconsider the free right turn lane to determine if it can be modified. If not, MCDOT will work to provide advance signage to improve the safety of the pedestrian crossing. The existing traffic volume for this movement is 710; the 2042 Build Out volume is projected to be 1132.
Comment 5d: East Jefferson Street – 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. Provide a median pedestrian refuge on the west leg also.
Response 5d: A crosswalk will be added at this location. MCDOT designers and traffic engineers will determine the necessary modifications in the final design phase. To extend the median nose and provide a median pedestrian refuge area, MCDOT will review the driveway offsets for turning movements.
Comment 6a: Old Georgetown Road (south leg) – 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.
Response 6a: The current design exceeds the Master Plan requirements by including on road bike lanes in accordance with SHA policy, in addition to a shared use path. MCDOT would suggest we meet with MNCPPC
staff to consider this suggestion. Prolongation of this section north onto Hoya Street is complicated by the fact that the east curb is already constructed by the Pike and Rose development. In addition, review and approval by SHA would be required.
Comment 6b: Old Georgetown Road (south leg) –Work with SHA to narrow the proposed lane widths to ten feet.
Response 6b: MCMCDOT will coordinate with SHA to verify if 10- foot lanes are acceptable because the current SHA requirement is a minimum 11-foot travel lane.
Comment 6c: Old Georgetown Road (south leg) –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.
Response 6c: The transition from the existing to the proposed conditions along the west side of Old Georgetown Road at the southern end of the project does not have sufficient right-of-way available to provide the minimum five-foot -wide tree panel. The approved PDF establishes the project limits and budget.
Comment 6d: Old Georgetown Road (south leg) – Minimize the length of landscaped median to be removed and replaced by unused, striped-out pavement.
Response 6d: We concur. MCDOT designers will review the proposed improvements to, where possible, reduce impacts to the landscaped median. It may be possible to construct a landscaped median, even if only temporary, at the new location.
Comment 7a: Old Georgetown Road (east leg) – Reduce the curb-to-curb roadway width of the segment between Hoya Street and Executive Boulevard to 76 feet by removing the proposed eastbound right turn lane. Work with SHA to narrow the proposed lane widths to ten feet.
Response 7a: We concur. An additional traffic analysis determined that the eastbound right turn lane along Old Georgetown Road (east leg) at Executive Boulevard Extended can be eliminated. Once theright turn lane is removed, the width of the proposed roadway will be 76 feet. MCDOT will coordinate with SHA to verify if 10-foot lanes will be acceptable as the current SHA requirement is a minimum 11-foot travel lane.
Comment 7b: Old Georgetown Road (east leg) – Separated bike lanes would provide a better accommodation than the planned on-road bike lanes and a shared-use path without requiring anyadditional space.
Response 7b: MCDOT will consider separated bike lanes in the final design, depending upon SHA concurrence with 10’ travel lanes. The wide shared-use paths along Old Georgetown Road (east leg) arenecessary to accommodate heavy pedestrian traffic around Pike & Rose and the future development on the south side. The on-road bike lanes as designed are consistent with the Sector Plan and were part ofthe previously approved (by MNCPPC and SHA) typical road section for this segment. The on-road bike lanes also provide consistency with the rest of the proposed on-road bike lanes within the project limits.
Comment 7c: Old Georgetown Road (east leg) – 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.
Response 7c: MCDOT will look at the possibility of adding a median pedestrian refuge area on the west approach and providing dual directional handicap ramps in the southwest corner. However, there are no medians proposed on the north and south approaches of the intersection. MCDOT will consider,based on projected traffic volumes, constructing a temporary median with a single northbound left turn lane in the south approach in lieu of dual left turn lanes until such time that traffic demands require the construction of the second left turn lane.
Comment 8: Executive Boulevard Extended – 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 forWhite 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.
Response 8: MCDOT responded to earlier requests from the Implementation Committee to add a Shared Use Path along Executive Boulevard that was not included in the Sector Plan, since they were concerned about children riding to the park and aquatic center. The Executive Boulevard improvements start just north of Nicholson Lane and carry through to Old Georgetown Road. The project will tie to the existing five lane section north of Nicholson Lane. This five lane section is required to accommodate the anticipated traffic volumes. There is insufficient pavement
to restripe this section for bike lanes without widening the road. The northbound approach of Executive Boulevard at Old Georgetown Road requires a five-lane section to provide for a northbound double left turn. This volume in the heaviest peak period (2042 Build Out) is 537 vehicles. With the entire length of Executive Boulevard being approximately 1,400 feet once the appropriate turn lanes, tapers and off-peakstreet parking lanes are incorporated into the design, there is approximately 500 feet or less of ExecutiveBoulevard remaining to stripe for separated bike lanes.
Comment 9a: Hoya Street –Widen the median on the south leg of Hoya Street at Montrose Parkway to six feet and provide a median refuge.
Response 9a: MCDOT will consider widening the median to six-feet wide. However, doing so will cause a seven-foot lane shift for traffic coming through the intersection from the north. SHA and MCDOT traffic engineers will review the proposed condition and determine whether a seven-foot lane shift is acceptable.
Comment 9b: Hoya Street – 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.
Response 9b: The current design exceeds the Master Plan requirements by including on road bike lanes in accordance with SHA policy, in addition to a shared use path. MCDOT would suggest we meet with MNCPPC staff to consider this suggestion. Implementation of this suggestion along Hoya Street is complicated by the fact that the east curb is already constructed by the Pike and Rose development. In addition, review and approval by SHA would be required.
Comment 9c: Hoya Street –Work with SHA to narrow the proposed lane widths to ten feet.
Response 9c: We concur. MCDOT will coordinate with SHA to verify if 10 feet lanes will be acceptable.
Comment 10: Obtain a new Forest Conservation Exemption for Phase II to include proposed roadway modifications.
Response 10: We concur and will comply.