Archives April 2022

How asphalt art can protect vulnerable road users

From Greater Greater Washington

This article was first published in Streetsblog.

Turns out, paint can be protection, at least when it’s done right.

Installing asphalt art on roads and intersection can cut crashes between motorists and other road users by a staggering 50%, a new study finds — and the experts behind it say it’s time for policymakers to treat this life-saving traffic-safety treatment as more than just a frill.

In a new report from Bloomberg Philanthropies, researchers analyzed crash rates and driver behavior before and after traffic-calming art projects were added to the 17 US roads and intersections for which the best possible data and imagery was available. Those projects included colorful crosswalks and curb-extending murals that visually shorten a pedestrian’s crossing distance, among other innovative designs — and notably, most of them didn’t incorporate any other hard-infrastructure improvements at the time they were painted.

Not only did the projects slash crashes involving vulnerable road users in half, they also lessened injury-causing crashes by an average of 37%, and cut overall crashes by 17%, too. Drivers even yielded to pedestrians in colorful crosswalks 27% more often, even though many intersections featured high-visibility paint before.

Those stats might seem surprising, given how rare asphalt art is in US cities — and the fact that the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices proposes banning it because of dubious safety concerns.

Many city transportation leaders, however, have touted the benefits of treating the street as a canvas for years, even if those benefits weren’t quantified until now.

Read the rest of the article here

The Farmers Market is Back at Pike & Rose

Pike Central Farm Markets is opening this coming Saturday April 30th next to Bark Social in the Pike and Rose Complex.

They will be open every Saturday until Christmas from 9:00 AM to1:30 PM.

They will have gifts, live music, and of course, the freshest local produce, meats and poultry, seafood, dairy, cheeses, bakery, pasta, prepared foods, flowers, plants and herbs. They are pet and family friendly, so please come out and connect with and support your local farmers!

Homesense Coming to Montrose Crossing

From MoCo Show

Homesense is coming to 12013 Rockville Pike in Rockville, the former site of A.C. Moore, according to Store Reporter. Homesense is owned by the same company that owns HomeGoods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx.’

Cosmopolitan magazine describes Homesense as “HomeGoods on steroids.” The chain sells furniture, rugs, lighting, kitchenware, home décor, and books.

According to it’s website, “We travel the world to bring savvy home curators an ever-changing selection and exceptional savings for every corner of their home,” and “explore a new home décor store with aisles of unexpected finds, and an ever-changing selection of famous brands and global discoveries—all with genuine value. Homesense is part of the HomeGoods family.”

At this time no opening information has been announced

Why Smart Growth Communities are Best for the Environment (in honor of Earth Day)

From the US EPA

Here are a few reasons why Smart Growth Communities (like the Pike District) are so good at protecting our environment:

  • They conserve resources by reinvesting in existing infrastructure and rehabilitating historic buildings.
  • By designing neighborhoods that have homes near shops, offices, schools, houses of worship, parks, and other amenities, communities give residents and visitors the option of walking, bicycling, taking public transportation, or driving as they go about their business.
  • A range of different housing types makes it possible for senior citizens to stay in their neighborhoods as they age, young people to afford their first home, and families at all stages in between to find a safe, attractive home they can afford.
  • Through smart growth approaches that enhance neighborhoods and involve residents in development decisions, these communities are creating vibrant places to live, work, and play.
  • The high quality of life makes these communities economically competitive, creates business opportunities, and strengthens the local tax base.

Development guided by smart growth principles can minimize air and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encourage cleanup and reuse of contaminated properties, and preserve natural lands. Where and how we develop directly affects natural areas and wildlife habitat and replaces natural cover with impervious surfaces such as concrete or asphalt. Development patterns and practices also indirectly affect environmental quality since they influence how easily people can get around.

Smart growth practices can lessen the environmental impacts of development with techniques that include encouraging compact development, reducing impervious surfaces, safeguarding environmentally sensitive areas, mixing land uses (e.g., homes, offices, and shops), promoting public transit, and improving pedestrian and bicycle amenities.

For more information on the environmental effects of development and the benefits of smart growth, see Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions between Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality (2nd edition).

light rail train in a station with people

Air Quality

Compact communities with a mix of uses and transportation options make it easy for people to choose to walk, bicycle, or take public transit instead of driving. People who choose to drive generally can drive shorter distances. Less travel by motor vehicles can reduce air pollution by smog-forming emissions and other pollutants.

Climate Change

new colorful multifamily housing along a street

Transportation options and land use patterns that reduce air pollution also cut the emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Using energy-efficient, green building techniques can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. Smart growth strategies can also help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Water Quality

plants in a rain garden next to a sidewalk

Compact development and open space preservation can help protect water quality by reducing the amount of paved surfaces and by allowing natural lands to filter rainwater and runoff before it reaches drinking-water supplies. Green infrastructure techniques, which mimic natural processes to capture, hold, absorb, and filter stormwater, can be incorporated into streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and buildings.

Open Space Conservation

dirt path leading through the woods

Preserving natural lands and encouraging growth in existing communities protects farmland, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and natural water filtration that ensures clean drinking water.

The final candidates in District 4 (and elsewhere in the county)

Now that the filing deadline has passed, in District 4, the new county council district that includes North Bethesda, here are the final candidates:

County Council District 4 (North Bethesda, Kensington, Silver Spring, Takoma Park)

  • Al Carr (D)
  • Amy Ginsburg (D)
  • Troy Murtha (D)
  • Kate Stewart (D)
  • John Zittrauer (D)
  • Cheryl Riley (R)

Learn more from Bethesda Beat

The election date has also been finalized for July 19. Early Voting will be held July 7 to July 14

If you’re going to be on vacation in July, request for a vote-by-mail ballot by Tuesday, July 12 by visiting https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov

Strathmore Avenue Project

The County Hearing Examiner released his report to the County Council today recommending approval of the Strathmore Avenue redevelopment zoning change. The County Council has 60 days to make its determination but may extend that timeframe. If the Council approves the Amendment, the community would have opportunity to engage with Planning staff and the developers during the preliminary plan development. A notice about the process is attached.The link to the report is here:

https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/OZAH/Resources/Files/pdf/reports/LMA%20H143%20Report.pdf

Notes from the end of the Maryland Legislative Session

White Flint/North Bethesda/Pike District will receive quite a lot from the state coffers. During the legisltative session that just ended, these projects were funded:

$16 million for the White Flint redevelopment project that will help support a national epicenter of computationally enabled life sciences research.  

$120 million for transportation, including funding for the County’s new bus rapid transit system (BRT), zero emissions buses, the Bethesda South Metro station entrance and a new north entrance at the White Flint Metro Station. 

You can learn about other operational and capital county funding from the state as well as new programs and laws here.

Plans approved for second phase of Woodward High construction

From Bethesda Beat

The Montgomery County school board has signed off on plans for the second phase of construction at the future Woodward High School, which will include an athletics stadium and fields.

When plans for the project were unveiled in 2019, the school district said the stadium might not be built, which would make it the only high school in the county without one. Doing so would eliminate space for parking and force the district to build a garage, which is expensive, officials said at the time.

But within three months, amid significant community pushback, MCPS changed course and shared plans for the site, which broke construction into two phases, with a stadium included in the second.

Woodward will serve as a temporary school for Northwood High in 2023 while Northwood undergoes a building project. Then, Woodward will reopen as a new high school when Northwood moves out, expected by 2026.

The roughly $180 million Woodward school will have space for about 2,200 students. It was originally designed for 2,700 students, but plans were scaled back in September as building costs increased.

Read the rest of the article at Bethesda Beat