MD 187 Needs Analysis from SHA

Maryland Dept. of Transportation and the State Highway Administration recently completed a comprehensive Needs Analysis for MD 187 (Old Georgetown Road) between McKinley Street in Bethesda, and Tilden Lane/Nicholson Lane in White Flint. This document outlines a long-term vision for the corridor by identifying strategies to address pedestrian and bicycle network deficiencies, enhance multi-modal safety and improve travel conditions along the corridor.

You can read the entire report here.

The study divides the corridor into seven segments and considers options for each segment to address pedestrian and bicycle deficiencies; enhance multi-modal safety; and improve travel conditions. Some of the analysis for each segment is general (e.g., paint zebra stripes at crossings) and some are more specific (e.g., eliminate particular right turns on red). The recommendations are also divided into near-term, mid-term, and long-term plans.

State Bills to Make our Roads Safer

In 2020, although there were fewer cars on the road due to Covid-19 restrictions, pedestrian and cyclist deaths continued to climb. Last year alone, 130 Marylanders lost their lives while attempting to cross our streets and there were an additional 3,022 pedestrian-involved crashes which caused injury or property damage.

First up we have HOUSE BILL 254, the Safe Access for All (SAFE) Roads Act of 2022 https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/hb0254?ys=2022RS,.

This bill addresses the disconnect between MDOT response and the goals of the Vision Zero law stems from a lack of detailed plans to address the problem and insufficient dedicated resources.

The SAFE Roads Act

  1. necessitates pedestrian and bicyclist safety countermeasures be incorporated into new, preservation, and maintenance construction projects;
  2. requires SHA conduct a thorough crash analysis of all roadways to identify high-risk intersections and corridors with serious pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities by July, 2023;
  3. using this crash analysis, requires SHA to identify gaps in safe infrastructure and engineering improvements, and develop a budget estimate and timeline to implement these improvements;
  4. provides dedicated funding of nearly $170 million in FY24 with a 10% increase each subsequent year to be included in the MD state budget for fiscal years 2024-2028 to be used specifically by the SHA to address and improve the safety of Maryland’s roads for pedestrians and bicyclists, including ADA and bicycle retrofits, sidewalk program, traffic management and safety/spot improvements;
  5. identifies pedestrian and bicyclist project planning, implementation, and program management function as a SHA budget line to expedite vulnerable road user safety engineering improvements.

Nest we have the HB0254:  State Highway Administration – Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities – Infrastructure Review (Vision Zero Implementation Act of 2022) https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/hb0254?ys=2022RS

HB0254 perfectly complements Delegate Charkoudian’s SAFE Roads Act; while the SAFE Roads Act requires a systemwide assessment to identify the most dangerous intersections and corridors using the most recent 5 years of crash data, as well as identify and implement corrective engineering countermeasures for these dangerous roadways, HB0254 requires a crash analysis of individual future fatal crashes and targeted engineering countermeasures to address specific gaps at the crash location. 

HB0254 requires SHA to:

  1. Assess each individual fatal pedestrian and bicyclist fatality occurring on SHA roadways within 6 months after the crash;
  2. Identify engineering countermeasures consistent with Safe System approach; 
  3. Consider the countermeasures that are appropriate for the highway context (e.g., urban, rural, modes of travel)
  4. Publicly post the assessment to SHA web site

To advocate for these bills, please send an email supporting HB254 and HB0254 to the following people:

Senator William C. Smith, Jr.D20Montgomery Countywill.smith@senate.state.md.usJPR Chair
Senator Jeff WaldstreicherD18Montgomery Countyjeff.waldstreicher@senate.state.md.usJPR Vice Chair
Senator Susan C. LeeD16Montgomery Countysusan.lee@senate.state.md.usJPR Member
Delegate BarveD17Montgomery Countykumar.barve@house.state.md.usT&E Chair
Delegate David Fraser-HidalgoD15Montgomery Countydavid.fraser.hidalgo@house.state.md.usT&E Member (MV&T-Chair)
Delegate Sara LoveD16Montgomery Countysara.love@house.state.md.usT&E Member (MV&T)
Delegate CharkoudianD20Montgomery CountyLorig.Charkoudian@house.state.md.usSAFE Roads bill sponsor

Bethesda Trolley Trail to Montrose Parkway Ride, Saturday September 18

Come join WABA, the Montgomery Planning Department, and Better Block Foundation on September 18th at 10am, for a family friendly, no rider left behind ride as we explore the Bethesda Trolley Trail and Executive Boulevard protected bike lanes going to the Pike District and Montrose Parkway Trail.

We’ll meet up at the Bethesda Metro Kiss n Ride lot (near the elevators going down to the Metro station) and ride to the Bethesda Trolley Trail entrance at Norfolk Street, taking the trail up to the Pike District. After a brief stop at the Montrose Parkway Trail, we will ride back on the Pike Connector trail to Wall Local Park for activities for all ages.

For more information on the Planning Department’s Advancing the Pike District Initiative and an interactive map of the Pike District Connector see their information page here. There is also even more information in the flyer from the Better Block Foundation.

Be sure to register, to help us plan for turnout.

Pike District Connector Launch Week – Volunteers Needed

Wednesday September 15, 2021 to Saturday September 18, 2021

Join the Planning Department, MCDOT, and Better Block as they sling paint, swing hammers, and get some dirt under their fingernails installing signage along the Pike District Connector, create ground murals under the guidance of local artists, and build a pollinator garden with plants, art, and seating in Wall Park. All tools will be provided. Please bring sunscreen and a water bottle and wear clothing that you don’t mind getting painted or dirty. All ages and skill levels welcome!

Visit https://montgomeryplanning.org/events/pike-district-connector-launch-week/ to learn more.

Take the Pike District Connector survey

The Montgomery County Planning Department, is partnering with the Friends of White Flint and the Better Block Foundation to add local semi-permanent art and public seating at four main intersections along this temporary one-mile connector that will link pedestrians and bicyclists from the Bethesda Trolley Trail to the Montrose Parkway Trail this summer.

The public has until May 28 to provide feedback through an online survey, so please take a quick moment and submit your thoughts by clicking on the survey button below.

MCDOT Commuter Services Announces new Bicycle Swag Bag Contest

And this week, the contest is at the Bethesda Trolley Trail

While biking the trail, take a selfie, tag us on Twitter or Instagram and you’ll be entered to win. Details=http://ow.ly/8WBi50Ega7e

How to Participate    Starting Monday, April 5 through Sunday, May 30, 2021, MCDOT Commuter Services will promote Bike To Work Day by featuring a different bike path/trail in Montgomery County each week. We’re asking bike riders to submit a favorite picture of themselves enjoying their ride along the featured trail to be entered into a weekly drawing.

 Just take a selfie or have someone take a picture of you and your bike at that week’s featured bike path/trail entrance sign or at your favorite place anywhere along the featured bike path or trail. Post your picture and tag us at @mococommuter (on Twitter or Instagram) along with the hashtag #MoCoBikes to be entered into that week’s drawing for a Bicycle Swag Bag prize. No worries if you’re not a social media user: you may also send your photos to us by email to commuter.services@montgomerycountymd.gov. Participants grant MCDOT Commuter Services permission to publish photos on our social media accounts.  Prize drawings will be held on Monday morning of the following week and winners will be notified via direct message on their Twitter/Instagram account. A consent form will be sent and your prize will be mailed to the address you provide.  One entry per person per week.   The contest is open to persons 18 years and older.  

Where and when appropriate, please remember to practice safe social distancing and wear your favorite face covering.  Please wear a helmet while riding.  Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @mococommuter  Each week the featured bike path/trail will be announced on our Twitter and Instagram accounts.   NOTE: To participate you must be a Montgomery County, Maryland resident or be an employee of a company located in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

A Vision Zero Toolkit

The Planning Department has developed a Vision Zero Community Toolkit.

Montgomery Planning’s Vision Zero Community Toolkit is a resource intended to help community members understand and advocate for specific types of road safety designs to reduce crashes involving motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. It consists of over 40 design treatments and outlines how each treatment can address road safety challenges in different contexts throughout Montgomery County. The Vision Zero Community Toolkit will help users identify which design strategies are best suited for the specific safety challenges of their neighborhood. Certain treatments are aimed at reducing vehicle speeds, while others may provide safer crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians. Because not all treatments are suited for all roadway types, this toolkit highlights which ones are most effective in a given context.

Some tools we particularly thought would enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety include:

  • Advanced Stop Lines (page 12)
  • Bike Boxes (page 20)
  • Buffered Bike Lanes (page 22)
  • Corner Radius Reduction (page 28)
  • Crossing Islands (page 30)
  • Curb Extensions/Bulb Outs (age 32)
  • High Visibility Crosswalks (page 40)
  • Leading Pedestrian and Bicycle Intervals (page 42)
  • Lighting (page 44)
  • Off-Street Trails (page 54)
  • Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (page 58)
  • Protected Intersections (page 64)
  • Raised Crossing (page 68)
  • Road Diets and Lane Width Reductions (page 74)
  • Separated Bike Lanes (page 80)
  • Shared Streets (page 82)
  • Sidepaths (page 86)
  • Tree Buffer (page 92)

Vision Zero Conference Jan 23

2020 was marked by another unfortunate milestone with 18 pedestrians and cyclists killed in traffic incidents in Montgomery County. It is clear that the county and state must do more to make walking and biking safer in all of our communities. 

Join Montgomery County Councilmember At-Large Evan Glass and Congressman Anthony Brown Saturday, January 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for a virtual Vision Zero conference to discuss road safety, the county’s efforts to implement Vision Zero and how residents can best advocate for safer streets. The event is co-sponsored by the MCCPTA, CASA de Maryland, Washington Area Bicyclists Association, Action Committee for Transit, Sierra Club Montgomery County, and the Coalition for Smarter Growth.   

These traffic fatalities are preventable, and we as a county must do more to make our streets and roads safer for all.

Use this link to RSVP: bit.ly/visionzero-townhall