Do You Feel Safe Walking in White Flint? MCDOT is listening

Do You Feel Safe Walking in White Flint? MCDOT is listening

At the moment, our car-centric area may not feel the most friendly to people wanting to get around in other ways.  This will improve over time as the redevelopment’s infrastructure is built out.  But, that’s a lengthy proposition.  What about folks who want to walk instead of drive now?

Although the major overhaul of a road is a multi-year, big bucks process, there are some fixes for pedestrian safety that can be made quickly by our county and state Departments of Transportation.  But, they need your comments and guidance to know where the biggest problem areas are.  So, we’re calling on our Friends for their eyes on the ground.

When you’re out and about in the White Flint area, do you notice:

  • Burned out traffic or streetlights?
  • Places where lighting is otherwise lacking?
  • Faded striping in crosswalks or intersections?
  • Sidewalks that are bumpy or otherwise in disrepair?
  • Areas where you feel particularly unsafe?

If so, post a comment here or email directly them to me at and I’ll get the information to the right folks at MCDOT.  Let’s all get involved in making this a more walkable area right now.  County Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer are doing their part.  Stay tuned tomorrow for more about legislation they’ve introduced that will move Montgomery County’s urban areas toward a model of “Complete Streets.”

Lindsay Hoffman



Steve Thornton

The street lighting along Nebel, Randolph, and Nicholson/Parklawn all suffer from poor lighting and frequent bulb outages. I periodically call these in. Sometimes they are fixed in a timely manner; sometimes not. If they are wooden, it’s Pepco. If metal, then MoCo or MD. Just FYI.

The most unsafe sidewalks are: the entire length of Rockville Pike through the district, especially near White Flint Metro, Nicholson/Parklawn (east of Rockville Pike), and to a lesser extent Old Georgetown. The problem with Old Georgetown Road is less about sidewalks and more about the need for a safe bike lane. The already narrow Parklawn/Nicholson and Rockville Pike sidewalk issues are exacerbated, because cyclists are forced to use the narrow sidewalks, since the roads are unsafe to bike on.

I had also opened a request for a traffic study for Parklawn east of the CSX track, between Boiling Brook Parkway and Randolph Road. That is a high pedestrian area with no crossings. And cars fly through the area and around curvy roads. I’ve seen many car accidents and frequent close calls between cars and pedestrians, due to the lack of traffic calming on that stretch of road. A blind resident takes her life in her hands every time she crosses. Not surprisingly MoCo has yet to conduct the study.

    Lindsay Hoffman

    Thanks for these, Steve. I’ll pass them along. I am on that stretch of Parklawn a few times everyday and always marvel that I’ve never seen a wreck. As a driver, it most definitely doesn’t feel safe.

kat c

I never feel safe trying to cross Strathmore at Jolly (by the new McMansion townhomes. Residents of the area have complained for years about the crosswalk at Jolly being ignored by drivers on Strathmore. At one point, there was a proposal to put a sidewalk on the side of the Strathmore that doesn’t have one, allowing pedestrians a safe walk to the crossing at 355 with a light–but it was pulled from the budget at least a decade ago. Also, when the townhomes went in, they rerouted the sidewalk (from Grosvenor metro up 355 toward Strathmore) so it goes behind some tall bushes. After sunset (which is 5pm in the winter), it feels very unsafe as there is no lighting–you can see that many walkers have ignored the paved path and continue to track down a path in the dirt. These bushes were cut back a few years ago, but have grown tall again. After storms, the sidewalk along 355 from Strathmore up to White Flint is always a mess. It’s always a fight to get the sidewalk along 355 in front of strathmore cleared (Strathmore argues it’s the county, the county says it’s strathmore and the townhome folks, etc) and then the bit from strathmore to the mall stays covered as well.


I wouldn’t say that I routinely feel “unsafe” walking around White Flint, only that there is so much that could be done to make the pedestrian experience better. It’s no secret that when much of present-day White Flint was developed, pedestrian access was barely an afterthought. So you have intersections like the Pike and Old Georgetown Rd., where pedestrians crossing Old Georgetown must literally turn completely aroudn to see whether any cars are zooming along the turn lane. You also get things like the mysterious parking lot at the Pike and Montrose, which offers no pedestrian access to the Pike’s sidewalk save for a trompse through a muddy field, and sidewalks that for much of the Pike run directly adjacent to traffic lanes that routinely see traffic buzzing by at 45-50 mph. And this is to say nothing of the lack of pedestrian access into many strip mall parking lots, light outages along streets such as Nebel, Parklawn and Randolph, narrow, debris-filled sidewalks and so on.

In other words, walking around White Flint is too often a frustrating-to-hostile experience. And the nearly complete lack of bike infrastructure, as noted by a previous commenter, remains a significant issue and hurdle for anyone who may want to bike through the area.

I have foudn this frustrating since I moved to the neighborhood from central DC, although I can’t profess to say that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. When you consider the tremendous number of amenities dotting the Pike and its offshoot streets (and the amenities that are on the way with all of the new development), the Metro station, the increasing density of residential projects, etc., on paper White Flint looks to be an excellent quasi-urban neighborhood. But the nearly full-on auto-focused infrastructure is a prime reason why it hasn’t fully transitioned into a truly urban locale; hopefully the efforts to correct this will be successful.

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