This morning, the Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee is meeting to discuss the amended Bill 33-13: Streets and Roads- Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements. The committee meeting will take place at 9:30 am and will be televised on County Cable Montgomery (CCM), as well as available for viewing on the county council’s website.
Councilmember Roger Berliner and Councilmember Hans Riemer first introduced the bill to the County Council in late 2013. The first public hearing on the bill took place in January 2014. Many community organizations, individuals, residents, and civic associations sent in testimonies supporting the need for updated urban road standards and providing suggestions for improvements on the bill. Since the bill was introduced to the County Council, a multi-agency workgroup was formed to discuss, refine, and improve it. Revisions to the bill were put forth by the workgroup, which will be what the committee discusses this morning.
The bill is designed to provide standards that will make the roads in our urban areas become complete streets, which are defined as streets accessible to all users – driver, pedestrians and bicyclists alike. The bill focuses on our streets in the Metro Station Policy Areas and Road Code Urban Areas designated by Council resolutions. White Flint will be one of these areas so it’s important to keep our eyes on the policy.
Some of the changes to the bill include the maximum target speed, narrower lane width, and narrower curb radii, strengthened language of pedestrian and bicycling facilities, and the requirement that MCDOT creates a complete streets design guideline. Pertinent to our discussion about the design of Old Georgetown Road, this bill will only address county roads. Old Georgetown Road, and Rockville Pike for that matter, are both state-controlled roads that will not be subject to these amendments. But, the hope and presumption is that the state will be swayed by our municipality’s emphasis placed on these design elements.