Update on the Urban Road Code Bill 33-13

Update on the Urban Road Code Bill 33-13

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.

Stay tuned for more information about the next steps for the amended bill. In the meantime, click here to read the new bill and click here to see our blog posts from last year on the subject.

Rebecca Hertz

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Rebecca Hertz is the Assistant Executive Director of Friends of White Flint. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, Worcester Massachusetts in 2012. She completed her Master’s Degree from Clark University, as well, in Community Development and Planning in 2013. She is interested in how built environments impact the health and growth of communities. Prior to this role, she worked as a youth worker and mentor for several non-profit organizations in Maryland and Massachusetts. She grew up in Rockville, MD and has recently moved back to the region.

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