Duh, who doesn’t want to decrease pedestrian injuries? On average, 100 pedestrians are killed and 3,000 injured every year in Montgomery County. If only there was a way to decrease those tragic numbers …
Well, what do you know? There is. We just need to put some of our main streets on a road diet.
A road diet, which is sometimes called a lane reduction, is a technique whereby the number of travel lanes and/or effective width of the road is reduced. There are many options for putting a road on a diet. Lane widths can be reduced, sidewalks can be added or expanded, cycle lanes can be added or expanded, and/or medians built.
According to the US Federal Highway Administration, ‘road diets may reduce vehicle speeds and vehicle interactions during lane changes, which potentially could reduce the number and severity of vehicle-to-vehicle crashes. Pedestrians may benefit because they have fewer lanes of traffic to cross, and because motor vehicles are likely to be moving more slowly.’
In Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, the Fourth Avenue road diet has yielded impressive street safety dividends, including a 61 percent drop in pedestrian injuries. Total crashes dropped 20 percent, and crashes with injuries were reduced by 16 percent. In Los Angeles, a York Boulevard road diet experienced a 23% reduction in collisions and a 27% decrease in injuries per mile per year.
Imagine the increase in safety for drivers, walkers, and bicyclists when we put Rockville Pike on a road diet. Something to look forward to, don’t you think?