Archives December 2019

Last chance to support Friends of White Flint in 2019

Ten percent of all charitable giving occurs in the last three days of the year. Can we count on you to make a contribution to Friends of White Flint during the last hours of 2019?

Quite simply, we exist because people like you make generous donations to our organization. No money, no mission. No money, no advocacy. No money, no blog, e-newsletter, or social media. No money, no new crosswalks or extra time to cross Route 355.

Will you please make a contribution today to support Friends of White Flint and your community? You can easily and securely make a donation to Friends of White Flint by clicking here. Every gift, large or small, makes a tremendous difference. 

With your generous financial support, Friends of White Flint will continue to be the effective, efficient organization our community needs. Please donate today.

If you’d like to go old-school and contribute via check, you can mail your contribution to: Friends of White Flint PO Box 2761 White Flint Station Kensington, MD  20891

With your help and support, this year Friends of White Flint has:

  • kept the community informed about everything happening in the Pike District/White Flint area
  • persuaded SHA to repaint crosswalks along Route 355 and install missing crosswalks
  • advocated for a second metro entrance at White Flint metro station
  • worked closely with the County Executive’s office and County Council to keep the needs of the White Flint/Pike District community front and center
  • continued to advocate for the elimination of slip lanes/hot rights, improved lighting, elimination of right-turn-on-red at Marinelli/Route 355, and other pedestrian improvements
  • convinced MCEDC and other county institutions to use the name Pike District to begin branding this area
  • led the continuing quest to change the name of the White Flint metro station to North Bethesda-Pike District
  • provided feedback on the White Flint 2 design guidelines
  • held a Pothole Patrol and then shared that information with the County
  • advocated against the building moratorium in the Walter Johnson cluster
  • helped to define the official boundaries of the Pike District
  • held placemaking events including the Pike District Promenade and a shredding event
  • provided information to various media outlets about the Pike District and vision zero
  • held community meetings about the proposed monorail and other topics
  • gave presentations to various community groups and civic associations about the White Flint/Pike District area

Some new additions to Montrose Crossing (which is located in the White Flint 2 plan area)

A Home Depot is scheduled to come to Rockville’s Montrose Crossing shopping center, a Montgomery County permitting official confirmed Thursday. This one will be different than the typical Home Depot home-improvement store in that it will specialize in custom kitchen and bathroom designs. The store will be at 12087 Rockville Pike, a space formerly occupied by Golf Galaxy. Read the rest of the story at Bethesda Beat.

Boardroom Salon for Men will be coming to Montrose Crossing in 2020. Boardroom is a high-end men’s salon that offers more than a typical barber shop– allowing your to schedule haircuts, shaves, spa services and more in a sophisticated and “masculine environment,” according to their website. Read the rest of the story at The MoCo Show.

Montgomery County Activates Newest HAWK Beacon where the Trolley Trail crosses Tuckerman Lane

This past Monday, Montgomery County activated a new crosswalk beacon called a Hawk signal at the spot where the popular Bethesda Trolley Trail intersects with busy Tuckerman Lane. HAWK stands for high intensity activated crosswalk.

This is the fourth pedestrian beacon of its kind constructed by MCDOT in the County. HAWK beacons flash yellow when a pedestrian presses the signal button, then turn solid yellow and finally red to stop oncoming motorized vehicles; pedestrians are then given a walk signal.  The newest HAWK beacon was installed following a fatal collision involving 31-year-old Jennifer DiMauro at Tuckerman Lane and the Bethesda Trolley Trail crossing. 

“As part of our ongoing effort to improve pedestrian safety, we are committed to pursuing many types of treatments that are relevant to specific road crossings,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We have confidence in the effectiveness of the HAWK beacons and will continue to examine areas across the County where they will increase safe crossings as part of the County’s Vision Zero strategy.”

Read more at WJLA-TV.

Read more at Bethesda Beat.

The Pedestrian Master Plan marches forward

The Montgomery County Planning Department recently presented to the Planning Board an update on the Pedestrian Master Plan, including a summary of initial efforts to educate the community about the plan and inform the board of the community members chosen for the plan’s Pedestrian Advisory Group. The Pedestrian Master Plan is a comprehensive project to improve pedestrian safety and comfort across Montgomery County.

You can read the entire Staff Report here, but here are a few highights:

State Highways: Meeting attendees are generally aware that there are jurisdictional issues pertaining to the roads in the county and have made the connection between state highways and unsafe pedestrian conditions. Many people asked how the PMP will handle these state roads and what can be done about them.

Utility Obstructions: The role of utility companies in creating and maintaining obstructions in sidewalks came up frequently, as did businesses – particularly café seating – encroaching into pedestrian spaces.

Funding: Funding for sidewalks and other pedestrian infrastructure was identified as a major issue. Attendees were very supportive of the plan and its ambitions but were concerned that there would not be sufficient funding provided to make progress.

Maintenance: Maintenance of existing pedestrian infrastructure and missing pedestrian infrastructure were both decried. Snow and vegetation removal were seen as problematic. In many places, with the responsibility for maintenance incumbent on adjacent property owners, pedestrian ways are maintained in a piecemeal fashion or not as all, while roads are maintained and cleared by the county and state.

Sidewalk Gaps: There were also several comments in meetings and through correspondence about missing pedestrian facilities generally and how gaps in the pedestrian network limit access to schools, parks, and other amenities.

Traffic Laws: Several meeting attendees expressed confusion about the rules of the road, specifically related to when people driving are supposed to yield to people using crosswalks. Others, aware of the rules, advised that roadway signage doesn’t improve drivers yielding to pedestrians.

Engineering: Others focused on the role traffic signals and intersection design play in pedestrian safety and comfort. Some recommended the plan look at how there often is not enough time allocated for people to safely cross the street. Attendees were concerned about intersections designed to minimize driver inconvenience at the expense of pedestrian travel time and safety – particularly those locations where crossing a street actually means crossing three streets due to missing curb ramps, pedestrian signals and crosswalks. People recommended more pedestrian scramble intersections, grade-separated pedestrian crossings, prohibiting Right Turns on Red, adding Leading Pedestrian Intervals at busy intersections and addressing pedestrian/left-turning vehicle conflicts. There was skepticism about the efficacy of flashing yellow lights for pedestrian crossings and concerns about construction closing sidewalks.

Lighting: Meeting attendees considered the lack of pedestrian-scale and intersection lighting to be both a personal safety issue and a traffic safety one.

Electric Scooters: Electric scooters were discussed at nearly every meeting. Concerns abounded about sharing pedestrian spaces with silent, fast-moving vehicles not yet governed by well-respected norms for courteous use and public storage.

Transit Access: Pedestrian transit access was front of mind for many people, particularly ensuring that pedestrian infrastructure exists to allow people to safely access Purple Line stations before it begins service. Other people called out bus stops that were either so small that people waiting for the bus blocked the sidewalk or bus stops that had been relocated to midblock locations to improve vehicle throughput at the expense of pedestrian safety and convenience.

Accessible Design: Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and creating an accessible public realm were issues regularly raised by meeting attendees.

Education/Enforcement: Education and enforcement were also frequently mentioned. Specifically, public safety announcements about stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk was mentioned. Speeding enforcement and pedestrian education were also seen as important, as was trucks and other vehicles blocking sidewalks and crossings.

Shade: Both at meetings and through written feedback, attendees voiced concerns about lack of tree canopy along sidewalks in the face of more frequent extreme heat events.

Kudos to MDSHA for this improvement in focus on multi-modal transit.

Context Driven – Access and Mobility for all Users

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Context Guide is a planning and design resource offering practitioners guidelines focused on creating safe, accessible, and effective multi-modal transportation systems.  MDOT SHA developed a unique set of six context zones based on the distinctive land use characteristics of Maryland communities.  The White Flint area appears to be considered a Suburban Activity Area/Traditional Town Center. Making use of these zones, this context guide will maintain flexibility and encourage innovation in developing design solutions that address the major issues of safety and accessibility while still considering the transportation needs of the motoring public.  

This Context Guide

  • establishes six context zones in the state of Maryland and is a framework for identifying and understanding the needs of communities across the state in each of these context zones.
  • explores the role that access and mobility play in each of Maryland’s six context zones.
  • establishes processes for implementation of standard, proactive and innovative treatments in transportation projects along state routes.
  • challenges practitioners to think critically and better respond to the unique needs of communities in Maryland.
  • refers to national and international practices, standards, guidelines and policies that have already been established in Maryland and in the overall transportation industry.

Will you support us during this season of giving?

We only ask you donations once a year; it’s just how we do things. But even though we only ask you for your support during the end-of-year period of giving, it doesn’t diminish the terrific importance of your financial support.

Quite simply, we exist because people like you make generous donations to our organization. No money, no mission. No money, no advocacy. No money, no blog, e-newsletter, or social media. No money, no new crosswalks or extra time to cross Route 355.

Can we count on you to make a contribution today to support Friends of White Flint and your community? You can easily and securely make a donation to Friends of White Flint by clicking here. Every gift, large or small, makes a tremendous difference. 

With your generous financial support, Friends of White Flint will continue to be the effective, efficient organization our community needs. Please donate today.

If you’d like to go old-school and contribute via check, you can mail your contribution to: Friends of White Flint PO Box 2761 White Flint Station Kensington, MD  20891

With your help and support, this year Friends of White Flint has:

  • kept the community informed about everything happening in the Pike District/White Flint area
  • persuaded SHA to repaint crosswalks along Route 355 and install missing crosswalks
  • advocated for a second metro entrance at White Flint metro station
  • worked closely with the County Executive’s office and County Council to keep the needs of the White Flint/Pike District community front and center
  • continued to advocate for the elimination of slip lanes/hot rights, improved lighting, elimination of right-turn-on-red at Marinelli/Route 355, and other pedestrian improvements
  • convinced MCEDC and other county institutions to use the name Pike District to begin branding this area
  • led the continuing quest to change the name of the White Flint metro station to North Bethesda-Pike District
  • provided feedback on the White Flint 2 design guidelines
  • held a Pothole Patrol and then shared that information with the County
  • advocated against the building moratorium in the Walter Johnson cluster
  • helped to define the official boundaries of the Pike District
  • held placemaking events including the Pike District Promenade and a shredding event
  • provided information to various media outlets about the Pike District and vision zero
  • held community meetings about the proposed monorail and other topics
  • gave presentations to various community groups and civic associations about the White Flint/Pike District area

A wonderful Pedestrian Town Hall

FOWF Executive Director Amy Ginsburg attended Councilmember Evan Glass’s Pedestrian Town Hall Saturday. The council room was packed with people from every corner of the county who want better and safer walking conditions.

At the Town Hall, we were told that 600 — yes, 600 — people have been injured or killed in pedestrian-automobile crashes in 2019. A truly astounding and horrible statistic.

The speakers from MCPS, MCDOT, MDSHA, Police, and County Council all pledged to enact tangible improvements.

Here’s an article WTOP ran about the seminar.

Alarmed by an increase in the number of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries, Montgomery County residents and leaders gathered for a town hall Saturday morning to discuss road safety. And it didn’t take long before the session’s importance was underscored by another incident.

“In the 15 minutes since we’ve started this conversation, someone was struck,” Councilman Evan Glass, who organized the event, told the assembly about the latest pedestrian crash. A person was seriously injured after being struck on Georgia Avenue at Plyers Mill Road in Wheaton, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services.

The town hall-style meeting comes on the heels of a Friday crash in which a 17-year-old senior at Walter Johnson High School was hit while crossing the street to board a school bus and a Thursday afternoon crash where a 9-year-old Bradley Hills Elementary School student was killed when she was hit by a school bus.

“I am scared all the time no matter if I’m driving, biking or walking,” said Rockville resident Tracy Threefoot. “Cars think they’re first so they’re speeding, a lot of bicyclists don’t always follow the rules. Everybody is guilty of something, pedestrians too.”

The number of fatal road crashes has been trending downward the past several years, but this year there’s been an uptick.

“In 2019, there have been 14 deaths on our roadways and nearly 600 incidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists,” Glass said.

The county averages about 20,000 road crashes each year, with 3,000 of those involving injury, according to Cpt. Thomas Didone, director of Montgomery County Police Traffic Division. He said there have been 32 road fatalities so far this year in the county.

“Lives matter,” said Didone, whose 15-year-old son Ryan was killed in a 2008 crash. “Someone loves them, someone cares about them.”

Didone told the gathering it’s important to consider all factors in fatal road crashes, including those involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Speed is a factor, distracted driving is a factor, alcohol use is a factor, not wearing your seat belt is a factor,” Didone said, adding that walkers and bicyclists also share responsibility for road safety. “Wearing dark clothing at night; crossing [without] watching for vehicles; crossing with your cell phone in your hand are factors.”

County leaders implored drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to make safety the highest priority.

“We need drivers to slow down and keep their eyes on the road,” Glass said. “We need to look up from our phones, lower or turn off the volume on our earbuds and be aware of our surroundings.”

There was also an article on WJLA-TV.