Arlington is Doing This; Should We Do This in the Pike District?

byARLnow.com — September 13, 2016 at 11:15

Pedestrian-only street in Boston, as seen in a County Board reportThe Arlington County Board is expected to take up a change to the county’s Master Transportation Plan (MTP) that would allow pedestrian-only streets.

The Board is set to consider a request to advertise hearings on the change at a meeting later this month, according to a draft proposal.

The proposal would add “Pedestrian Street” to the MTP’s existing four defined street types. A pedestrian street is described as “a car-free travel corridor that provides public pedestrian access to adjacent buildings and properties fronting the street and serves as a public meeting place and location for commerce, communication and other community activities.”

“A pedestrian street is [predominantly] paved with a hard surface suitable for walking and includes physical measures that prevent regular access by motor vehicles,” the proposal says.

There are currently no pedestrian-only streets in Arlington, but a few are proposed, including a new 18th Street corridor in Rosslyn that would replace the neighborhood’s aging skywalk system with a several blocks of a new pedestrian-only street between N. Oak Street and N. Lynn Street, with the Rosslyn Metro station in between.

In addition to pedestrian-only streets, the proposal updates the definition of an existing street type — a pedestrian and bicycle priority street. The newly-defined “shared streets” are intended to “allow people to comfortably walk within the roadway” thanks to “implicitly slow traffic speeds through the mixing of travel paths, physical measures and visual cues.”

A recently-approved plan for the Courthouse neighborhood calls for portions of 14th and 15th streets to be shared streets, primarily intended for pedestrians but open to slow-speed vehicular traffic.

Montgomery County Police to Conduct Pedestrian Enforcement Today

Pedestrian-Crossing-Sign_original In an effort to place focus on pedestrian safety, MCPD will be conducting a number of traffic enforcement operations at locations with marked crosswalks and areas that have been identified as pedestrian High Incidence Areas (HIAs) – areas with more pedestrian collisions. During this enforcement, police will be issuing citations to both drivers and pedestrians who are in violation of the law. Officers will stop drivers who do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and officers will stop pedestrians who do not cross the street at crosswalks. Also during this traffic operation, officers in uniform will stop those pedestrians and motorists who do not obey the traffic safety laws.

So when you drive today (and everyday, for that matter) on Route 355 from Germantown to Bethesda and on Georgia Avenue from Connecticut Avenue to University Boulevard be extra careful and put down the darn smartphone!

Lessons from New York City

Last week, my kids had a day off school so we decided to take an impromptu long weekend in New York City.  Now, the funny thing about being so deep in the weeds on White Flint over the last few years is that this work has started to color how I see the world around me.  Although we traversed all over the city, the only time we got into a car was to give our kids the “NYC Taxi Cab experience” and the little fitness tracker I wear went off the charts with my physical activity.  Even though we were tourists and walking more than normal, I was still quadrupling my regular days where I drive to an office and sit before driving home.

Of course, New York City is as urban as urban gets.  It’s definitely not the level we’re trying to reach with White Flint, so I don’t want to cause confusion or panic — I’m not suggesting we go off the deep end and build Manhattan in Montgomery County.  But, we must admit that New York City has figured out some innovative ways to make walking, bicycling and transit attractive options so that cars are needed less.  And, we can learn from their experiences and consider some of the ideas as we work to improve conditions here.

Something I saw all over the City were bike lanes.  Below, notice how the bike lanes are protected from traffic by parked cars, and pedestrians on the sidewalk are even further buffered.  Also – notice that there’s a trash can on every corner.  We don’t yet see these around White Flint but this is the type of amenity that the Downtown Advisory Committee is working on.

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Another street with the same bicycling amenity.

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On this more-narrow street in the West Village, there was room created for a parking lane, a travel lane and a bike lane.  Not pictured, to the far right, is a pocket park with a well-used playground.IMG_1573

Even in our old Bronx neighborhood, we found sharrows on the pavement reminding drivers to share the lane with bicyclists.IMG_1576

And, yep, we even found this  street sign in Midtown:IMG_1553

It was found here, where bicyclists even have a dedicated crosswalk:

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Taking the infrastructure seriously enough to do it right is important because by offering commuters and other travelers safe passage, we will get them out of their cars more. 

We also noticed a well-thought pedestrian refuge, created for those who couldn’t safely make it all the way across a street with the “walk” sign:

IMG_1580_1And, excellent way-finding opportunities for visitors:

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We also spent time in a most impressive public space – The High Line park. Originally an elevated freight rail line that ran along the west side of Manhattan in the early 1900’s, the tracks have been sitting empty since 1980.  About fifteen years ago, a group of residents created “Friends of the High Line” to convert the eyesore into something worthy of their neighborhood.  So, starting in 2009, sections of The High Line have been opened to the public for their free pleasure.  On the Saturday morning we visited, the foliage-lined walkway was enjoyed by visitors, residents and joggers.  Every block or two, the space would expand to offer a unique and interesting space for enjoying the city above or below.

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The train tracks are still visible next to the walkway – water fountains along the path help irrigate the myriad plants within.

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In one space where the path widens for visitors to pause and soak in their surroundings, loungers are mounted onto the tracks and can be moved for customized groupings.
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Other little pockets allow bleacher-style viewing of the streets below.
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The view, of 10th Avenue, was particularly popular among visitors and tour groups.  And, when one turns around, the Statue of Liberty is visible in the distance.
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A gift shop where all of the proceeds benefit Friends of the High Line:
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And, Friends of the High Line had some awesome events planned.  The day of our visit held two Social Soup Experiments where meal was created from all-local ingredients. Guests sat at long communal tables to enjoy community with their food. Both were sold out.
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Stay tuned tomorrow to learn how DC is looking to implement a similar public space downtown (hint.

One last relevant bit I noticed was much harder to capture well with my camera.  Those were the pedestrian-only spaces that have been created by closing off blocks here and there to traffic.  Where a diagonally-directed street crosses through the regular grid, there are sometimes little triangles created.  These are tricky intersections for vehicles, so City officials have used them for another purpose – pedestrian plazas.  The one we observed was in Herald Square, right in front of Macy’s.  But, as the NYC DOT website shows, these public plazas span all of the boroughs and have not negatively impacted traffic.  Here’s what the website says:

Streets make up approximately 25% of the City’s land area and yet, outside of parks there are few places to sit, rest, socialize, and to enjoy public life. To improve the quality of life for New Yorkers, DOT creates more public open space by reclaiming underutilized street space and transforming it into pedestrian plazas.

In addition to the plazas listed below, there are 26 plazas that are in some phase of planning, design, or construction with three additional plazas expected each year. The most high profile pedestrian plazas are improving quality of life and safety for New Yorkers and tourists at Times Square, where the City is preparing to make permanent the public space enhancements that were installed as part of a six-month pilot during the summer of 2009.

What wonderful, holistic thinking and planning!  Thankfully, because great ideas are thriving all over the country and all over the world, we need not invent many new wheels here in White Flint.  Maybe some of the innovations implemented in New York would serve us well here, too.

RESCHEDULED: White Flint Community Walking Tour

Although pedestrians must often walk in foul weather, it isn’t the ideal condition for a community walking tour.  Since tomorrow’s forecast is calling for near-certain rain, we are rescheduling the White Flint Walking Tour to Saturday, October 25th at 9:15am.  We’ll still meet at the Pike Central Farmers Market, we’ll still take about a one-mile walk around White Flint to talk about how it feels to walk and bike around here, and, we’ll still be joined by former Governor Parris Glendening of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute.

So, while we hope you’ll still venture to the market and pick up some goodies tomorrow morning, plan to join us for a walking tour on Saturday, October 25th at 9:15am.

Send any questions to info@whiteflint.org and we’ll keep you updated as the new date draws near.

Heads Up on the Sidewalk!

Even despite our best efforts at advocacy and watchdoggingness (that’s a word, right?), we periodically find that things are not exactly happening according to plan.  By “plan” I mean, the White Flint Sector Plan — that 90+ page document approved by our County’s Council and Planning Department and overwhelmingly supported by the community — which is guiding the suburban retrofit we’ve been working toward.  The first sentence of the Plan reads,

This Sector Plan vision establishes policies for transforming  an auto-oriented suburban development pattern into an urban center of residences and businesses where people walk to work, shops and transit.

Lovely, right?  So, it’s frustrating when we come across new little installations that fly in the face of this vision.  Take, for example, Old Georgetown Road in front of Pike and Rose.  I was there this weekend to glance around the first restaurant to open on the property, Del Frisco’s Grille, when I couldn’t help but notice a few things about the sidewalk.  You know, the one we’re supposed to use to “walk to work, shops and transit.”

First – can we acknowledge how awesome it is to see the transformation we’ve been working toward for over seven years?  To actually see the the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Grand Park Avenue is pretty exciting!

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But, say you’re walking downhill (west) on Old Georgetown Road – away from the Pike.  Maybe you’re moving a little faster because you’re biking on the sidewalk, a little too unnerved to challenge the traffic by riding in a travel lane.   You will notice quite an improvement from our previous sidewalk.  A great buffer separates pedestrians from traffic – I felt pretty safe standing there with my little kid.

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I walked a little farther down the sidewalk and thought my eyes were playing a trick on me.  Was something in the middle of the sidewalk (and, no, I don’t mean the orange piece of construction equipment taking a break)?  Do you see it?

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It’s such a skinny little thing that I asked my helper (that’s Charlie, everybody) to help me highlight the scary obstacle SITTING IN THE CENTER OF THE  SIDEWALK!  See it now?  (You can click to zoom in on any of these photos, by the way).

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You kind of have to be right on top of it to see it and, depending on your circumstances, that might be too late!

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This skinny pole, again, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK, was installed by Pepco, we’re told.  It attaches to the utility pole to your left for, I don’t know, stability?  That seems important but, really, Pepco?  This was the best solution you could come up with?  Someone is going to get hurt with this obstacle in the middle of the sidewalk.  I repeat:  SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET HURT WITH THIS OBSTACLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK.

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When we turned around to return to our car (yes, we drove there), something else jumped out at me.  Can someone explain why the “walk sign” is sitting in the middle of the sidewalk?

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According to our County DOT and State Highway Administration, this location is necessary so those in wheelchairs can reach the walk request button.  Again, surely we could have found a better solution here because, if one of those persons in a wheelchair wishes to turn left at that corner, they’re going to experience a significant pinch point.

While we wish these were the only spots where infrastructure is falling short, we expect there will be others.  Get your voices ready!  

If you’d like to speak out on these issue, either comment here or on social media or email your concerns to Darcy Buckley in the county’s White Flint Implementation Coordination office at darcy.buckley@montgomerycountymd.gov. Although they don’t control Pepco, that office is the best place to coordinate an improvement to these two situations.

 

 

Pedestrian/Bicyclist Advocacy

Our last Friends of White Flint meeting was focused on pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and ways we can improve them in the short-term.  Although the White Flint Sector Plan does include robust improvements in this realm, we don’t anticipate seeing many of them immediately as they’re parts of larger infrastructure and other redevelopment projects.  But, as we’re encouraging folks to get out of their cars more, we must find ways to make it safer for them to do so now.  We’re grateful that representatives from county government – Councilmember Hans Riemer and representatives from both MC DOT and the County Executive’s Office – as well as the State Highway Administration were present to offer their ears and their voices to the discussion.

From the meeting, FoWF has narrowed down on five points where we’d like to see progress.  I’ve started by sending an email to county stakeholders asking to continue the conversation.  Here are our points of focus:

  • Our community has grave concern about the intersection of Executive Blvd and Rockville Pike.  That super-block, combined with bus stops and attractions located on both sides of the road, encourage jaywalking – which has turned deadly.  What is the timeline for evaluating this stretch of road to offer safer alternatives for those crossing without a car?  Super-blocks abound in White Flint – are there safety measures we can implement now while we await full build-out?
  • How can we improve the southbound right-turn from Rockville Pike onto Executive Boulevard so drivers are more aware of crossing pedestrians?
  • How can we be of use on advocating for better bike infrastructure and, ultimately, BikeShare?
  • We have asked for one before but, on the recommendation of Councilmember Riemer at our meeting, I’d like to renew our request for a Walkability Audit. As infrastructure plans and designs are being developed, this would be a great time to ensure all bases are being covered the first time.
  • A member raised the suggestion of limiting “rights on reds” in the district.  While this move would, anecdotally, seem to reduce hazards, is that truly the case?  If so, what are the steps to implement such a change at our busier multi-modal intersections?

Of course, this is just the tip of an iceberg but we think it’s a pretty solid starting place.  We’ll keep you posted on our progress – we hope you’ll do the same as you notice other spots where safety is a particular concern.

Ever Heard of the term “Walkblocked?”

As more urban spaces where residents and community members can feel comfortable and safe biking are developed in the county, the public needs to continue learning more about biking (and pedestrian) etiquette. At the last Friends of White Flint meeting, we discussed pedestrian and biking safety. One discussion focused on the need for biking education around issues such as biking rules for cyclists and drivers alike and biking demarcations such as lanes, cycle tracks, and buffer zones.

In the past, we have discussed the terms such as sneckdowns, salmoned, and shoaling. New transportation jargon is constantly popping up. Contributors for Greater Greater Washington have been busy creating names for events and situations that arise across the urban landscape. The term “walkblock” was coined to mean “the action of a motorist that blocks access to a crosswalk or causes a pedestrian to miss the walk sign.” In addition, the term “bikefrog” means “the travel pattern that occurs when a bus has a higher top speed but a cyclist has a higher average speed, resulting in the two passing each other in an alternating pattern for several blocks.”

Check more of the team’s terms here.

FoWF Testifies in Favor of Proposed Urban Road Code Amendments

Last night, Friends of White Flint Board Member Howard Feldman testified before the County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T&E) Committee in support of the Urban Road Code Amendments proposed by Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer, who both sit on the committee. Thanks to the input of many of our members, our testimony supported the global concepts of Complete Streets and valuing all users, without purporting to be the experts on exact measurements for appropriate lane widths, etc.

We were pleased to join a wide range of advocates including the Commission on People with Disabilities, Sierra Club, Action Committee for Transit, White Flint Partnership, Montgomery County Young Democrats, Washington Area Bicycle Association, Lerner Enterprises, Coalition for Smarter Growth and Federal Realty, as well as individual citizens, in supporting the legislation.  Many who testified also offered suggestions for improvement.

Even Arthur Holmes, Director of Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation, testified that his agency endorses the goals of reducing speeds, improving pedestrian mobility and implementing the Complete Streets model.  He did, though, share many of the concerns we have also discussed – specifically the mobility of emergency and commercial vehicles and whether a blanket approach is the right one.

We thought Evan Goldman of Federal Realty, also a member of the Friends of White Flint Board of Directors, put it well when describing the places we most like to visit.  People choose walkable, vibrant cities for their travel, so we need to create that place here.  Offering roads that invite pedestrians is smart policy for residents and businesses alike.

Emailed testimony is still accepted for another week, or so.  Please email your support of the Bill to County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov and copy Councilmember Berliner at Councilmember.Berliner@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Below is the testimony from Friends of White Flint on Bill 33-13:



Testimony of Friends of White Flint

January 23, 2014

Public Hearing on Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads – Urban Road Code Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements

 

Good evening, Councilmembers.  My name is Howard Feldman and I am presenting this testimony on behalf of Friends of White Flint, a community non-profit organization that has been working on the White Flint Sector Plan since 2007.  I own a small business within the White Flint Sector and am a business representative on the Friends’ Board of Directors.

Friends of White Flint promotes a sustainable, walkable and engaging White Flint.  Our membership includes hundreds of community members including residents, civic and condominium associations, businesses and property owners and we seek consensus to achieve positive solutions.  As we enter our seventh year, we continue our trend of holding hundreds of public meetings and speaking with thousands of residents to find common ground and community support for the Plan in place today.

The vision of our award-winning White Flint Sector Plan is to “establish policies for transforming an auto-oriented suburban development pattern into an urban center of residences and businesses where people walk to work, shops and transit.”  The plan goes on to say that, “… the pedestrian experience in most of White Flint is barely tolerable.”  Today, the Council is presented with an option to improve that pedestrian experience.

The term “Complete Streets” has been ubiquitous in our work.  This is a concept that calls for our roads and streets to value all users, not just the ones driving cars.  After all, it’s not the car that needs to get to work.  It’s the person.  Giving people more safe options to get around is a primary goal of the White Flint Sector Plan and we believe this legislation moves our county in the right direction.

This is not only a social and economic issue; it’s also a public health issue.  The American Public Health Association has addressed the Complete Streets movement after determining that 11.4% of all transportation-related fatalities in 2009 were pedestrians struck and killed by motor vehicles. They determined that less than 1% of pedestrians ages 72 and older are able to walk at the speeds required to cross most intersections safely. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 14 and, in 19% of these fatalities, the children involved were pedestrians.

These road code amendments are necessary to improve the pedestrian experience in our county’s urban areas.  Doing things like narrowing travel lanes and limiting speeds will naturally slow  traffic.  Implementing changes in curb radii and adding pedestrian refuges will allow walkers to cross the street more comfortably.  These are important changes to roads that have valued only cars for too long.

We understand that these proposals are not without controversy but, rather than viewing these concerns as barriers, why not view them as opportunities for creative solutions?   Urban areas around the world have made the changes contemplated by this legislation and instead of scrapping the potential for progress, these jurisdictions have found ways to make them work.    If we’re designing our urban areas for the future, we need to be bold and brave and willing to tackle these challenges without throwing up our hands at the first wrinkle.

Car has long been king in our county’s urban areas.  But, just as we are introducing a new mix of uses in these places, we must prepare for a new mix of users.  That means giving people options to safely walk around.

We applaud Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer for their foresight in proposing these amendments and ask that the rest of the Council support this vision of investing in our future.  In order for White Flint to reach its potential, it must have the most forward-thinking infrastructure possible and this is an important step.

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MCDOT Plans Changes for Nebel Street

**After you finish this piece, please see the update from 3/12/14 by clicking here.**

On Tuesday morning, Kyle Liang of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation attended the latest meeting of the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee.  He shared that MCDOT has been focused on improving pedestrian safety on the east side of the White Flint Sector and will begin with a project on Nebel Street.

Nebel is not exactly a luxury travel experience at the moment. Right now, it’s a 4-lane undivided road with parking on both sides. Although the speed limit is posted at 30 mph, it’s easy to find yourself traveling much faster along the stretch between Nicholson Lane and Randolph Road. As far as trying to get across Nebel, a pedestrian’s options are limited. There’s just one uncontrolled crosswalk (meaning no stop signs, lights or signals) at Marinelli Road. The east side of the street includes some retail but is mostly industrial properties; the west side leads into the rest of the White Flint sector and is two blocks from the Metro station. As far as new projects along this stretch, LCOR’s Aurora will open this year and Foulger-Pratt, along with ProMark, is planning a residential project closer to Nicholson.

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Nebel Street looking north from Nicholson Lane. Photo by author.

According to Mr. Liang, the plan is to reduce Nebel from four lanes to three – two for travel, as before, and one for parking – the entire length from Nicholson to Randolph.  The travel lanes will be 11 feet wide, which is enough to accommodate the school buses that use this route.  Curb extensions will buffer the parking lane and will also shorten the distance for crossing pedestrians.  Median islands are also proposed to aid with crossings.

The plan includes a bike lane that will be wider than the county standard at 5.5′ or 6′, but that’s still narrower than bicycling advocates prefer.  Liang indicated that a wider bike lane might be confused by drivers as parking.  But, Nkosi Yearwood of the Planning Department, who happened to be present, made a different suggestion.  He raised the idea of putting a cycle track along this stretch.  Separated from traffic by a curb or other barrier, a cycle track would meet the requirements of the sector plan along this route.  It would also be a great connection into the White Flint Mall property, as Nebel Street is planned for extension across Nicholson.

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The intersection of Marinelli Road and Nebel Street (if driving east on Marinelli).  Photo from Google Maps.

Because most destinations are to the west of Nebel Street, MCDOT believes this is the right side for the parking lane.  This way, people won’t have to cross Nebel to access their destinations after parking their car.  But, it was noted that this is a tricky intersection already.  When drivers are heading east on Marinelli and want to turn left onto Nebel (see photo above), they’re confronted with a blind left turn because of a hill and a curve.  Add parked cars to the equation and turning drivers are at an even larger disadvantage.  Liang suggested that this intersection might be ripe for a four-way stop and, ultimately, a traffic signal.  Nebel’s intersection with Old Georgetown Road, just a few blocks north, might also eventually get a signal.  It is currently controlled by a four-way stop without a crosswalk.

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Marinelli Drive and Citadel Avenue. Photo from Google Maps.

Another intersection that was discussed at the meeting was Marinelli and Citadel, closer to the Metro station (above).  This uncontrolled crosswalk spans a wide patch of pavement where pedestrians are reported to often double back to safety after starting to cross.  Liang says he’ll ask his office to take a look at solutions that might work there.  There is not enough volume for a signal or four-way stop but, perhaps, a pedestrian refuge might help.

It’s projected that MCDOT will get started on the Nebel Street project this summer but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more.  In the meantime, send us your comments!

 

It’s Time for Montgomery County to have “Complete Streets”

If you read this blog with any frequency, you’re familiar with the term Complete Streets.  This is the planning and design model focused on moving people, not just cars.  Complete streets are those that consider all users, regardless of their mode of transportation, age or ability.  In other words, it’s the opposite of Rockville Pike.

Our posts have shared the benefits, for physical and public health as well as public policy, of adopting these practices.  And, as White Flint is on the cusp of becoming  a more walkable area, we need these planning strategies in play. Highways cutting through our downtown areas act as barriers separating east and west and prevent us from having a cohesive district.  If we want people to feel safe and comfortable leaving their cars behind, then we have to help them feel safe and comfortable as pedestrians along our streets.  Help may be on its way at the county level!

 

County Bill 33-13: Streets and Roads – Urban Road Code Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements

Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-1, which includes White Flint) has introduced legislation to update the urban road code standards and integrate better pedestrian safety improvements.  It does things like reduce the width of travel lanes, which naturally controls driving speed, and limits turning radii, which creates a more compact intersection for pedestrians to cross.  The bill also proposes 6-foot pedestrian refuges to ease road crossings and sets target speeds for urban roads.  Councilmember Hans Riemer has joined as a co-sponsor of the bill.  These amendments to the current code would force our transportation engineers to consider all of a road’s users during the design process, rather than just focus on how to move as many cars as fast as possible.

These proposals would have exciting impacts on the roads in the White Flint area.  At the moment, you can drive nearly twice as fast along Rockville Pike in White Flint as you can through downtown Bethesda.  Attempts to cross our local roads are often met with more pavement to walk than time to walk it in.  “The overarching goal of this bill is to expand and enhance the county’s complete street policy and to facilitate the implementation of pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, walkable, livable urban areas as envisioned in several of the county’s approved master plans,” wrote Councilmember Berliner in a memo to his colleagues introducing the legislation.  It’s exactly what we need!

 

Concerns Raised by the Legislation

Not everyone is as excited about the proposed legislation and there have been some specific concerns raised about the Bill.  Some are concerned that the legislation is a blanket requirement for all “urban areas” in the county.  A “one-size fits all” solution is not appealing to folks who want control over the details of every plan that comes their way.  Also, the recommended travel lane widths are, on average, a narrow ten feet, which will cause drivers to naturally slow so they stay within the lines.  But, there are some buses and other large vehicles that are wider, side window to side window, than that.

Finally, the turning radii would be shortened which could lead to a few difficulties.  First, when a fire truck responding to an emergency wants to take a corner at a high rate of speed, they won’t be able to when that corner is a tight one.   Second, a long truck (like a tractor trailer) might have trouble negotiating these turns, resulting in them popping up on the curb and sidewalk and posing a risk to the very pedestrians the legislation is trying to protect.

It’s also worth noting that this legislation would apply only to county roads, while roads like Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road are controlled by the state.  It’s everyone’s hope that the State will follow suit when designing roads within these areas so that they remain true to the vision of the surrounds.

 

Can These Concerns Be Mitigated?

Jurisdictions all over the country and all over the world have implemented planning principles like the ones proposed by Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer, so there must be creative solutions to the concerns that have been raised.  For instance, couldn’t the legislation integrate a method for awarding exceptions to the standards under certain circumstances?  This would alleviate the concerns about a “blanket approach.”  Also, White Flint will be getting its own fire station near Rockville Pike and Randolph Road.  Perhaps that equipment can be designed to navigate our urban roads more efficiently.

Transforming roads from places that prioritize moving cars into places that prioritize moving people (see the difference?) is the crux of this legislation, and at the heart of what we’re creating here in White Flint.  But, as I mentioned, we’re not the only jurisdiction making these changes.  Is it possible that these barriers being thrown up are really just opportunities for us to flex our creative muscles?  If we’re designing an area for the future, we need to be bold and brave and willing to tackle these challenges without throwing our hands up at the first wrinkle.

New York City has been undergoing a similar transition.  In case you missed it, check out this Ted Talk presented by New York City’s transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.  Bold moves can have great rewards:



 

Want to be Heard?

There are a couple of ways you can be part of the process with this legislation.  Start by reading the proposal here and the accompanying memo here.  The Council is holding a public hearing on the evening of Thursday, January 23rd.  Sign up to testify yourself by calling 240-777-7803.  Or, if you prefer, contribute toward Friends of White Flint’s testimony.  Either post here or email us with your thoughts on this exciting bit of local legislation!