Acquedotto di Verona

Posted: October 20, 2017 in manhole covers
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Verona, a city of 265,000 in northeast Italy, was the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Its aqueduct was built during Roman times. Thanks to Kristine for the picture of this aqueduct lid.

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Yesterday I posed a pedestrian safety question to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett during a Virtual Town Hall Meeting. Here’s our exchange:

Adriana from Mid County 
6 years have passed since MCDOT [Montgomery County Department of Transportation] and SHA [State Highway Administration] issued the 2011 Pedestrian Road Safety Audit for the Connecticut Avenue corridor near Aspen Hill, yet the majority of the audit’s 53 recommendations haven’t been implemented. What will the county do to compel SHA to implement the much needed pedestrian safety improvements, including installation of audible signals, ADA compliant pedestrian islands, increase the crossing time (currently 20 seconds to cross 9 lanes!), and traffic calming measures along the Connecticut Avenue corridor?

Mr. Leggett

Thank you for your question. The County will continue to advocate for implementation of the recommendations to Connecticut Avenue, but we cannot compel the State to implement anything on their infrastructure. Our Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee is also keenly interested in these improvements and is also encouraging the State Highway Administration (SHA) to implement improvements to Connecticut Avenue. Although we feel that implementation of these recommendations has been too slow, we recognize that SHA has a statewide network to manage and that they have limited funding for these types of improvements.

 It is important that you convey your sentiments to members of our State Delegation who can also assist in providing additional support and resources for SHA to implement more of these types of initiatives throughout the State.

In our ongoing conversations with SHA, we will continue to encourage them to move forward with improvements recommended by the Road Safety Audit Program. Meanwhile, MCDOT has updated the pedestrian clearance interval timings for traffic signals along Connecticut Avenue between Veirs Mill Road and Bel Pre Road to the new 3.5 feet/second walking speed standard.

(The full transcript of the Virtual Town Hall Meeting can be found at: http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/LiveDisc_Trans.aspx?schdID=98 )

Along the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Washington DC there is a new monument painted on the wall of a warehouse. Created by artist Garin Baker, the monument/mural pays tribute to the African American artists and craftsmen who built the Lincoln Memorial.

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Budapest Manhole Cover

Posted: October 14, 2017 in manhole covers
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Budapest Drain Cover2

Thanks to Zita for snapping this photo while in Hungary. I like the ornate pattern in the center; it gives the utilitarian manhole cover a certain level of refinement.

crossing

Nine lanes of traffic. On one side, the neighborhood. On the other, the local supermarket and other shops that serve the neighborhood. 20 seconds for pedestrians to cross. There is no ADA accessible pedestrian island if you only make it half way. And cars are turning left while you are trying to get to the other side. If you are blind, there is no audible signal to tell you when it’s time to start crossing.

Will you make it safely across? I almost got run over as I was doing a walk audit of this intersection, where Connecticut Avenue meets Aspen Hill Road.

The county and the state transportation departments have known about these (and other) dangers to pedestrian safety on this corridor since at least 2011, when they co-authored a pedestrian road safety audit. Since then, virtually none of the recommendations of the report have been implemented.

As part of my Walking Action Plan for Aspen Hill, I plan to invite my county, state, and federal elected officials to join me on the Connecticut Avenue Crossing Challenge, so they can see for themselves how streets are failing to meet the needs of pedestrians. I will need their help to bring about the long-needed safety improvements to this corridor.

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Manhole Covers of Saint Paul

Posted: September 25, 2017 in manhole covers
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For me, one of the most exciting aspects of visiting a new city is discovering its manhole covers. It feels a little bit like treasure hunting, except in this case what I’m looking for is hidden in plain sight. Here’s what I found on my trip to Saint Paul.

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