Archive for the ‘crosswalk’ Category

I had the honor to participate in the 2017 Walking College. Taking part in this six month fellowship transformed me from an arm-chair walkability enthusiast into a full fledged community advocate for more walkable communities. The Walking College is administered by the national not-for-profit organization America Walks, through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The application period for the 2018 Walking College is coming soon. If you are passionate about walking but not sure how to make your community more walkable, here is your chance.   More information about the 2018 Walking College Fellowship can be found at:

The application process will be open from February 1st – 28th, and there’s an “Orientation to the Walking College” webinar on February 8th.  America Walks is an inclusive organization and is seeking applications from diverse individuals who are interested in getting more involved in the walking movement.


To improve pedestrian safety in my neighborhood, I’ve recently started placing work requests with the county’s Department of Transportation and with the State Highway Administration. My requests include creating a new crosswalk, installing ADA accessible pedestrian “islands” in the median, adding time on the walking signal, and installing an ADA audible signal. I am celebrating the completion of my first successful work request — the county recently repainted two crosswalks at intersections a block away from an elementary school. Here are the before and after pictures.  (Source of the “before” pictures is Google maps from a few years ago).

Intersection 1 – BEFORE:

Intersection 1 before

Intersection 1 – AFTER:

intersection 1 after

Intersection 2 – BEFORE:

intersection 2 before

Intersection 2 – AFTER:

intersection 2 after

Trails are dedicated spaces for people on foot and bike to get from point A to point B. Many trails go through a forested path, but that is not always the case. I’m more likely to use a trail if it feels safe, is well maintained, and is being used by other people too (I don’t want to be out there all alone). One issue related to trail safety is the access point — can people safely get to the trail?

Case in point: at an entrance to Rock Creek Trail on Russett Road, there is no crosswalk for people on the opposite side of the road who want to access the trail. On more than one occasion I’ve seen families with children and bikes crossing the street mid-block (illegally) to get to the trail. Where the crosswalk should be, there is a ramp that mysteriously ends directly onto a lane of traffic (you can see the ramp that leads to the trail on the Google map below, just behind the speed camera).

Rock Creek Trail entrance

Last week I put in a crosswalk request for this location with the county’s department of transportation (MCDOT). I’m thankful to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for submitting a letter of support for this project. MCDOT, let’s get this done and make it safer for people to use Rock Creek Trail.

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: )


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.

Minneapolis at Dusk

Posted: September 15, 2017 in architecture, art, crosswalk, sidewalks
Tags: ,

On a recent trip to Minnesota, I had the chance to go on a short side trip to Minneapolis. During my stroll nearing twilight, I came across jaw-dropping architecture and inviting sidewalks and streetscapes.








In Silver Spring, Maryland, I came across this colorful crosswalk:


Although the hues are different, the pattern of alternating colors  reminded me of the rainbow mountains of Gansu, China.