Posts Tagged ‘Montgomery County’

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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The other day, I spent twenty minutes observing the crosswalk that connects the Giant and Kohl’s on Aspen Hill Road. About a month ago, while driving this route towards Georgia Avenue, I almost ran over a pedestrian who was using this crosswalk. I was on the right lane, and the pedestrian was coming from the left. The car to my left had stopped but I didn’t realize the reason why. I finally saw the pedestrian when she was almost directly in front of my car. Was I just not paying attention, or was there a design problem with this crosswalk (or both)?

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In the twenty minutes I observed this crosswalk, a total of of sixteen pedestrians crossed the road. I saw one car (traveling on the right lane towards Georgia Avenue) come to a fast halt to avoid hitting a pedestrian, just as I had done a month ago. The issue seems to be a lack of visibility for the driver on the right lane, when the pedestrian is coming from the left and there is also a car on the left lane that hides the pedestrian. Some solutions to address this include signage telling the driver to come to a stop several feet before the sidewalk, and reducing the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

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One thing that surprised me was watching fully half of the pedestrians crossing the road illegally, sometimes only a few feet away from the crosswalk.

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Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County is a lovely place to spend a spring day. With both paved and unpaved walking trails, it offers something for everyone.

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Montgomery County is running a parking lot pedestrian safety campaign. I recently received a campaign flyer in the mail. I’ve also seen Heads Up in Parking Lots signage at a county-owned lot in Wheaton. Both are good ideas, and will hopefully play a hand in reducing pedestrian collisions. However, achieving complete pedestrian safety in parking lots will require overhauling how they are designed. 

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At the Twinbrook metro station Kiss & Ride (passenger drop off) lot,  I came across a sidewalk that tilts to one side. I was the only one trying to use it; those walking in front of me opted to use the parking lot instead. I wonder if this sidewalk is ADA compliant. 

Montgomery County’s Rock Creek Trail is a 14 mile paved path for pedestrians and cyclists that meanders through Rock Creek Regional Park. Going north, it ends at Lake Needwood, and to the south it connects with Rock Creek Park (operated by the National Park Service within the District of Columbia).