Rustic roads are roads in the Agricultural Reserve or rural parts of Montgomery County that exemplify the rural and agricultural character of the area. Exceptional rustic roads are roads that have such unusual and pleasing character that preservation of these roads is highly desirable.
Rustic and Exceptional rustic roads are preserved under the Rustic Roads Program, which provides a system for evaluating, protecting, and enhancing these scenic roadways. The program includes 98 roads. These roads are listed and described in the Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan and in other area Master Plans as shown below.
Visit a Rustic Road
Below are¬†a few ideas for trips along our Rustic Roads:
- Heritage Montgomery has created a video and podcast Rural Heritage Byway Tour, has an app of Life in a War Zone: Civil War History in Montgomery County and has a brochure, Community Cornerstones: A Selection of Historic African American Churches in Montgomery County Maryland. The majority of these tours and sites are in the Agricultural Reserve and are on Rustic Roads.
- Two Maryland Scenic Byways are located in Montgomery County, and they include several Rustic Roads. Travel the C&O Canal and the Antietam Campaign trails.
- Montgomery Countryside Alliance produces an Agricultural Reserve Resource Guide and interactive mapthat covers local farms, orchards, parks, equestrian facilities, historic sites, museums, and even two historic general stores.
- Countryside Artisans of Maryland host Studio Tour Days several times per year featuring paintings, prints, fiber, furniture, sculpture, and more. A number of the studios are located on Rustic Roads.
- October 2018: Congratulations to the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee on being selected for the 2018 Royce Hanson Award by Montgomery Countryside Alliance. The award recognizes the committee‚Äôs outstanding commitment toward protection of the Agricultural Reserve. View the¬†presentation.
- April 2018: The Rustic Roads Advisory Committee was joined by County Executive Leggett, Councilmembers Berliner and Elrich, and a group of supporters to celebrate the new Rustic Roads street name signs.¬†Photos
- March 2018: The RRAC thanks outgoing staff coordinator Mike Knapp and welcomes incoming staff coordinator Atiq Panjshiri.
- April 2017: View the NBC4 Meet Your Street segment on Montevideo Road, an exceptional rustic road, and the Rustic Roads program.
- April 2017: Read the¬†article about Rustic Roads from the Potomac Almanac.
- March 2017: The RRAC is pleased to release their report, 20 Years of Rustic Roads: Status and reflections on the Montgomery County Rustic Roads Program, 1996-2016. This report includes the committee’s biannual report covering 2014-2016.
- June 2016: For her senior project, Poolesville High School Global Ecology student Anelia Slavoff researched the history of Allnutt Road, which has been nominated for inclusion in the rustic roads program by the residents of the road. The RRAC greatly appreciates the excellent report Anelia wrote for the committee and congratulates her for her award winning paper.
- March 2016: The RRAC welcomed Michael Knapp as the new staff coordinator and thanked Chris Myers for his support in the last year.
- January 2016: Congratulations to RRAC member Christopher Marston and his co-executive editor, Justine Christianson, on the publication of their new book, Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering. The book is published by the National Park Service’s Historic American Engineering Record. For information on or requesting or downloading a copy, follow the link above.
- On October 19, 2015, the RRAC presented a status report to the County Council’s Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment. View the presentation here [PDF].
- Have you ever wondered how to find a rustic road? The new brown street name signs will make it easy to tell. In 2012, the RRAC and MCDOT worked together to create a special street name sign for rustic roads with a brown background. As you drive these roads, you should be starting to see the transition. It will take some time to change all of the signs, so for now, you will see both brown and green street name signs for roads in the Rustic Roads Program. In time, all of the rustic and exceptional rustic roads will be identified by their brown street name signs.
- View the Rustic Roads Biannual Report [PDF] (June 2015).
- November 2014: Staff briefed the Planning Board on the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways Update on November 20, 2014 (staff report here). Descriptions of 28 current rustic roads and consideration of 13 roads that have been nominated for addition to the rustic roads program are included in this update. Community comments may be sent to Leslie Saville and Michael Knapp (contact info below).
- Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan (1996)
This document provides information about the program, its intent, history and regulations, as well as descriptions of the initial 66 roads designated under the program.
- Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan, Clarksburg Master Plan & Hyattstown Special Study Area, Boyds Master Plan & Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan Amendment Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3¬†(2004)
Area Master Plans with Rustic Road Designations
- Clarksburg Master Plan & Hyattstown Special Study Area (1994)
- Fairland Master Plan (1997)
- Cloverly Master Plan (1997)
- Sandy Spring/Ashton Master Plan (1998)
- Potomac Subregion Master Plan (2002)
- Olney Master Plan (2005)
- Damascus Master Plan (2006)
- Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan¬†(2010)
- Ten Mile Creek Area Limited Amendment (2014)
- Sandy Spring Rural Village Plan (2015)
Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
The Rustic Roads Program is overseen by the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee (RRAC) and three agencies. The RRAC is comprised of seven citizen members who are appointed by the County Executive; they review and advise the County Executive, County Council, Planning Board, Department of Transportation, Department of Permitting Services and other county agencies on matters concerning rustic roads. Members review and comment upon roadway classifications, policies, regulations, and promote public awareness of the Rustic Roads Program.
Current members of the RRAC are:
Chair: Bob Tworkowski, Civic representative
Todd Greenstone, Farmer
Lonnie Luther, Farmer
Dan Seamans, Rural preservation
Sarah Navid, Engineer
Jane Thompson, Civic representative
Laura Van Etten, Farmer, AAC representative
Staff coordinator: Atiq Panjshiri (DPS)
Non-voting member: Leslie Saville (M-NCPPC)
The RRAC meets six or more times a year. Meetings are normally held at 6:00 p.m. in the 9th Floor Conference Room of the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD. After 6:00 pm, use the cafeteria entry on the south side of the building. Meetings are open to the public. The anticipated meeting schedule is below. To confirm the meeting will be held, to confirm the location, or to have an item placed on the agenda, please call the RRAC Staff Coordinator, Atiq Panjshiri, 240-777-6352.
- Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | agenda¬†(PDF)
- 2019 dates TBD
2018 | Tuesday, October 23, 2018 |¬†agenda (PDF) | Tuesday, August 28, 2018 |¬†agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, June 19 |¬†agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, January 23 |¬†agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, February 27 |¬†agenda¬†(PDF) |¬†Tuesday, March 27 |¬† agenda (PDF) |¬†Tuesday, April 24 |¬†agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, May 22 |¬† agenda¬†(PDF)
2017 | Tuesday, November 28 |¬†agenda (PDF) | Tuesday, October 24 |¬†agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, September 26 | agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, August 29 | agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, July 25 | Tuesday, June 27 | agenda (PDF) | Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, March 28, 2017 |¬†¬†agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, February 28, 2017¬†| agenda¬†(PDF) | Tuesday, January¬†24 | agenda¬†(PDF)
2016 | Tuesday, November 29 | agenda (PDF) | Tuesday, October 25 | agenda (PDF) |¬†Tuesday, July 26 | agenda (PDF) | Tuesday, June 28 | Tuesday, May 31| agenda | Tuesday, May 3 | agenda (PDF) | April 26 agenda¬†(PDF)¬†Note: rescheduled due to a lack of a quorum | March 22 agenda | minutes | February 23 agenda | minutes | January 26 agenda (PDF) | Note: cancelled due to storm closures
2015 | Dec 1 agenda [PDF] | minutes | Oct 27 agenda | minutes [PDF]¬†| Sept 22 agenda | minutes | Aug 25¬†agenda [PDF] | minutes | May 26 agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | April 28 agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | March 24 agenda | minutes [PDF] | February 24 agenda | minutes | Feb 3 (Jan 27 postponed due to weather) agenda [PDF] | minutes
2014 | Nov 5 agenda [PDF] | minutes | Oct 7 agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | September 3 agenda | minutes[PDF] | June 24 (no quorum) agenda [PDF] | unofficial minutes [PDF] | May 28 agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | April 28 agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | March 25 agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | February 25 agenda [PDF] |minutes [PDF] | February 11 (Jan meeting delayed by weather) agenda [PDF]| minutes [PDF] |
2013 | December | agenda [PDF] | minutes | October | agenda [PDF] | minutes | September | agenda [PDF]| minutes [PDF] | August | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | July | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | May | agenda[PDF]| minutes [PDF] | April | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | March | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | March |agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | January | agenda | minutes [PDF]
2012 | November | agenda [PDF] (originally scheduled for October 30, 2012) | September | agenda [PDF] | June | agenda [PDF] | May | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | April | agenda [PDF] | March | agenda [PDF] |minutes [PDF] | February | agenda [PDF]| minutes [PDF] | January | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF]
2011 | November | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | September | agenda [PDF]| June | agenda [PDF]| minutes[PDF] | May | agenda [PDF] | April | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF] | March | February | agenda [PDF] |minutes [PDF]
2010 | November | agenda [PDF]| minutes [PDF] | September | agenda [PDF] | minutes | May | agenda[PDF]| minutes [PDF] | April | minutes [PDF]| March | agenda [PDF] | minutes [PDF]| January | agenda [PDF] |minutes [PDF]
2008 | December | November minutes [PDF]| October minutes [PDF]| September minutes [PDF](Joint meeting with the Ag Advisory Committee and Ag Preservation Advisory Board) | June minutes[PDF] | May minutes | April 22 minutes | April 1 minutes [PDF]| February | January
The three agencies overseeing the program and their responsibilities are:
- The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
- Classifications – Master Plans and Amendments
- Subdivision review and approval
- Contact: Leslie Saville, 301-495-2194, or Leslie.Saville@montgomeryplanning.org
- Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Executive regulations and policies
- Roadway Maintenance, Division of Highway Services (240-777-0311)
- Department of Permitting Services
- Review and permitting of work in rustic roads right-of-way
- Staff Coordination with Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
- Contact: Atiq Panjshiri, 240-777-6352, or Atiq.Panjshiri@montgomerycountymd.gov
- Chapter 49, Article 8 [PDF]
- Advocacy Amendment [PDF], Chapter 49, Article 8 (effective August 11, 2016)
- Executive Regulation 21-96 (current version – July 2016 download) (previous version¬†– November 1996)
- Proposal for a Rural/Rustic Roads Program [PDF] (March 1990)
- Biennial Reports from the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
- Maryland Scenic Byways (the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and Antietam Campaign follow several rustic roads). The Scenic Byways Resource Protection Application shows the Byways corridors, resources and more.
- An excellent design resource: Sustaining the Road Less Traveled: Context sensitive solutions for work on Maryland Byways
- Another design resource that applies to many rustic roads: AASHTO’s Guidelines for Geometric Design of Very Low Volume Local Roads (ADT less than or Equal to 400)
- USDA Forest Service: Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance Practices for Dirt and Gravel Roads