On April 24, the Prince George’s County Council passed a law that requires developers to make improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists to ensure adequate public pedestrian and bikeway facilities in County Centers and Corridors.
The Washington Post article, “Prince George’s Backs Plan to ease the way of pedestrians and cyclists,” on this progressive measure, however, does not fully portray similar measures already in place in Montgomery County to improve the environment for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and trail users. Montgomery County has had similar requirements for developers for almost a decade, and has moved on multiple fronts to further strengthen measures to achieve a pedestrian, bicyclist, and transit-friendly and accessible environment.
Or try to. That’s the message of Tom Vanderbilt’s series this week on Slate about pedestrians–or without the perjorative that he points out–people walking.
He makes a point that’s long frustrated me. Sooner or later, we all walk, even if it’s only from the parking lot to the mall. Something inside us loves to stroll. What is a mall if not a re-creation of an urban boulevard and witness the success of retail neo-main streets.
But we spend so little of our time, money, and thought on establishing and securing pedestrian environments. Even the fact that I describe it as a “pedestrian environment,” as a place apart and separate, rather than woven through our lives and communties–speaks to our separation … Continue reading
As a part of the Purple Line, Montgomery County will fund upgrades to the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring. Tomorrow, the Planning Board will hear recommendations from its transportation planning staff about several issues facing the trail. After hearing testimony, the Planning Board will send recommendations to the Montgomery County Council.
The current design from the Maryland Transit Administration includes a number of improvements to the trail. The upgraded trail will be expanded to 12 feet wide, where feasible, and paved. Additionally, the trail will be extended from its current terminus at Lyttonsville 1.5 miles farther east to Downtown Silver Spring. New overpasses or underpasses will be provided over Connecticut Avenue, Jones Mill Road, 16th Street, … Continue reading
No, not the bad boys your mother warned you about, but the streets you may (try to) walk along everyday.
Transportation for America’s latest report has plenty of media-catching data:
between 2000 and 2009 more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed in the United States, the equivalent of a jumbo jet crash every month in that same time period, a pedestrian was struck by a car or truck every 7 minutes while motorist deaths have dropped 27 percent in the past decade, pedestrian fatalities have fallen at only half that rate, by just over 14 percent.
But you won’t be surprised to hear that a scant fraction of federal transportation funding distributed to states for local projects is dedicated to pedestrian safety. … Continue reading
According to articles in the Washington Post and the City Paper, the District’s Department of Transportation has taken big steps in making the city more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.
Barne’s dance crossings and hawk signals give pedestrians priority over cars at intersections, and out of a goal of 80 miles of bike lanes, 49 have been completed. The city’s bike-share program is an early success with residents and visitors. Residents find it easier and cheaper to pick up a bike at a corner station than owning their own and schleping it into their homes.
In fact, according to the City Paper, one of the biggest problems seems to be developing enough places to bike to. As they quoted Gabe Klein, Director of … Continue reading
Whether it’s the Boundary Bridge that straddles Rock Creek right outside Silver Spring or the Cabin John Bridge nestled into Glen Echo, I love the bridges our region boasts. I’m no gephyrophobiac, bridges don’t scare me one bit. But there is one bridge that makes me uneasy–and no, it’s not the Tacoma Narrows— it’s the Downtown Silver Spring Library bridge. Despite the fact the Planning Board voted 8-1 against the bridge, it has once again become part of our local discourse. Here’s why I hope thisbridge wobbles into oblivion.
It’s been argued that the proposed bridge is the best and most economic way of achieving accessibility for all. Silver Spring already has a skywalk: the bridge that … Continue reading
This Thursday, the Planning Board will review the County’s DHCA plans to upgrade the 25-year old streetscaping along Georgia Avenue between Selim Street and Silver Spring Avenue. The goals are to meet ADA standards and to install new soil panels that will help street trees reach full maturity.
But it’s more than a matter of setting in a few bricks and new trees. The design of the sidewalk space and its elements has to mediate among the needs of all users. Business owners want trees that don’t obscure their storefronts and signs. Curb edges and varied paving materials can hold up wheelchair users but can help blind pedestrians navigate. Agencies undertaking the work, trying to make the most out of … Continue reading
At the second event of the Rethink speaker’s series, Casey Anderson of WABA and Richard Layman of Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space talked about making (or trying to make) the suburbs more bike friendly for cyclists, both commuters and recreational riders.
Anderson has interviewed 10,000 federal employees about their attitudes and experiences and found some not surprising stats—potential riders are afraid of car traffic, and some surprising ones—even those who would never consider riding a bike think it’s worthwhile to invest in bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
Anderson says the take-away for policy-makers and politicians is that this is not flaky, the community will support this investment.
Layman is seeking to make cycling “irresistible,” and emphasized that a bike-friendly … Continue reading
The Coalition for Smarter Growth came out today with its Cool Communities report, that is, places that are mixed use and walkable, generating fewer auto trips and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The report has found a way to quantify diversity and local design, characteristics that are essential to community function and character, but often overlooked in more technical discussions.
Based on recommendations in the executive summary, Montgomery County seems to be doing a few things right—focusing development at Metro stations and making infill development and infill transit top priorities.
Another recommendation is to “create urban street grids” that support “walk and bicycle access to transit.” In Montgomery, all projects in most urban and suburban area include sidewalks, and outside urban … Continue reading
THE THIRD PLACE
In planning, the third place is the social realm separate from home and the workplace.
It provides an inclusive forum for dialogue crucial for civic engagement and community building.