The Pedestrian Master Plan is Montgomery Planning’s first comprehensive vision to create safer, more comfortable experiences walking or rolling around the county, and to make getting around more convenient and accessible for every pedestrian.
he Pedestrian Master Plan provides detailed, actionable recommendations in line with national and international best practices to improve the pedestrian experience, from more and better places to cross the street to a data-driven, equity-focused approach for the county’s future pedestrian/bicycle capital investments.
To address the issues identified through the community engagement and data collection effort, the Pedestrian Master Plan’s detailed recommendations focus on how the county can systemically improve the pedestrian experience in several key ways.
- Design, Policy, and Programming recommendations will change how pedestrian amenities are designed and constructed, update the policies that guide transportation engineering in the county, and leverage opportunities for more robust traffic safety education and policy change at the state level. Examples include longer crosswalk times and more accessible sidewalks, updated lighting standards, assuming county control of certain state highways, and reimagining Safe Routes to School programming.
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Project Prioritization recommendations identify where pedestrian and bicycle capital improvement projects should be prioritized countywide, based on equity, comfortable access, safety, and other metrics.
- Pedestrian Shortcut Identification recommendations identify locations where public or private investment could shorten pedestrian trips and make the overall pedestrian network more accessible by improving dirt paths and other informal connections that have developed over time.
- Country Sidepath Identification recommendations indicate where sidepaths—shared pedestrian and bicycle pathways—should be built along roadways in the more rural parts of the county, in line with guidance in the Complete Streets Design Guide.
- Complete Streets Design Guide Area Type Classification recommendations advance the transition to new road classifications to ensure that as streets are reconstructed in the years ahead, they will be more pedestrian-friendly.
Pedestrian Conditions in Montgomery County
Project Manager Eli Glazier demonstrates some of the issues that pedestrians face when walking or rolling in Montgomery County.
Tools and Resources
Existing Conditions Report
Planning Board and County Council Presentations
In 2016, Montgomery County approved a resolution adopting a Vision Zero approach to road safety and committing to eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. Vision Zero represents a fundamental change in how we plan and design our roads, shifting from a focus on maximizing motor vehicle efficiency to ensuring that our roads are safe regardless of whether travel is by car, bus, bicycle or foot. Developing a Pedestrian Master Plan is a key action item in the County’s Vision Zero Work Plan.
The project team will prioritize countywide pedestrian infrastructure using, among other factors, a pedestrian level of comfort analysis, similar to the Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress developed for the Bicycle Master Plan. This prioritization will provide guidance to the Montgomery County Council and Montgomery County Department of Transportation in directing resources to improve pedestrian infrastructure. The analysis will also incorporate data about existing sidewalks and pedestrian crossing accessibility collected by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation.
The Plan will pay particular emphasis to those pedestrians with vision and/or mobility issues, including recommending design treatments and policies that exceed basic Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
“Pedestrian” is defined for Plan purposes as any person who travels by foot or a wheeled conveyance that is not a bicycle, including scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility devices. “Walking” is defined as “the act of being a pedestrian.”
Similar to the Bicycle Facility Design Toolkit, the plan’s guidance on pedestrian-oriented design treatments and operational approaches will be highly visual and include definitions, dimensions and tips on appropriate uses. Existing programs and public awareness events, such as Safe Routes to School, will provide opportunities for community engagement and education. Public engagement strategies will include walk audits and interactive maps to determine community priorities for access and safety.
September 2019Planning Board Scope of Work
October – November 2019Kickoff Meetings
February 2020First Community Advisory Group Meeting
Spring 2022Identify Best Practices and Existing Conditions
Winter 2022-23Prioritization of Pedestrian Infrastructure
Winter 2022-23Pedestrian Design Toolkit
Winter 2022-23Pedestrian Supportive Policies
Winter 2023Working Draft of Plan
Spring 2023Planning Board Draft
Fall/Winter 2023Montgomery County Council Review
October 2023Plan approved