County Plans for Bike and Pedestrian Safety Focus of Sept. CJCA Meeting

Cabin John residents interested in the county’s plans to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety are urged to come to the Sept. 25 citizens association meeting (starting at 7:30 at the community center) to hear county officials explain the goals of the county approved Bicycle Master Plan and a new initiative to create a countywide Pedestrian Master Plan.

The Planning Department’s David Anspacher, who served as project manager for the Bicycle Master Plan will be on hand to provide an overview of the plan, which focuses on increasing bicycling rates in the county, improving safety and creating a highly connected, convenient and low-stress bicycling network.

The 378-page plan details more than 1,100 miles of bikeways, of which slightly more than one quarter (281 miles) currently exists. There are 377 miles of bikeways designated as priority construction. Approximately 42 percent of the recommended bike network is seen as being implemented “as opportunities arise” rather than “stand-alone projects.” The plan recommends an array of bikeway types, from shared roads, which offer the least separation from traffic to separated, buffered bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, as well as secure bicycle storage facilities at transit stations.

Anspacher, who supervises the County’s transit, pedestrian and Vision Zero planning efforts, will share information from the county’s Department of Transportation on their most immediate implementation efforts. When the county council approved the bike plan late last year they stipulated that the county is not guaranteeing all bikeways in the plan will be built as specified. They also removed language that specified implementation years for each phase of the project.
 
Also joining us for the meeting will be Eli Glazier, project manager for the county’s Pedestrian Master Plan, a two-year initiative that is just getting underway. The plan will assess all of the roads in the county based on their levels of “pedestrian comfort,” including walkability, safety and accessibility for all. It will also prioritize pedestrian infrastructure and recommend updates to county policies, operational practices, and design standards.In addition to this meeting, residents can share their thoughts on their pedestrian experiences and what should be included in the master plan by attending one of the community meetings scheduled for October. The meeting closest to Cabin John will be held on Oct. 16 from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane.

PEDESTRIAN & BIKER CRASHES RISE
The need for improved pedestrian and bicycle safety measures is acute. The Bethesda Beat reported this summer that “through the first half of the year, 272 pedestrians and bicyclists have been struck by vehicles on roads in Montgomery County – about 1.5 per day, according to county data.” This represents an increase of about 14% from the same six months in 2018, when 238 crashes occurred.

According to county data, about 40% of the crashes so far in 2019 have occurred on county roads, while roughly 30% happened on state roads. Another 20% occurred in areas such as driveways, parking lots or alleys and the remaining 10% of crashes were on municipal or other roads. The media outlet reported six pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2019. In addition, there have been at least three additional pedestrian fatalities and one bicyclist fatality in the county during July and August, according to police data.

By Susan Ship
CJCA President

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