County to Hold Meetings on New Pedestrian Master Plan

After almost three years of study, Montgomery County Planning released its first-ever Pedestrian Master Plan last month. The 59-page draft plan puts forth dozens of recommendations aimed at improving pedestrian safety and increase walking rates throughout the county.

Montgomery Planning is now inviting the public to hear from the planners and provide feedback at two September meetings:

  • A virtual meeting Tues., Sept. 7 at 7:00 pm (you must RSVP to attend)
  • An in-person meeting, Tues., Sept. 13 at 7:00 pm at their offices in Wheaton

The Cabin John Citizens Association has been advocating for improved pedestrian safety, including crosswalks and LED street lighting, in Cabin John for the past decade or more with limited success. The CJCA urges CJ residents to attend the meetings and ask for more crosswalks and improved lighting in Cabin John.

Our neighboring Glen Echo community has successfully landed marked and/or signaled pedestrian crosswalks at several points on MacArthur Blvd. in recent years. The only additional MacArthur Blvd. crosswalk Cabin John secured in the past six years has been at 79th Street.

While the Pedestrian Master Plan does not get into specifics on where improvements should go, it does call for better pedestrian connections to county parklands. This clearly argues for a crosswalk from the sidewalk on the southside of Seven Locks Rd. across Seven Locks to the entrance driveway for Seven Locks Local Park. The county must have intended this as it left an opening in the guardrail and a cutaway in the curb at this point. Yet, it never bothered to put in the crosswalk that would make for safe pedestrian access to the park.

The plan states that students should be able to ”safely and directly walk” to school. For years, the CJCA has been asking the county to make it safer for CJ students to walk to their bus stops.

In Sept. 2019, the CJCA sent a detailed request to county officials. It explained how the community of Cabin John has three main roads—MacArthur Blvd., Seven Locks Rd., and Persimmon Tree Rd. where the speed limits are 30 or 35 mph. We asked for six crosswalks to connect a side street with one of the seven school bus stops and/or seven Ride On bus stops along MacArthur Blvd. The only one we received was at 79th Street.

Due to the dramatic increase in commuter traffic on these main roads, we also asked for the following crosswalks on Seven Locks and Persimmon Tree:

  • Crosswalk across Seven Locks Rd. at Carver Rd. to allow the 20 homes on Carver access to the sidewalk on Seven Locks as well as the school bus stop
  • Crosswalk across Seven Locks Rd. at the service road for Seven Locks Park/Palisades Pool for access to those facilities
  • Crosswalk across Seven Locks Rd. at Cypress Grove Lane so that the 27 households on Cypress Grove have safe access to the side walk on Seven Locks
  • Crosswalk at Persimmon Tree Rd. and Caraway Rd. for residents of Caraway and 81st to access sidewalk, school bus stop, and Ride On bus stop

They were all denied, in part, using the Catch-22 logic that there was not enough pedestrian traffic to justify them. The notion that pedestrians avoided trying to cross these busy roads because there is no crosswalk, did not seem to be part of their consideration.

Please reach out to Charlotte Troup Leighton at troupleighton@gmail.com if you want to help push for additional crosswalks and other pedestrian safety measures in Cabin John.

By Charlotte Troup Leighton
CJCA Vice President of Advocacy

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