The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an ordinance that amends the county’s urban road code to make sure new or reconstructed streets in urban areas are safe and attractive for all users. Co-sponsored by Councilmembers Riemer and Berliner, it requires:
- Narrower lane widths of 10’ to slow traffic and reduce accidents (it may sound contradictory, but wider lanes for cars result in more frequent and more serious collisions with pedestrians and cyclists–it’s all about the speed of a 2,000 pound car).
- A 25 mph maximum speed for urban areas
- Pedestrian bumpouts and smaller intersections, which will mean safer turns by drivers and a shorter distance for walkers to cross.
- Stronger requirements to build sidewalks during road construction.
Perhaps something like this needs to be adopted in Rockville. We often promote cycling and walking, and yet overlook the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in the strangest ways. For example, at the Twinbrook Recreation Center, it was years before a sidewalk was laid for pedestrians connecting it to the street. During construction around Twinbook Metro, sidewalks are often blocked and people have to walk in the street.
Want to learn more about what makes safe, complete urban streets? Check out this great infographic from our friends at the Active Transportation Alliance.