Greater Greater Washington

Pedestrians


Is this pedestrian safety or just pedestrian removal?

If you take the Metro to White Flint, Montgomery County welcomes you with a large and unfriendly wall. The county Department of Transportation built the wall several years ago to stop pedestrians from using a popular, existing crosswalk.

White Flint didn't always look like this. In 1988, four years after Metro arrived in the area, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission opened across the street from the station. The Planning Board required a "traffic mitigation" program. As part of this program, the sidewalk in front of the NRC building was set back from Rockville Pike so that it led directly to the Metro. A marked crosswalk connected the sidewalk to the station entrance.


The Metro station, the crosswalk, and the NRC building in 2002. Image from Google Earth.

The traffic mitigation program worked very well. Today, 36% of NRC employees commute by transit. As a result, the crosswalk was heavily used. But the Planning Board requirement expired in 2004, and just one year later, MCDOT removed the crosswalk and built a wall to stop pedestrians from making their way across the road at that location.

Now, pedestrians are forced to detour 40 feet to the left, where they must wait at a very slow traffic light. The county claims that the crosswalk was eliminated in the interest of pedestrian safety.

Unfortunately, this claim does not stand up to scrutiny. The only hazard to pedestrians in the crosswalk was that of drivers who violated the law by failing to yield. But this hazard exists at all crosswalks in the county; at crossings without traffic lights, drivers rarely yield to pedestrians.

In fact, the White Flint crosswalk was often full of people, so drivers obeyed the law and stopped more often than elsewhere. From the pedestrian's point of view, this was likely one of the safest unsignalized crosswalks (given the amount of car traffic) in the county.

The White Flint crosswalk was not removed because it was in the best interests of the pedestrians, but rather, because it was in the best interest of the drivers. Throughout the county, MCDOT encourages drivers to violate the law by leaving crosswalks unmarked, even where there is heavy pedestrian traffic.

Sadly, this is not a unique situation. Another wall was built with a similar goal in mind at New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard. In both locations, MCDOT could have made it safer to cross the street by redesigning the road to slow traffic and ticketing drivers who failed to yield. But it appears that this is not the approach the department has embraced. Instead, pedestrians take a backseat to the county's drivers.

Ben Ross was president of the Action Committee for Transit for 15 years. His new book about the politics of urbanism and transit, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, is published by Oxford University Press. 

Comments

Add a comment »

I consider myself more of a pedestrian or cyclist than driver; my car stays parked for weeks at a time when the weather's nice.

But I have a hard time accepting that a 40 foot "detour" is really that big of a challenge for most pedestrians. Having an unsignalized crosswalk that close to a suburban intersection does present a real problem for traffic throughput if vehicles cannot make it through a green light because of the unsignalized crosswalk.

If the problem is that pedestrians have too long of a wait for a walk signal at the corner, maybe MCDOT could change the phases of the light to better accommodate pedestrian traffic.

by CBGB on Jan 10, 2012 3:21 pm • linkreport

CBGB:
I believe the signals on Rockville Pike are under the jurisdiction of the Maryland State Highway Administration.

by Matt Johnson on Jan 10, 2012 3:32 pm • linkreport

"pedestrians take a backseat to the county's drivers". Yeah, it's on ROCKVILLE PIKE! Are you kidding me, this is a traffic nightmare as it is. Why should pedestrians be able to cross whenever they want? They can wait just like other people. The goal should be to make EVERYONE'S commute better/faster/more efficient, not just a select (who you select!) few.

by Milton on Jan 10, 2012 3:33 pm • linkreport

I've walked around that area fairly frequently and that wall never really struck me as a problem. It's probably because the rest of the area is so unfriendly to walking, the wall pales in comparison.

by Steven Yates on Jan 10, 2012 3:41 pm • linkreport

Uh, this really isn't a big deal. I don't jaywalk across 14th street when I leave McPherson square - I walk the 40 feet to the crosswalk. White Flint isn't exactly as urban as that area, either.

by Nick on Jan 10, 2012 3:42 pm • linkreport

Extremely sorry for the double comment, but you can see that the situation really isn't that bad, below (current google maps image):

if that didn't work: http://i.imgur.com/uicXm.jpg

by Nick on Jan 10, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

Crossing at intersections is more dangerous for pedestrians due to the constant right turns.

Even on red, drivers can ALWAYS go. Turn on red if it's safe, of course.

If a pedestrian has a red? Forgetabout. No "crossing when safe" law for you!

by JJJJJ on Jan 10, 2012 4:06 pm • linkreport

The only hazard to pedestrians in the crosswalk was that of drivers who violated the law by failing to yield.

I believe the higher law of "No Driver Must Be Inconvenienced By A Non-Driver" takes precedence. (c.f. Mount Vernon Trail crossing; Lee Hwy & N. Lynn; etc, etc...)

by oboe on Jan 10, 2012 4:11 pm • linkreport

Rockville Pike is full of examples like this one. MoCo seems to think it can somehow please both drivers and their latest, newest constituents who want a more ped-friendly pike, but seems to fail in both categories. For drivers, Rockville Pike is a nightmare and for peds it is equally nightmarish. Up the street at Twinbrook the Metro is building a garage and as a part of its construction phase they've cut off the way that walkers used to go to Halpern. Now walkers must either walk several blocks to the signaled cross-walk or just cross the street wherever. During the day this isn't so bad, but it's scary at night. So many places in MoCo are walkable but certainly not ped-friendly by any means. Some lady was killed at Halpern & Rockville Pike crossing the street next to the Metro.

by dc denizen on Jan 10, 2012 4:22 pm • linkreport

Ben Ross wrote:

If you take the Metro to White Flint, Montgomery County welcomes you with a large and unfriendly wall. The county Department of Transportation built the wall several years ago to stop pedestrians from using a popular, existing crosswalk.

Ben, I thought at first you were speaking of Md. 355 (Rockville Pike), but it's now clear that the wall in question is along Marinelli Road, not Md. 355. As best as I can tell, there's still a walkway across Marinelli just to the east of 355. Does not seem that much of a detour, and there are a lot of buses deadheading to and from the garage to the east of this location (for that reason and others, it's probably a good idea that pedestrians are encouraged to cross at the signalized intersection).

Ben Ross also wrote:

Sadly, this is not a unique situation. Another wall was built with a similar goal in mind at New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard. In both locations, MCDOT could have made it safer to cross the street by redesigning the road to slow traffic and ticketing drivers who failed to yield. But it appears that this is not the approach the department has embraced. Instead, pedestrians take a backseat to the county's drivers.

New Hampshire Avenue (Md. 355) and University Boulevard (Md. 193) are both state highways, and besides, Md. 193 defines the northern corporate limit of the City of Takoma Park, which maintains its own streets (except those that are on the state system). Md. 193 is also the boundary between Montgomery County and Prince George's County at this location (somewhat counter-intuitively, blocks to the south are in Takoma Park, Montgomery County, places north are in unincorporated Langley Park, Prince George's County). As a result, I believe that Montgomery County DOT is not to blame for any pedestrian deficiencies at this location.

To the extent that the barriers on the medians encourage people to cross at marked crosswalks, I believe this will reduce the number of persons injured (sometimes fatally) in Langley Park and Takoma Park.

by C P Zilliacus on Jan 10, 2012 4:39 pm • linkreport

Really... really... 40 feet... that's less than the street frontage of a small detached home is DC (typically 50 feet). You're kidding, right?

RE: traffic signals are operated by Montgomery County.

by Some Ideas on Jan 10, 2012 4:45 pm • linkreport

As a frequent driver on University Boulevard, I can assure you that those fences were the best thing to happen for both drivers and pedestrians. There it wasn't an issue of drivers failing to yield, but pedestrians literally crossing at just about every possible spot for a good multi-mile stretch. The scariest moment I've ever had as a driver was when a pedestrian stepped right in the path of my car off of a median in the middle of a block when it was dark out and I couldn't see him. Fortunately he stepped back on to the median just in time. This doesn't even take into account that it is a lot quicker and cheaper to put up a fence than to redesign an intersection as large and as busy as New Hampshire/University (not that all solutions should be the quickest/cheapest ones).

by Ted on Jan 10, 2012 5:13 pm • linkreport

Ted - There is most certainly an issue of drivers' failure to yield on University Boulevard. At the intersections that don't have traffic lights, there are unmarked crosswalks as defined by Maryland law. Drivers on University Boulevard are required by law yield to pedestrians using these crosswalks. In fact, drivers almost never do so.

At most points along University, it is legal to cross in the middle of the block; however, in the middle of the block the pedestrian must yield to the driver. It is no wonder that pedestrians don't go out of their way to cross at the point where drivers are supposed to yield, since in practice the pedestrian has to yield no matter where they cross.

by Ben Ross on Jan 10, 2012 5:53 pm • linkreport

Montgomery County is having a veritable epidemic of pedestrian fatalities. Truth be told, a majority are the result of people crossing somewhere other than an crosswalk. You can say that there should be more crossings in general, but this does not seem to be one of those cases.

by Crickey7 on Jan 10, 2012 6:01 pm • linkreport

Glad to see GGW has started the new year with some faux hysteria.

by TGEOA on Jan 10, 2012 6:01 pm • linkreport

I thought they were going for satirical hyperbole, TGEOA.

by selxic on Jan 10, 2012 6:24 pm • linkreport

Maryland is the least pedestrian-friendly place i go to regularly.

by dcseain on Jan 10, 2012 7:17 pm • linkreport

This sounds like an ideal location for a pedestrian tunnel. Then NO crosswalk (signalized or otherwise) would be required. And everyone would be happy. People in cars would have to worry about pedestrians in the roadway and people on foot wouldn't have to wait for a traffic signal. This would be a win-win. And it certainly sounds like the pedestrian traffic there would justify the cost of the tunnel. It could/should even start IN the Metro station .... Maybe they haven't thought of it in MoCo 'cause that's an urban solution. But this is an urban problem calling for an urban solution.

by Lance on Jan 10, 2012 10:08 pm • linkreport

*People in cars wouldN'T have to worry

by Lance on Jan 10, 2012 10:09 pm • linkreport

No, 40' of walking is not a big deal for most people. Requiring pedestrians to cross only at signaled intersections is a big deal.

The road is a public space, but it is one that is currently thought to be owned (including the right to exclude others) by autoists.

The road is a public space. That cars are both really wide and only effective when traveling fast does not mean that in all situations they deserve unfettered access to all stretches of road between intersections. Next to a pedestrian generator (such as a metro station), it seems completely reasonable to allow pedestrians equal access to the public space that is the road. If cars are too bulky to safely share the road, then it is the autoists that should make allowances, because it is the car that has created the dangerous situation.

by Paul on Jan 10, 2012 10:46 pm • linkreport

A marked crosswalk across 6 lanes of traffic without a proper median refuge or any type of right of way control is not a safe situation. Period. And requiring pedestrians to walk 50 feet to the side to a signalized intersection with active control of right of way is the right call.

A better solution would be to scale the road to the traffic it actually handles and redesign the crosswalk along with it. Absent that option, diverting the pedestrians is the correct choice.

Nothing to see here, move along.

by Dave on Jan 10, 2012 11:24 pm • linkreport

@Paul "because it is the car that has created the dangerous situation.

I think people sometimes forget that there are people in cars. They're not hunks of steel circulating without anyone in there. (At least not yet.)

I.e., It's 'man' (and 'woman') that would have created that dangerous situation ... except .. they didn't. Along with inventing cars to facilitate life for all around, they created rules to go with the safe integration of the use of cars in our public space. And rule number 1 is 'pedestrians can only be in the roadway part of the public space in only very specific situatons including crossing at intersections ....

No, there isn't a dangerous situation out there unless you (or other likeminded folks out there) decide to not follow the rules ... be they pedestrians, drivers, or whoever.

by Lance on Jan 10, 2012 11:41 pm • linkreport

@Lance

I agree that current laws dictate that pedestrians generally have to stay out of the roadway. It is the thinking behind those laws - that the quick travel needs of people in cars exceed the quick travel needs of people not in cars - that I take issue with.

I think there are plenty of roads where it is appropriate to give drivers priority, but why are there no roads where pedestrians are given priority?

by Paul on Jan 11, 2012 12:40 am • linkreport

@Lance

There is already a pedestrian tunnel at that White Flint intersection but it travels underneath Rockville pike. Yet many people don't use it and walk across the pike anyway. My guess is that they are too lazy to walk down the steps even though there is an escalator to bring them up on each side. If people don't want to use the 'Pike' tunnel, then they certainly won't use a Marinelli tunnel especially because that crossing is shorter and experiences less traffic than the pike crossing.

by Kaleel on Jan 11, 2012 12:52 am • linkreport

If the concern being highlighted is pedestrian safety, I think Ben Ross could've/should've picked a better example...for example those locations where pedestrians have actually been hit/killed.

by Froggie on Jan 11, 2012 6:53 am • linkreport

If it's good enough for the Latino 7 Corners working class why shouldn't it be good enough for the white collar types of Rockville.

by crin on Jan 11, 2012 7:12 am • linkreport

More GGW crying wolf about a war on pedestrians and/or cyclists? No, it can't be true!

by elmothehobo on Jan 11, 2012 7:52 am • linkreport

Froggie - Please reread the post. The whole point is that this crossing was always relatively safe.

Paul - Current laws do not dictate that pedestrians generally have to keep out of roadways. On the contrary, on that particular block of Marinelli Drive, it would be legal to cross in the middle of the block.

And to all the commenters who say that making pedestrians wait at the traffic light is a trivial inconvenience. Would you feel inconvenienced if the county put up a slow traffic light at the end of your driveway?

by Ben Ross on Jan 11, 2012 8:36 am • linkreport

To Froggie... that is the intersection where two pedestrians were killed last fall. I think that any reconfiguration of an intersection has to be looked at not just in terms of how it affects traffic in one direction, but in all directions.

Who knows, if the old walkway had still been there and traffic was moving in the old patterns those deaths may have been prevented.

I either walk or drive through that intersection and the broader area regularly, so I think I understand how the changes have encouraged traffic to speed through the general area. Not too far (just seconds in a car) from that intersection there has been a huge reconfiguration of Rockville pike traffic patterns, in a way that prevents pedestrians from using the east side sidewalk that used to be there. Cars move much faster, and pedestrians now have to shuffle from one side to the other to find a sidewalk.

IMHO changes to the configuration of the accident intersection and in the general area, all in the name of allowing all motorists to go faster, was one of the factors leading to those deaths.

http://www.tbd.com/articles/2010/10/driver-suspected-of-drunk-driving-hits-kills-2-pedestrians-on-rockville-pike-19817.html

by B.O. on Jan 11, 2012 9:25 am • linkreport

@Ben Ross "And to all the commenters who say that making pedestrians wait at the traffic light is a trivial inconvenience. Would you feel inconvenienced if the county put up a slow traffic light at the end of your driveway?

Could you please explain this proposed analogy? I don't the analogy between the 2 situations.

by Lance on Jan 11, 2012 9:37 am • linkreport

Billygoat, what did that add? Ben doesn't work there but he has spent plenty of time walking at that intersection and listening to others.

Froggie, pedestrians were killed there, just not at that exact crosswalk: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/8187/mdot-improving-pedestrian-safety-in-the-wake-of-tragedy/

There is no reason to take a place that's bad for pedestrians and make it worse. I just makes no sense. Why did MCDOT spend money to disrupt a situation that was working an replace it with something that's hostile to pedestrians?

by Cavan on Jan 11, 2012 9:43 am • linkreport

@TGEOA,

Glad to see GGW has started the new year with some faux hysteria.

I wouldn't paint GGW with that broad a brush, but this article certainly.

by Fitz on Jan 11, 2012 9:53 am • linkreport

@Cavan "Why did MCDOT spend money to disrupt a situation that was working an replace it with something that's hostile to pedestrians?

Maybe because expecting drivers to both yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk AND follow the commands of a traffic signal 40 feet off was even more hostile a situation? AND a good fair solution existed? Why is it that while drivers can see both sides of a situation like this, those represent the pedestrians point of view seem completely blind to anything but their own interests? Could it be that those presenting the drivers' point of view are ALSO pedestrians in many situations? But that those presenting the pedestrians' point of view, NEVER are also drivers. One of the first posting on here said it all when they explained that they spend most of their time walking and/or using mass transit, RARELY driving, but that they fully understood the reasonableness of this change. Perhaps walking in another's shoes might help educate some of these individuals hell bent on opposing anything which means any sort of compromise or effort (or even 'waiting' in this case) on their part. Life is a two-way street. The rules need to seek fair and efficient compromises. They can't be written just to help you.

by Lance on Jan 11, 2012 9:56 am • linkreport

The problem is Maryland drivers routinely ignore pedestrian crossings of all kinds.

Trying to cross Wisconsin Ave from West to East in downtown Bethesda to get to Trader Joe's is pedestrian polo for drivers determined to maintain high speeds so that they can sit at the red light that much longer. Yes, drivers terrorize pedestrians in the marked crossing to get to a red light all the faster.

I have NEVER, as in EVER seen any police officers enforcing the sanctity of this pedestrian crossing or acting on behalf of pedestrians anywhere in Bethesda. [Cars making illegal right turns onto Leland from Woodmont is another pedestrian polo site]

Given the precedent of what has happened at the NRC, I assume they'll fill in the turning space with a wall and make Trader Joe's move to discourage those pesky pedestrians!

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 11, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

There has been a good amount of construction of residential housing in the area of this former crossing. Does Maryland think people moved there to not be able to walk to where they want to go?

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 11, 2012 10:03 am • linkreport

@Ben Ross

Your traffic light/driveway analogy makes little sense - my driveway is private space, the white flint metro is public space.

I think the point "all the commenters" who think waiting at traffic lights is a trivial inconvenience are correct in this case. (and just so I can remain on the GGW privileged high horse, I am a bike/metro/walking commuter)

I understand the point that roads are owned equally by all users and all users have rights to them no matter what the transportation method. But are you proposing that everywhere there is high pedestrian traffic near a road, there should be crosswalks at non-intersections?

by Nick on Jan 11, 2012 10:05 am • linkreport

As someone who takes the Metro to work in White Flint, I've never found this stretch of Marinelli any more hostile to pedestrians than White Flint as a whole.

Insofar as there is an issue, it's that this section of Marinelli isn't serving the majority of the people who interact with it. Despite crossing Rockville Pike at a light, Marinelli is actually a very quiet road, while during rush hour the crosswalk between White Flint Metro and the NRC sees heavy pedestrian traffic. This morning, I was one of maybe two dozen people waiting for the long signal at Marinelli to end, during which time the only traffic on Marinelli was a single car turning left from Rockville Pike. The problem isn't the wall, the problem is the excessively long "don't walk" signal.

by cminus on Jan 11, 2012 10:24 am • linkreport

But, @cminus, would the excessively long "don't walk" signal be a problem for people on foot, if there weren't a wall? Would the wall be a problem for people on foot, if there weren't the excessively long "don't walk" signal? These are not rhetorical questions.

Now here is the rhetorical question: in what way don't the excessively long "don't walk" signals and/or the wall reflect a policy that people on foot are less important road users than people in cars?

by Miriam on Jan 11, 2012 10:59 am • linkreport

This whole issue really points to the difficulty in reclaiming traditional suburbs as walkable TOD communities. At the end of the day, entrenched interests will fight to maintain the status quo. Which means that things must necessarily emerge in a half-assed fashion.

Maybe I'm wrong, and it just means things will develop much more slowly, but I was walking around Tysons Corner yesterday, so it could be I'm irrationally pessimistic.

by oboe on Jan 11, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

Ben Ross,
I don't mean for this to be a stupid question, but what is an unmarked crosswalk? If it isn't marked, how is anyone, especially a driver who is moving by much faster than a pedestrian, supposed to see it?

by Ted on Jan 11, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

An unmarked crosswalk exists at every corner where the side street has a sidewalk, except where there is a traffic light. The unmarked crosswalk is the extension of the sidewalk into the street being crossed.

by Ben Ross on Jan 11, 2012 11:15 am • linkreport

Ben: I did reread the article. Twice, before I commented. What I gathered from both your article and the comments that have been submitted thus far is that it's more an issue of convenience/inconvenience/complaints crossing Marinelli than anything else.

Now the two deaths that B.O. and Cavan mentioned...those were crossing Rockville Pike and not Marinelli. Obviously a bigger pedestrian safety issue there.

by Froggie on Jan 11, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

Oboe -
I think you may be a little too pessimistic. Tyson's corner is trying to leap from no pedestrians at all, into pedestrian-friendly, in one big jump. I'm pretty certain they're gonna miss the target by a long ways. At the moment it's easy to be pessimistic because all the silver line related construction work has made it LESS walkable in the past 5 years (at least at the moment).

OTOH Rockville Pike, although it has some problems similar to Tysons, is not beyond hope. The intersections all supported pedestrians to begin with and there were always sidewalks too. Most of the buildings were built to allow pedestrian access. (Contrast that with Tyson's where many of the office buildings have no front door pedestrian access; you have to go in through the parking garage.) There are walkable residential early-or-mid-20th-century areas just a block or two back from Rockville Pike in many cases. I think that the correct incremental changes have a good chance of making Rockville Pike better. Georgia Ave through Montgomery County could benefit from many incremental changes too. (And you will note it also has areas with a notable number of pedestrian deaths).

by B.O. on Jan 11, 2012 11:35 am • linkreport

Thanks. As far as how that relates back to the original conversation (and the tangent analogy of University Boulevard), I don't think it's a matter so much of legality about who has to stop, but one of common sense.

Whether as a pedestrian you are at an unmarked crosswalk or have the legal right to cross mid-block, it's idiotic to try and cross the street if the traffic flow makes it dangerous to do so, yet we know that people are going to do it anyway. It seems to me that in these cases, the best thing to do is reduce the potential conflict points, which is exactly what these walls/fences are trying to do.

If the argument against this is that it prioritizes drivers over pedestrians, the simple fact of the matter is that despite there being many pedestrians in these locations, there are still more drivers so prioritizing vehicular traffic makes the system as a whole more efficient. The goal here shouldn't be to punish drivers for choosing to drive, but rather make the whole system safer for everyone.

by Ted on Jan 11, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

I'm glad to read the GGW is taking on Mont Cty leadership on what might be one of the worst pedestrian problems. In fact, living in Silver Spring, I'd say the Cty leadership needs a huge education in making walkable communities. The entire Red line once you leave Medical Center Station is a mess for pedestrians. On my side of the tracks, SS needs a ton of work to make it safe & pedestrian friendly, starting with a reduction in the size of Colesville and Georgia roads which are the size of the Beltway in a very densely populated and walking-designed area. I can't even count the number of times I've almost been hit by crazy drivers using these roads like a highway.

by TC on Jan 11, 2012 12:36 pm • linkreport

@Miriam, hence saying it isn't "any more hostile to pedestrians than White Flint as a whole". White Flint as a whole is a pretty unpleasant place to walk, even though the sidewalk network is fairly extensive.

@Ted: In this specific instance, I very much doubt that there are actually more drivers. This isn't a case of a busy pedestrian route crossing a busy road; despite its proximity to busy Rockville Pike, Marinelli east of the pike is not a road that motorists use much, for the understandable reason that there's not that much there. I don't know how much the new building going up next door to the Metro will change that, but if the tenants have the same commuting habits as the NRC employees across the street, Marinelli will stay largely empty.

by cminus on Jan 11, 2012 1:18 pm • linkreport

Cminus, on second thought, I'm sure that is true in this case. I was thinking of Rockville Pike itself, or University Boulevard in the case of the analogous situation.

by Ted on Jan 11, 2012 1:23 pm • linkreport

This is making a mountain out of a molehill, and I actually do agree that pedestrians should cross at the intersection and not at the former crosswalk location. Cars are just travelling to fast through that intersection to think about stopping quickly at the crosswalk there. I've always been wary of non-intersection crosswalks on busy suburban roadways.

It's been a while so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think back in '04 this used to be the case at East-West Highway and the entranceway to the shopping center near Colesville Road in Silver Spring. Before the standard traffic light was a flashing yellow, with drivers responsible for slowing down for crossing pedestrians at the crosswalk. Cars would fly down that stretch, and crossing was always hair-raising. One time a car was stopped to let me walk across and another car collided with it from behind, breaking the rear window. The standard traffic light intersection there now makes so much more sense. As a non-driver, I'm all for pedestrian rights, but moral of the story: eliminating a mid-road crosswalk can often make things safer for pedestrians.

by Tim on Jan 11, 2012 1:48 pm • linkreport

Tim, I see your point about the laws of the land vs. the laws of physics.

BUT...the point here is that Montgomery County paid a LOT of money to "solve" something that was not a problem and it did so by limiting pedestrian choices.

I completely agree with you vis a vis the E-W Hwy crossing near Colesville road. The danger of that situation was exacerbated by the topography: the hill on the East side. So, I agree with you there.

But, too often, Monty County's default is to support automobile traffic over foot traffic.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 11, 2012 2:54 pm • linkreport

@Ben,

If pedestrians have to wait for the light to change, and cars need to wait for the light to change, how is that not sharing fairly?

by Beatbox on Jan 11, 2012 5:23 pm • linkreport

@BenRoss,

I walk to the corner of K St., all the time and wait for a light. Why is this such an issue with you?

by Beatbox on Jan 11, 2012 5:24 pm • linkreport

A study done in London, after removing all forms railings, crosswalks and barriers found that the number of accidents significantly decreased because drivers were more careful and were paying attention at all times, instead of barreling through until they got to a marked or "hard" stop location. Study can be found here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/PedestrianGuardRailingaReviewofCriteriaforInstallation.pdf

by Ruben on Jan 12, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

@Crickey7 --

I'm not sure it's true that the "epidemic" of pedestrian deaths is due to peds crossing elsewhere than at crosswalks. Consider the couple walking along the sidewalk on Jones Bridge Rd who were killed just a couple of weeks ago. It's a little lazy to claim that most ped fatalities are due to ped error (unless you have figures to back it up).

Ii have seen statistics that say over 50 percent of pedestrians struck and killed were in crosswalks at the time. (And sorry, I don't know where I read that.)

by Nancy on Jan 13, 2012 7:27 am • linkreport

The two times i've been struck by cars as a pedestrian were in crosswalks. Once on K St in Georgetown, barely a tap by an impatient cabbie, and once at about 25MPH crossing Reston Pkwy at Temporary Rd. The driver, turning from Temporary onto Reston Pkwy did not even look to the right before she turned, but i was well approaching the edge of lane 1 before i saw her coming.

by dcseain on Jan 13, 2012 11:37 am • linkreport

Relatedly, all of us who walk where i live, near Temporary Rd and North Shore Dr in Reston, do not ever cross the street at the intersection fo North Shore and Temporary, as we feel it's too dangerous. Therefore, we all cross mid-block a half block or so from the intersection in each of the three directions.

If Temporary and North Shore had an all-way stop, we'd gladly cross at the intersection. Even as a driver, i think an all-way stop there would improve traffic flow and slow traffic on North Shore, making it safer for pedestrians.

by dcseain on Jan 13, 2012 11:39 am • linkreport

Toronto has implemented three 'Barnes' dances where all traffic stops:
Yonge ['young'] and Dundas
Yonge and Bloor
Bloor and Bay.

As a result, it is now legal to turn right from Bloor to Yonge, which used to be illegal because of large numbers of pedestrians. The Barnes Dance has made that possible.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 13, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or

Support Us