Friday, December 5, 2014

Leggett Congratulates Montgomery County Department of Transportation for its Role in Developing Bill 33-13 to Improve Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett congratulated the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) for playing an essential role in crafting Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements passed on November 25 by the Montgomery County Council.

MCDOT successfully advocated for modifications to the bill proposed by the County Council, changing the initial “one-size fits all” approach to one that incorporated flexibility in creating a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly urban environment. MCDOT was concerned that the bill as originally written compromised the safety of walkers and bikers. Bill 33-13 accomplishes the goal of establishing adaptable guidelines for lane widths and road intersection curb radii that make safety for pedestrians and bicyclists the priority.

“The safety of pedestrians is paramount in urban design,” Leggett said. “Setting new standards for our walkable, bikeable urban centers is critical to realizing our vision for the future. That is why I am glad that, with MCDOT’s leadership, a bill was passed that will help us continue to create safe and smart business districts.”

Bill 33-13 specifies maximum dimensions for lane widths and curb radii on urban roads; further defines certain required pedestrian improvements; and generally amends the laws governing road design and construction.

“During my 10 years as Transportation director, MCDOT has embraced the vision of a walkable, bikeable community and has made tremendous strides in making this concept a reality,” said MCDOT Director Arthur Holmes Jr. “Complete street planning ensures that our urban cores are accessible and safe for everyone. To keep them that way, I’m so glad that we were able to convince the work group and the County Council that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to road design.”

In addition to the changes for urban roads detailed in Bill 33-13, MCDOT led the effort to further modify the County Code to ensure that more sidewalks will be built during road construction and development.

Holmes said, “There were too many loopholes in the existing County Code that allowed developers to avoid building sidewalks on residential streets. Now, sidewalks will be built in most situations.”