Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Email to Councilmember Ervin

I sent this email to my Councilmember yesterday;


Councilmember Ervin,

This link is currently being used to craft legislation at the State level. The County Council could offer clear direction to MCDOT and other County departments on how to approach ROWs, especially in urban parts of the County. I know that MCDOT is taking some positive steps – but I also know that most of their positive steps are the result of serious pressure from people like me. I would like to see the Council do a little pushing, too. Having MCDOT and other County departments report on how they are complying with legislation like Complete Streets would really change the conversation.

I am afraid that MC is also leaving itself open to legal problems, or having complaints filed with FHWA. The violations are both serious and frequent, and MC government should know better than to let them continue. These violations include allowing public utilities to replace their infrastructure in the ROW without meeting – or even attempting to meet – ADA Guideline. Construction sites are approved that cause pedestrians to walk in the streets with traffic. Complete Street legislation would allow the County to start addressing these serious oversights.

I would like to work with County government, not take an adversarial role. I have been working on this for years now, and things don’t seem to be getting any better. In some case, they are actually getting worse. MC is still WAY BEHIND when it comes to pedestrian infrastructure and attitudes towards pedestrians in general. This is not acceptable in urban places like Silver Spring. ADA has been a law for a long time now. Don’t you think it is about time MC started complying? I run into obstructions almost every time I go out. The County is providing a service to some people, while withholding service from others. Vehicle traffic is a priority, and pedestrians are very often made to fend for themselves.

When you consider that many pedestrians are disabled, too poor, too old, or too young to drive, you can see how discriminatory this policy is. Pedestrians are treated by Montgomery County as Second-class Citizens. MCDOT does it, MCDOP does it, DHCA does it, and DPS does it too. They all provide services to some citizens based on their ownership of a vehicle and possession of a Driver’s License. It’s not fair, and it’s illegal. It is also not part of designing a healthy and prosperous Downtown.

I will keep fighting for equal treatment for pedestrians. I need some help. Please consider Complete Streets as a way the Montgomery County Council can help, too.


Willaim Smith

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