Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wish List

1. The State of Maryland needs Complete Streets legislation in 2011. This legislation would require any project in any ROW to consider all modes of transportation, including pedestrians and cyclists. All ROW projects would include plans for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and people with disabilities (among others). In cases where pedestrian and cyclist access is not permitted (I-495, for example) transportation agencies have good reason to focus solely on vehicle traffic. MDSHA and other agencies and public utilities would submit an annual repost to the General Assembly that details efforts to comply.

2. A group that is not affiliated with any government entity to advocate for pedestrians in Silver Spring. Current government efforts are valuable, but government-led committees are subject to political pressure. An independent voice is needed to petitioning the County and State for better pedestrian infrastructure and policies.

3. Montgomery County and MDSHA engage existing technology to measure pedestrian traffic in key areas. Focus on improving access based on this information. Find existing pedestrian routes and enhance these areas first. Create desired routes by planning for them. Systematically assess and plan to improve pedestrian access in Silver Spring.

4. Montgomery County deputizes a Corps of reliable volunteer pedestrian ROW reporters. Set-up a system that utilizes Smart Phones, GPS, and the internet to build a map of problem areas. Use technology to make reporting easier.

5. End MCDOT and MDSHA’s reactive approach to pedestrian infrastructure improvements. Get out in front of the problem. Engage the public in the solution. Exchange “Complaints” for “Reports.” Exchange “High-incidence Areas” for “High Pedestrian Traffic Areas,” or “Pedestrian Thoroughfares.” Include safety as part of accessibility - don’t focus exclusively on safety. Adopt the principle that “there is safety in numbers,” then try to get the numbers UP. The current process is abusive to pedestrians in more ways than one.It makes the job of fixing a problem much more difficult than it should be.

6. Train work crews and Plow Operators to avoid needlessly putting pedestrians at risk with unnecessary practices. A little thought can prevent a lot of trouble. MCDOT and MDSHA should review their procedures and train their employees to avoid dangerous practices. Work crews need to be aware of the impact their descisions have on pedestrians, especially in urban areas like Silver Spring.

7. A 50% reduction in pedestrian incidents in Montgomery County by 2012. Really, I want 100%, but let's be realistic here.

8. Tax Credit for living in Montgomery County without an automobile.

9. For Phase One of the Metropolitan Branch Trail in Montgomery County to have an easy and fast ride through the approval and funding process.

10. Comment from readers.

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