Monday, May 24, 2010

Georgia on My Mind

The Georgia Avenue Corridor is one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in Montgomery County, and Maryland. SHA and MCDPS should be ashamed! Here are more examples of how poor planning and neglect get people hurt and killed!

This afternoon Will and I set out for the Silver Spring Metro Station and Wheaton Plaza. We walked down Georgia Avenue, along the east side from Sligo to Wayne. Once again, in front of the former Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Station, contractor vehicles force pedestrians into the street. Both going and coming, Will and I had to maneuver around this BIG FRIGGIN’ truck parked across the sidewalk.
Onthe way back I actually had to play peek-a-boo – as you can barely see in these photos. DANGEROUS. Do I call the police here or what? Somebody please tell me how to end this practice, once and for all!

People keep parking completely across the sidewalk at the new restaurant Pacci’s as well. I spoke with the owner, who told me that he would let the staff know not to park over the sidewalk, but it keeps happening. Pedestrians have to walk in the service lane to get by, and a person in a wheelchair would have a lot of trouble here. You can never be quite sure if this stretch along Georgia Avenue will ne passable or not. Throw in the construction of new ramps at Wayne, and you have a harrowing trip at least, if you are using the sidewalks.

Fenton Street is not a good alternate route. The crazy decorative brick and aluminum fences and ankle-busting tree boxes mean that this route is every bit as treacherous as the other. Maybe I should just call a taxi at get a ride to Metro!
Anyone in a wheelchair is basically prohibited from travelling down Georgia Avenue. A person with a guide dog would have an interesting time figuring this out. Imagine trying to use a cane here!
Further-up Georgia – in Wheaton – we found things maybe even a little worse. You can’t see the RIDICULOUS situation from these photos, but it is DANGEROUS. An accident waiting to happen. I can’t believe how bad it is. WHO THOUGHT THIS UP?! I need time to process it, back to you with more later.


  1. I walk on Georgia by the old fire station frequently, and what you showed above is nearly ALWAYS a problem. I'd feel a little better even if they got parking tickets.

    I have in my RSS reader a post that you made regarding the library pedestrian bridge, and I thought that you made some excellent arguments. But you seemed to have removed it from your site. Can I ask why?

  2. I thought pedestrian crossings were added to the Georgia / Viers Mill crossing pretty recently? I could've sworn I remembered seeing them out there... I think they're all just outside the photo.

  3. Squirrelist, Have you walked these new crossings? They look like regular crossing from a car, but they are patched together in an awkward and nonsensical fashion. They cause pedestrians to cross in dangerous places, and figuring out the regime here is difficult at best. Someone with a vision impairment could easily find themselves in the middle of traffic. All-in-all, this intersection looks like pedestrians are an afterthought. The entire intersection needs to be redesigned so that pedestrians can get through safely and conveniently. The intersection is adjacent to the Wheaton Metro - and we all know that pedestrians need to get to Metro safely. If not, what are we doing here?

    Bossi, The Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services is supposed to ensure that construction sites are safe for workers and passers-by. In instance after instance, DPS allow projects to spill over into the ROW, making passage for pedestrians difficult - if not impossible. I understand that it is easier this way - not to worry about residents on foot- but it is certainly not a good practice. All you have to do is look at projects in DC - where temporary facilities are regularly provided as the result of higher standards. Why can't MCDPS tighten-up on this? I keep trying and trying, but nothing ever seems to change.

    I did post about the "Pedestrian Bridge" at the new library last week. After reading it again, I decided that a few of my points were weak, so I took it down to work on it some more. I am also aware that I have come too late with my complaints. The Library is already designed, and even though the bridge will not be in the original project, the orientation of the main entrance will make the bridge a necessarily soon. So, why bother complaining about something that is already pretty-much set?

  4. This location is also adjacent to the Social Security Office and Wheaton Plaza Mall, not to mention Ride-On and Metrobus service, dozens of restaurants and small businesses, thousands of apartments, condos, and single-family homes all around this location. Still, even with all these pedestrians around, this location proves that SHA is thinking about cars first. As if to say,"We'll do what we can to make things better, but not if it slows down traffic."

  5. @Marylandwalks-

    Is the Georgia/Veirs issue relating to construction; or to non-construction conditions? I didn't see any construction in the photo, hence I didn't think that was the issue... though your comment makes me think otherwise.

    Also, I'd hesitate to say DC does a good job with pedestrians in work zones... I have yet to see a single ramp reconstruction which provides an ADA-compliant route. Sometimes it's even tricky for the able-bodied to navigate around.

  6. The problem with this intersection is the half-assed way that new infrastructure was planned and installed. The sidewalk is not connected on the west aide od Georgia. The new crossings are offset. People ignore the dog-leg and continue straight - crossing between vehicles on Viers Mill Rd in two lanes - which is absolutely DANGEROUS. REALLY horrible design. Made things worse - which is amazing considering how bad they were.

  7. DC is no picnic, sometimes. I admit to being less-informed about how DC does things. All I know is what I come across, and in DC I walk through temporary facilities for pedestrians all the time. In MC, I walk in the street.