Thursday, December 30, 2010

Close Enough for Government Work

For more than two years now, construction sites on East-West Highway at the intersection with Blair Mill Road have completely blocked the sidewalk, forceing pedestrians to find other ways to get to their destinations. People with disabilities find a particular hardship in passing through this area - for a number of reasons.

For two years this has been a confusing and dangerous area for pedestrians. The current situation is still just as confusing and treacherous as ever.

These photos show the condition of the crosswalk across E-W Hghway, on the north side of the intersection.

The crosswalk is not alinged with the curb ramp. Pedestrians exit the crosswalk into mud. Wheelchairs or other wheeled devices cannot roll off the crosswalk at the current location.The curb cut is several yards to the north. The car to the left in the photo below is located at the current curb cut.

The landing on the west side is narrow, broken, uneven, and studded with trip hazards.

This stretch of sidewalk has been out of commission for more than two years.I have personally made many complaints about this, but no one seemed to know how to remedy the situation. DPS, SHA, and DOT have listened, promised to take action, and then let things remain pretty-much the same. I guess someone will need to be killed or injured before urgent action is taken to resolve these dangerous situations...

SHA or DPS would never allow a project owner to block E-W Highway for two or more years, but they have no problem with closing this section of ROW to people who don't drive. As I have said before, pedestrian collisions are not usually due to a single factor, but rather a combination of them. This location already comes equipped with many hazards introduced by neglect, poor enforcement of County code, and poor implementation practices by SHA and their contractors. The likelihood that a pedestrian or driver will make a mistake that will be compounded by these conditions is too high to be acceptable.

Here is a "Pedestrian-eye view" of the walk along East-West Highway - travelling south, approaching the interaction with Blair Mill Rd. What you have to do if you are a pedestrian trying to get to the crosswalk.

Here is an overall view of the location. I recommend pausing the video when you want to study a particular bit in detail.

And here is video I took two years ago:

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map

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