Wednesday, August 10, 2011
State law requires that all transportation projects consider pedestrian access in ALL PHASES of design and construction. While it is clear that SHA has given a lot of thought to the design of new curb cuts it is installing along the east side of Georgia Avenue, it is just as clear that they have thought very little about pedestrians during the construction phase.
I don't know when this particular corner first went out of service, but i first noted it photographically on July 30 - almost two weeks ago. Today, they began pouring concrete.
I am certain that it was blocked for some time before then, as have many of the corners on this side of Georgia Avenue between Sligo Ave. and Colesville Rd. This entire stretch has been blocked in some form or another for months. I hope this is the last hurrah for this project - at least on this side of Georgia Ave.
I know that these new curbs cuts are difficult, and that they will take time, no matter how you schedule the work. But,... Is that it? We are just going to accept this because it is too difficult to resolve?
The truth is, SHA and MCDOT could do better. MC Department of Permitting Services could do better, too. In Silver Spring, conditions for pedestrian during construction are horrendous and sometimes terrifying. Pedestrians are well-served in the design phase, but are marginalized or ignored during construction -- and "It can'nt be helped" is often the response to concerns. No one would allow this kind of behavior if we were talking about the roadway. it would be unthinkable to block two lanes of Georgia Avenue for the entire Summer. How can we then accept the equivalent for pedestrians in pedestrian-rich Silver Spring? Are pedestrians as important to Silver Spring as vehicles, or not?
SHA, MCDOT, and MCDPS should shorten the time it takes to finish these projects. It can be done if it is made a priority - and the General Assembly already did that. They should provide temporary pedestrian facilities in locations that will be closed for extended period (and especially in high-traffic areas or places that have unique dangers.). This can and MUST be done to protect the public safety.
A sign is not enough.