Friday, November 18, 2011

I wasn't paying attention

I took this photo last night while walking the dog. On the way back to the house I came across this "Steel Plates Ahead" sign in the middle of the sidewalk on Chicago Ave - a few hundred feet from my home. I first came across this sign a couple of nights before, so I know it has been here for a few days. Contractors are doing utility work and repaving streets in the neighborhood. There was another sign in the sidewalk coming from the opposite direction, and rubble and equipment on sidewalks in other locations nearby.

I understand that this is necessary work, and that it is going to create inconveniences that everyone will have to deal with. I also know that there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. This sign is an obstruction that pedestrians must negotiate around by walking in the street. How is this acceptable? It is clear proof that MCDOT is not managing the right-of-way to keep it safe and accessible to pedestrians.

The contractor is doing something wrong, but MCDOT is responsible for holding the contractor to certain standards. MCDOT cannot claim that they are not aware of these violation, because I have been screaming about them for years now. Why can't MCDOT fix this universal problem? Why are they contracting with companies that don't follow ADA guidelines - even a little?

There is an hierarchy when it comes to construction projects and who must suffer the consequences. It goes something like this:

Contractors - Do everything you can to accommodate their needs.

Drivers - Must be impacted as little as possible.

Bikers - Keep the road open and they can get by.

Pedestrians - Huh? What did you say? I wasn't paying attention.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walking to Jackie's

A whie ago I bought some raffle tickets at the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association Block Party and won a gift certificate to Jackie's restaurant. Last night my wife and I walked up to Jackie's for dinner - it's just up the street from our house on Sligo Ave.

Of course, this means actually walking down Sligo Avenue, which is always a crap-shoot - especially between Fenton and Georgia. Cars and trucks are often parked over the sidewlk - forcing pedestrians to step into the roadway into oncoming traffic - while trying not to soak their feet in the oily green puddles left from the auto repair shops that line the south side from Fenton to Georgia.

And then there is this nasty little trip hazard...

Sticking-up from the sidewalk is a two-foot-long piece of steel embedded into the concrete.It is broken and bent down to the surface of the sidewalk, but was obviously intended to help shore-up the nearby utility pole. It has been here for years, and is often accompanied by one or more trucks that make the passage even more adventurous.

One must either learn to accept this part of the journey, or drive to Jackie's. If you trip over it because you had a couple of drinks with dinner, it's your own damn fault.

I have reported this location directly to MCDOT many times over the years, but it's still here.

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map

Is this piece of long-time-broken infrasturcture the responsibility of Pepco, of MCDOT?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More of the same

The shadow on the ground in the forefront of this photo is cast by the Silver Spring Civic Center. Across the street from the heart of the new Silver Spring is yet another example of poor construction site planning that puts pedestrians at risk. Site plans almost never take into account the amount of pedestrian traffic - preferring to deny continuous access by pedestrians in favor of complete inaccessibly - as if to say, "Keep them safe by keeping them out." The contractors would rather use the area for free parking, rather than insure the safety of pedestrian by constructing temporary facilities - as the law requires.

Three sides of this lot are blocked, and there is no continuous walkway from Cedar to Strossnider's without crossing the street. This set-up is a design for tragedy that encourages pedestrians to walk in the street with traffic.,-77.020855&spn=0.022945,0.048409

Has County government learned nothing? How are these plans gaining approval?