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MISSION STATEMENT

The status quo on our roads in Montgomery County and across the United States is unacceptable. The United States is an outlier for traffic fatalities compared to other high-income countries. On average, more than 35 people lost their lives and 400 were severely injured on roads in Montgomery County, Maryland, annually between 2012 and 2016. These are not accidents and they are not an inevitable "cost of doing business" in the modern world. Behind every traffic safety statistic is a real person whose life is forever changed in one moment. No one in our community should have to grieve the loss of a loved one as the result of a traffic collision. That is why Montgomery County is committed to eliminating severe and fatal collisions from our roadways by 2030.

LINKAGE TO COUNTY RESULT AREAS

  • An Effective and Efficient Transportation Network
  • Healthy and Sustainable Communities
  • Safe Streets and Secure Neighborhoods

PROGRAM CONTACTS

Contact Wade Holland, CountyStat at 240.777.2623, Fred Lees of the Department of Transportation at 240.777.2196, Capt. Thomas Didone of the Department of Police at 240.773.6601, Lorraine Driscoll of the Public Information Office at 240.777.6533, or Brady Goldsmith of the Office of Management and Budget at 240.777.2793 for more information regarding this initiative's operating budget.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Vision Zero is the next innovative step in County Executive Leggett's pledge to create safer streets and an effective and efficient transportation network. Prior to Vision Zero, Mr. Leggett launched a Pedestrian Safety Initiative. This initiative was established in December 2007 and was a collaborative effort of the County Executive, the County Council, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's (M-NCPPC) Planning Board, and the Maryland State Highway Administration. The initiative was guided by seven strategies that county departments utilized to target dedicated resources to reduce the number of collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians.

To build on the success of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative, County Executive Leggett presented the Vision Zero Two-Year Action Plan in November 2017. The Action Plan recommits the county to improving pedestrian safety and expands the collaborative effort to improving safety for drivers and cyclists. The goal of the Two-Year Action Plan is to reduce severe and fatal collisions by 35% compared to the prior five-year average. The target will be achieved by completing 41 action items in the areas of engineering, enforcement, education, traffic incident management, and law/policy/advocacy. To learn more about Vision Zero and to read the Two-Year Action Plan, go to http://montgomerycountymd.gov/visionzero/.

RESULTS

Vision Zero will be implemented in late FY18 and FY19. Since Vision Zero is a new initiative, these results are for the Pedestrian Safety Initiative. Overall, the Pedestrian Safety Initiative saw many successes. Since funding the Pedestrian Safety Initiative in FY10, Montgomery County has prevented 250 severe and 33 fatal collisions. Seventeen High Incidence Areas (HIA) were identified and studied, with short-term improvements completed and many long-term improvements in progress. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has constructed 30 miles of new sidewalk segments, completed over 3,204 bus stop improvements, and undertaken 1,282 new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps aimed at improving pedestrian safety. Areas with traffic calming improvements have seen pedestrian collisions decrease by 44 percent. Educational efforts have been conducted in HIAs, pedestrian collision hot spots, as well as targeted to high-risk groups. These efforts were conducted in coordination with enforcement efforts, and have been used to change unsafe pedestrian and driver behaviors. Following engineering improvements, education coupled with enforcement, have modified perceptions of risk and responsibility on the roads and sidewalks. Targeting these HIAs with these three "Es", has resulted in up to a 52 percent reduction of pedestrian collisions in these locations.

The County Executive recommends $118.3 million in FY19 expenditures in support of Vision Zero. The FY19 Recommended Operating Budget includes $40.2 million for Vision Zero initiatives. In addition, the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) includes $78.1 million in expenditures for FY19.

Services dedicated to improving traffic safety include general program offerings, as well as targeted services. These services address current critical needs and the desired outcome of reducing severe and fatal collisions. Below are some of the major County government programs currently supporting Pedestrian Safety:

Department of Transportation
  • Provide a mechanism for communities through Safe Routes to School (SRTS) to increase the ability of students to walk or bike to school safely through improved facilities along student walking routes to school. Evaluate and assess traffic and operational safety issues at County schools. Completed 22 comprehensive pedestrian and traffic safety evaluations at public schools where improvements were made. Preparation of school walking routes in GIS. Safety campaign in public schools including bike rodeos and crosswalk simulations.
  • Participate in the regional Street Smart pedestrian safety education campaign. The campaigns use transit shelters and bus advertising throughout the County to promote safe pedestrian behaviors and to raise awareness of drivers and pedestrians about the importance of bicycle and pedestrian safety. The twice yearly, four-week media campaigns are also coordinated with targeted enforcement actions. In FY16, this campaign was modified and broadened to a County-wide, year-round effort to also reach the teen and senior populations.
  • Perform traffic calming improvements by treating roadways with pedestrian refuge islands, curb extensions, speed humps, and improved signage and markings, such as current projects under design or construction on Wickham Road, Old Baltimore Road, Arlington Road, Lockwood Drive, Brunette Avenue, East Franklin Street, Lamberton Drive at Belgrade Road, Ray Drive at Gist Avenue, Spring Street at Fairview Road, and Grubb Road at Lyttonsville Road. Where traffic calming has been employed in areas with collisions, there has been a measurable reduction in speeding and a 44 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions.
  • Implement pedestrian signal timing improvements to provide pedestrians with more time to safely cross streets. This program has thus far completed retiming of all County pedestrian signals.
  • Improve sidewalk connectivity to transportation, commercial, and employment areas, and medical facilities throughout the County.
  • Provide curb ramps for sidewalks and other accessibility barriers on County roadways through the ADA compliance program.
  • Separated bike lanes on Spring Street/Cedar Streetprovide a new lower-stress connection for cyclists in the Silver Spring CBD. These lanes are separated from traffic by a buffer with flexpost delineators and in most areas parked cars provide additional buffer space. It is expected that these lanes will increase the number of cyclists. Increasing cycling usage has been correlated with increased safety in other cities. The narrower travel lanes have also reduced speeds in the corridor, especially at key locations where islands have been installed to benefit pedestrians. Other safety benefits include shorter crossing distances for pedestrians, islands to improve pedestrian safety and visibility, corner islands to reduce turning speed, and floating transit stops which remove the conflict between cyclists and buses making service stops.
  • Design and construct an extension from the end of the existing trail in Takoma Park and the Silver Spring Transit Center through the Metropolitan Branch Trail project.
  • Conduct both countywide and targeted pedestrian safety education campaigns in HIA's and police district hot spots, coordinating with enforcement actions by Montgomery County Police Department, the creation of a 30-member volunteer brigade to conduct bilingual education on the streets, and bilingual education teams to reach at-risk groups within the High Incidence Areas. High school pedestrian safety education was expanded through the Walk Your Way Program and the YOLO Walk Safe Campaign with expanded use of social media and school partnering.
  • Conduct evaluations of pedestrian and bicycle facilities in eight of the County's twenty-eight Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas (BiPPAs) and construct improvements to pedestrian and bicycle connectivity and safety in these BiPPAs.
Department of Police
  • Manage and analyze a database of collision data used to inform policy and program decisions through the Police Traffic Division, such as the identification of HIAs, locations for traffic calming improvements, and groups and areas at high risk of being involved in pedestrian collisions.
  • Target enforcement of pedestrian safety and traffic safety laws in HIAs and areas around elementary, middle, and high schools in coordination with MCDOT's pedestrian safety education activities.
  • Continue to implement countywide speed camera and red light camera enforcement to slow traffic to posted speed limits.
  • Engage shoppers in parking lots with the "Shop with a Cop" program, where police distribute high-visibility shopping bags and safety tips brochures to address pedestrian collisions that occur in parking lots.
  • Work with property managers and property owners to implement improvements that will improve pedestrian safety in parking lots, where 30 percent of the County's pedestrian collisions occur.
  • Overall, enhanced enforcement of pedestrian and traffic safety laws helps modify perceptions of risk and responsibility on the road, can change behavior and contribute to building a culture of safety. From 2012 to 2017, MCPD increased the number of citations and warnings given to drivers violating pedestrian safety by 366% and pedestrians by 38%. Montgomery County Police have been instrumental in helping reduce the number of pedestrian collisions by:
    • Administering special pedestrian crosswalks, operating safe streets corridors, holiday and school enforcements; and
    • Dedicating regular on-duty police enforcement in HIAs to issue warnings to pedestrians and motorists.
Public Information Office
  • Continue the educational program in cooperation with the Department of Transportation to educate the public about ways to improve safety in parking lots - both as drivers and as pedestrians.

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