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MISSION STATEMENT

Montgomery County is committed to improving pedestrian safety and accessibility for everyone. The County's goals are to reduce collisions and make our community more walkable. The County Executive has created a comprehensive pedestrian safety strategic plan, the Pedestrian Safety Initiative, with specific performance measures, timelines, and budgets for achieving recommended actions. Ongoing evaluations will ensure the proposed engineering, enforcement, and education solutions are really working. Multiple agencies throughout the County work together to install infrastructure improvements, educate residents on safe driving and walking behavior, enforce traffic laws, encourage safety innovations, and evaluate results to guide future actions.

LINKAGE TO COUNTY RESULT AREAS

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

PROGRAM CONTACTS

Contact Venu Nemani of the Department of Transportation at 240.777.8790 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

County Executive Leggett has pledged to make improving pedestrian safety and making our communities more walkable a priority of his administration. The Pedestrian Safety Initiative, established in December 2007, outlines a comprehensive approach to meet that commitment. This is a collaborative effort of the County Executive and the County Council, as well as the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's (M-NCPPC) Planning Board and the Maryland State Highway Administration. This plan provides Montgomery County with a blueprint for pedestrian safety activities based on measureable strategies.

The strategic approaches to achieve the goals and objectives of this initiative are as follows:

  • Strategy 1: Target pedestrian safety improvements in High Incidence Areas;
  • Strategy 2: Assess and improve pedestrian network and connectivity needs;
  • Strategy 3: Increase emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists in the planning process;
  • Strategy 4: Identify and implement corridor and intersection modifications and traffic calming treatments;
  • Strategy 5: Upgrade pedestrian signals;
  • Strategy 6: Assess and enhance street lighting; and
  • Strategy 7: Modify pedestrian and driver behavior through enhanced enforcement and educational efforts.

RESULTS

Since the start of this initiative, these strategies have seen several successes. Seventeen High Incidence Areas (HIA) have been 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 3,083 bus stop improvements, and undertaken 245 new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) projects. 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 52 percent reduction of pedestrian collisions in these locations. Since funding the Pedestrian Safety Initiative in FY10, there has been a 41 percent reduction in average yearly pedestrian fatalities, and a 34 percent reduction in serious collisions where pedestrians are killed or incapacitated by their injuries.

The County Executive recommends $71.4 million in FY18 expenditures in support of pedestrian safety. The FY18 Recommended Operating Budget includes $8.5 million for pedestrian safety initiatives. In addition, the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) includes $62.9 million in expenditures for FY18.

Services dedicated to improving pedestrian safety are general program offerings as well as targeted services. These services address critical needs facing the County at this time and the desired outcome of reduced collisions and resulting injuries while increasing walkability. 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 18 studies/observations at public schools and 25 at private schools. 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 twice yearly, four-week media campaigns use transit shelters and bus advertising throughout the County to promote safe pedestrian behaviors and raise awareness of drivers and pedestrians about the importance of bicycle and pedestrian safety. In FY16, this campaign was broadened to a County-wide, year-round effort to coordinate with targeted enforcement actions.
  • 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 78 percent of all County pedestrian signals.
  • Improve sidewalk connectivity to transportation, commercial, employment, and medical areas throughout the County. Additionally, more direct sidewalk programs exist, such as one targeting the homeless shelter on East Gude Drive and improved safety on Springfield Drive at River Road .
  • Provide curb ramps for sidewalks and other accessibility barriers on County roadways through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance program.
  • Implementation of bike lanes along Nebel Street between Randolph Road and Marinelli Road. On-street parking was removed and buffered bike lanes were installed.
  • 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 help modify perceptions of risk and responsibility on the road, can change behavior, and contribute to building a culture of safety. 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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