Tuesday, August 29, 2006

If the county really wants to improve pedestrian safety...

While we're on the subject of pedestrian bridges and dangerous crossings, I'd like to request that the county make the stretch of Columbia Pike between Eastwood Avenue and Hillwood Drive accessible to pedestrians. This is the last block if you are travelling from Four Corners to the Northwest Branch bridge. There is no sidewalk or shoulder here whatsoever, and to make matters worse the area that borders the street is sloped and wooded, so walking along the side of the road is next to impossible. If you try and slip, you are liable to fall into the path of a vehicle travelling 50+ MPH.

What I find particularly strange is that there is a Ride-On bus stop located along the southbound side of the road. I rarely see people at this stop, and for good reason. To try and walk to this bus stop, you put your life at risk. I can imagine the guy who put this stop here staring at a map in a county planning office and deciding that there has to be a bus stop there because of some sort of pre-established interval. Anyone who actually saw the location would realize that the placement is absurd.

I was forced to walk this stretch once, and ended up in the median. I felt stupid, but after nearly falling into oncoming traffic while navigating the area on the side of the road, I felt it was my only alternative. Because of the lack of options for crossing the Northwest Branch (by car AND foot) you are forced to use this route should you want to travel between Four Corners and White Oak. It's stupid that if someone in the Woodmoor neighborhood wants a burrito from California Tortilla, they will be forced to drive a couple blocks to get one.

Attention all candidates for county council, county executive, state representative, etc: You have my vote if you pledge to do something about this! If the county can drop $7.7 million on a pedestrian bridge in Forest Glen to promote alternative transportation, they can at least put a sidewalk on this major artery.



14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I walk that stretch fairly often and agree with you entirely. It's bad enough in good weather, but doing it when the ground is muddy requires the skill of a mountain goat.

Leta said...

I took a class on state and local government from Hank Heller several years ago. One class assignment was to think up a law each of us would have passed were we elected officials. My law was that any street busy enough for stop signs would also require sidewalks.

Sligo said...

It really blows my mind. Its like someone just forgot to continue the sidewalk.

Twoste said...

North of the beltway you gotta have that car man. SS ain't the burbs, but it becomes burb-ish quick once you get outside the ring of fire.
A sidewalk there would be nice, but thing of the congestion it would cause on 29 in both directions. We should ask the Up the Pike blogger.

Anonymous said...

Why would a sidewalk cause congestion? If anything, it would make people more likely to walk and thus reduce congestion...and pollution.

Sligo said...

Another thing that would be nice about sidewalks on that stretch - it would link the trails along the NW Branch to the neighborhoods to the north.

thecourtyard said...

Route 29 needs to be widened between Four Corners and Burnt Mills to begin with. We'll have to push into Northwest Branch Park and maybe have some retaining walls, but it'd be worth it to have some decent shoulders, sidewalks and maybe a hiker-biker trail.

My friend's dad ran from White Oak to his job at FEMA every day for decades. Even though he's pushing sixty, he still bikes down Route 29 - until he got hit by a car last week.

Messiah said...

The citizens of Woodmoor were told last Fall that the county designated funding for the very sidewalk you propose. I haven't heard any updates, but I assumed that what those spray-painted lines along the side of the road were for earlier this summer, before the Northwest Branch flooded.

Sligo said...

I hope that they are still planning to do this (and do it soon). There are some big orange barriers (?) along the side of the road right now. Don't know if these are just remnants from the work they did to clean up after the flood, but it would be nice if they were related to the building of the sidewalk.

Robin Ficker said...

Your sidewalk is a good idea. It is on the to do list. I plan to double spending on bike paths too.

Silver Springer said...

Mr. Ficker what is your position on economic development?

Robin Ficker said...

I'm not accepting developer contributions unlike Leggett and Silverman, two perennial developer candidates. I'll give those desirous of economic a fair hearing, but not a back door hearing. Citizens from the neighborhoods should be involved from the word GO.

Michelle said...

The pinnacle of firebrand journalism that is the Woodmoor community newsletter used to tell us "the sidewalk project has been pushed back again" every issue, but they've since abandoned updates on this topic completely. In favor of "omigodomigod the expanded Bank of America coming to University and Lexington will be the death of us all aiieeeeee!"

I'd LOVE to know what's up with the sidewalk. I live in Woodmoor about 2 blocks from Colesville & Crestmoor and, to walk my dogs on Northwest Branch trails, I have to *get in my car* and drive 90 seconds to park at Burnt Mills. Woodmoor has no neighborhood access to those trails, unless you want to do a little trespassing and go overland, which I've done on days when I hate myself too much to get in the car for a mile's drive. Never have I felt more suburban, I tell you.

I had to use that Ride-On stop once when my car died and I had to get downtown; the time I spent perched on the narrow, underbrush-infested slope, in the rain, mere inches from the speeders whizzing by, actually passed pretty quickly---but that may be every moment was occupied what with the begging god to spare my life.

theSeaHawk said...

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION – U.S. Route 29 Sidewalk – CIP No. 509997. Is the MoCo DPW project to do just this.

It was endorsed by the Northwood Four Corners Civic Association in 2001.

DPW has been getting easements for it in 2006-2007. The MoCO County Council approved it, according to WTOP news, yesterday, with construction set for next spring.

HOORAY!