Rethink the I-495/Medical Center Drive interchange project
The massacre on our roadways is the result of worsening speeding, larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks with limited visibility, increases in driver impairment and distraction, and roadway design that prioritizes cars’ speed over the lives of the Commonwealth’s residents. The tools to reverse this tragic trend are as simple as sidewalks and pedestrian refuges, but Virginia needs policy and resources to make a change.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth strongly supports the Planning Board draft of the Pedestrian Master Plan. Its comprehensive approach to pedestrian safety and accessibility will advance our county’s climate and equity goals, help us reach Vision Zero, and establish Montgomery County as a model for other jurisdictions to follow.
The actions recommended in the Pedestrian Master Plan are visionary and ambitious—as we must be when tackling issues with the weight and urgency of climate change and increasing pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
We urge the Transportation & Environment Committee to support the Pedestrian Master Plan in full, and advance this visionary plan for a safer and more equitable Montgomery County.
Thank you for joining us on Tuesday, August 15 for a conversation with Council Member Eric Olson on the Walkable Urban Streets Act, landmark legislation that would ensure safer road designs for people walking and biking near transit districts and local centers.
Check out our factsheet and other resources on the Walkable Urban Streets Act.
Your feedback is critical to ensure that VDOT prioritizes fostering walkable, transit-friendly communities connected by clean, convenient intercity rail and bus systems rather than continuing to pave over Virginia and making communities more car-dependent and less safe to walk and bike.
The Walkable Urban Streets Act will require county officials to apply its own urban street design standards and update the standards to keep abreast with national best practices. Better street designs will make urban centers safer and foster transit-oriented economic development.
The project Advisory Group, representing a diverse mix of corridor stakeholders, last month voted overwhelmingly to recommend dedicated center-running bus lanes and improved walking and biking facilities as the best option to improve Duke St for all users. Council needs to hear from you, that you support this recommendation for a safer and truly multimodal Duke Street.
Sonya Breehey, the northern Virginia advocacy manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, says the speed limit reduction is a “win for a safer Richmond highway and the communities along the corridor.”
“The Richmond Highway corridor is just dangerous, and routinely sees higher than average crashes and fatalities,” Breehey tells DCist/WAMU. “So this is certainly a step in the right direction that will help make the roads safer for everybody no matter how you travel — but most especially for our vulnerable road users: those who are walking and biking.”
Breehey added that additional improvements are still needed.
“Dropping the speed limit along won’t be enough,” she says. “It’s one tool in the toolbox.”
Ultimately, this is about quality of life and attractive, competitive communities for residents of D.C. and the region, enhanced by having alternatives to hours spent driving and sitting in traffic and reducing the air pollution harming us — life and work enhanced by a green, sustainable and people-oriented downtown.