Maryland Department of Transportation will present its six-year transportation budget plan to Prince George’s officials this Thursday.
The project list has some good projects, including the Purple Line, Metro, walk and bike safety, and support for transit-oriented development along the Blue Line Corridor. But also plans a lot of bad spending for road expansion that will fuel sprawling, traffic-generating development in the remaining rural areas of the county, and a continued failure to redesign existing roads to make them safer.
Prince George’s roads are the most deadly in the region, especially for people walking and biking. Walkable, transit-oriented communities like those found in other parts of the DC region will provide the gathering places, restaurants, and services that residents are hungry for. These places strengthen the tax base and economic competitiveness. To make these places possible, state funding should be focused on fixing existing roads – especially near transit stations and schools – to make them safer.
We need to tell our state and local officials that it’s time to invest federal and state transportation funds in safer, more walkable and accessible communities. Tell them:
- Fix it first and retrofit complete streets: Instead of always building bigger and wider high-speed roads, we should use our tax dollars to make existing roads safer for all road users, especially for people walking, bicycling, and accessing transit.
- Invest in a bus system that provides safe access, comfortable facilities and frequent, reliable service. Improving the local bus system (The Bus and Metrobus) would provide better access to jobs and opportunity. Key capital investments are sidewalks, safe crossings, benches, shelters, and dedicated bus lanes.
Join us in supporting these good planned investments:
- Metro and Purple Line: funding for Metro’s bus and rail capital needs, along with the 11 Purple Line light rail stations connecting inner beltway communities from New Carrollton into Montgomery County.
- Blue Line Corridor investments: walk and bicycle access improvements to Metro stations, although the big cost will be the Medical Center Drive (formerly Arena Drive) interchange with I-495. Nonetheless, improved walk/bike access to the four Metro stations (Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Blvd, Downtown Largo) will boost the surrounding communities.
- Making roads safer: These projects include adding sidewalks around the Naylor Road Metro station and other sidewalk projects, as well as new bike lanes and bike/walk paths. Projects, like the Central Avenue Connector Trail, should be accelerated. The state and county each have clear guidance for making our roads safer, like MD SHA Context Driven Access & Mobility For All Users and the County’s Urban Street Design Standards. We should be using them.
Let’s work together to redirect tax dollars away from ever-widening roads that will only fuel more sprawl and driving. These roads divide neighborhoods, becoming impossible to cross, and endanger residents. Help us build safer streets and connected communities.
It’s time to make our roads safer, to invest in better buses, and to support more walkable, transit-oriented communities. This is how we will reach our goals for a safe, sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.