Testimony: Director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) for Prince George’s County Appointment

September 22, 2022

Hon. Rodney Streeter
Chair, Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee (TIEE)  
Prince George’s County Council
Wayne K. Curry Administration Bldg., 1301 McCormick Drive, 2nd Floor
Largo, MD 20774

RE: APPT-34-22 Appointment of the following individual as Director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) for Prince George’s County: Mr. Michael D. Johnson, P.E.

CSG supports the appointment of Mr. Johnson as Director of DPW&T. We are excited to support the movement of DPW&T towards safer streets, more reliable and frequent transit, and access to thriving businesses and neighborhoods. We note that DPW&T’s 2017 Urban Street Design Standards, which are part of the county’s road code, have not been implemented, or if they have, at a level that is hard to perceive. These national best practice street designs should be guiding new construction, retrofitting, and maintenance projects around transit centers. 

At the core of the urban street types are standards for arterials and collector roads — higher order roads — which are often considered primarily for moving motor vehicles. However, in a mixed use land use context, including around transit stations, these arterials and collectors have new purposes — they are designated “Mixed Use Boulevards” in the 2017 DWP&T urban street standards, and all have a design speed of 25 MPH for motor vehicles. This is in contrast to conventional arterials and collectors with design speeds of 50 and 40 MPH. Lower speeds are essential for making an environment friendly and less dangerous to people traveling on foot or bicycling. Higher speed roadways kill more people (walking or driving), and are not compatible with economic development goals around transit stations which rely on creating a sense of place. To ensure that the TOD policies of the county succeed, we need to start implementing the supportive urban street design standards that DPW&T has already developed and adopted into its road code. 

We ask the Committee to provide stronger oversight of DPW&T to ensure that Prince George’s is taking full advantage of these approved urban street designs that support the County’s economic development and safety goals.

Thank you for your consideration.