12 Aug 2019


Street Justice: Prince George’s Sets Lackluster Road Safety Goal

Gordon Chaffinis a freelance journalist who focuses on infrastructure and traffic news and insights for Street Justice. You can support independent journalism by subscribing to Gordon’s Street Justice newsletter: He’s offering a 20% discount to THIH readers. See more information below. –Maria Helena Carey

Bike parked outside the Post Office in Brookland, DC. (Gordon Chaffin / StreetJustice.news)

Prince George’s Sets Lackadaisical Road Safety Goal

Last Month, Prince George’s County debuted its own Vision Zero initiative with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities in the County. Until now, Prince George’s County has operated within MDOT/SHA’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign. TZD is a much less ambitious and narrow scope safety effort focused primarily on small steps to reduce fatalities on high-speed, limited-access highways, interstates, and county roads. Prince George’s County mentioned two dangerous factors for road safety: speed and distracted driving. But PG county has not demonstrated, and at in-constriction projects continues to fail at demonstrating, political will to actually re-design the roads for safety in such a way that distracted walking or biking doesn’t mean people get killed. [Full Story]

Arlington County Police Measures Safety vs. Traffic Flow

On July 10, Arlington County’s Bicycle Advisory Committee met jointly with the Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Arlington PD’s Lt. Dan Murphy looked at first six months of bike/ped crashes in 2019, compared to 2018 and 2017. Pedestrian incidents are up and bike crashes are down. 10 bike crashes each in May and June 2019. Cyclists at fault 32% in this years’ crashes, compared to last year’s 20% at-fault rate. Lt. Murphy said that he “can’t, in good conscience, say I want a push-button to stop traffic to cross the street. We have to be fair. This is a multi-use county, it’s pedestrians, and vehicles, and bicycles, an multi-modal. I’ve talked with many of you [BAC and PAC members], and…you talk about the pedestrian lead — where you get 30 seconds to cross before traffic gets … I know that that’s what your desire is. But, I serve more than one master here. We have to make it so traffic moves.” [Full Story]

Changes Coming to Queens Chapel Rd in Prince Georges

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is currently in the process of re-designing the surface of Queens Chapel Road in Prince George’s County. In construction on phase one of two, this “MD 500 Urban Reconstruction Project” will add landscaped medians, improve and add crosswalks, widen sidewalks to ADA compliance, and add unprotected bike lanes on some blocks, on some sides of the road. Other than a widened median, there’s almost no design changes to induce slower driving. SHA will lower the speed limit on Queens Chapel to 30 mph. However, it’s not clear how these marginally more “urban” designs will force traffic to go slower. SHA will be putting only narrow, unprotected bike lanes in — and only in–– some places. [Full Story]

Ride-Through of Met Branch Trail Detour

Check out the ride-through video I made Friday afternoon of the detour NoMA Parks set up for the Metropolitan Branch Trail in DC. The re-routing of trail users starts today — Monday, August 12th — and will allow for more substantial work on the upcoming Tanner Park. According to NoMA Parks Foundation, the existing trail is “anticipated to be reopened in early November.” Construction on the project “began in March 2019 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 or early 2020.” [Full Story]

More Progress on Florida Ave NE

I’m riding on Florida Avenue NE in DC everyday now and DDOT’s contractors are moving fast with installation of the safety upgrades. The larger, sturdier K71 bollards are installed on the upper section of the project (northwest half of Florida NE). Along with the park-it barriers, the two-way cycletrack is almost complete. Contractors have added plastic flexposts and curb barriers as curb extensions. On the southeast section of Florida NE — the lower half of the project — contractors have painted the bike lane on the westbound, north side. Protection will go in there as well. [Full Story]

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