T&E COMMITTEE #4
October 27,2014
Worksession
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
G?Glenn Orlin, Deputy Council Administrator
~ichael
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Worksession: Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and
Pedestrian Safety Improvements
SUBJECT:
Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety
Improvements, sponsored by Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer, was introduced on
December 10,2013 (see introduced bill, ©1-7). Bill 33-13 would limit the width of travel lanes,
turning lanes, and parking lanes, as well as the size of intersection curb radii in urban areas.
Under the Bill as introduced, curb extensions (also called sidewalk bulb-outs) would be required
in many cases where a road in an urban area is reconstructed. The Bill as introduced also would
set target speeds at which vehicles should operate in specific contexts, to provide both for
mobility for motor vehicles and a safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The introduced Bill would require certain road improvements to include a sufficient
pedestrian refuge area, direct developers building road improvements to add curb ramps where
appropriate, and require curb ramps to be built in accordance with federal ADA Best Practices.
The public hearing was held on January 23, 2014. The testimony and later correspondence
expressed general support for the Bill's objectives. However, testimony
was
divided between those
who advocated guidelines that would allow engineers to craft case-by-case solutions (see ©8-14),
and those who supported setting certain specific standards in the law and leaving the rest for the
guidelines (see ©IS-26).
Working Group The bill's co-sponsors convened a working group of staff from the
Council, Planning Department, and the County Departments of Transportation (DOT), Fire &
Rescue Services (DFRS) and Permitting Services (DPS) (see sponsors' memo, ©27-28). The group
met four times during October, and it was assisted by Toole Design, a planning
finn
under contract
to DOT which has considerable experience in developing complete streets standards and guidelines.
From the outset the group's purpose was to explore these issues in detail, but not necessarily
to
achieve consensus.
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Redraft
After this exploration, Chairman Berliner recommended revisions to the original bill (see
redraft, ©29-37). His approach would specify a maximum target speed, lane width, and curb radius
for streets in urban areas, which are Metro Station Policy Areas and Road Code Urban Areas
designated by Council resolutions (a map showing them is on ©38).
It
also would require the
County Executive to develop complete street guidelines in the next 18 months.
The first
3
recommendations would apply to County streets located in urban areas:
1. Maximum target speed.
Under the current law, maximum target speed is defined as "the
maximum speed at which vehicles should operate on a thoroughfare in a specific context, consistent
with the level of multimodal activity generated by adjacent land uses, to provide mobility for motor
vehicles and a safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists" (see ©32, lines 66-70). The target
speed is so called because all the roadway design elements should be used to bring drivers to the
point where they feel most comfortable driving at that speed. This Bill as introduced would set a
target speed for each road classification in each type of area: urban, suburban, and rural (see ©34­
35, lines 130-136).
The redraft refocuses on urban areas, so it would not set target speeds in suburban and rural
areas. The target speed for all County streets in urban areas would be 25 mph, unless otherwise
specified in an adopted master plan or CIP project.
2. Lane width.
The introduced Bill calls for the width of a motor vehicle travel lane to be
no wider than 10 feet, except that an outside curb lane would be no wider than 11 feet, including the
gutter pan. The redraft retains this recommendation, but if a case is made for wider lanes at a
particular location, the Planning Board could grant a waiver for improvements by a developer, and
the Council could adopt a different width for a capital improvements program (CIP) project by so
specifying on a project description form (PDF) (see ©34, lines 116-121).
Although a few County streets have lanes that are narrower, especially for left turns, 10 feet
is considered the minimum width that can accommodate general traffic on a through lane. There is
less room to maneuver in 10 foot-wide lanes than in the more standard 11- and 12 foot-wide lanes,
which means that drivers would be more cautious and drive slower. This is important in urban
areas, especially during off-peak times when traffic is lighter. (During peak hours, congestion itself
reduces the speed in most urban areas.)
3. Curb radii.
Tighter comers at intersections produce two positive results for pedestrians:
they slow vehicular traffic traversing crosswalks, and they shorten the distance for pedestrians to
cross. The introduced Bill would set the maximum curb radius at 15 feet The redraft would retain
this standard, but would allow a different radius if approved by the Planning Board as a condition of
plan approval or the Council for a CIP project (see ©34, lines 122-126).
No issue generated more discussion in the working group than curb radii. All
participants agreed that several factors contribute to the geometry of a feasible curb radius: the
width of the approach lane along the curb; the width of the "receiving" roadway, including the
2
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number of receiving lanes and their widths; the presence or absence of a bike lane; the presence
or absence of a curb extension (or bulb-out); the angle at which the streets cross (the skew); the
degree of allowable encroachment in the cross-street's approach lane(s); the volume of buses,
tractor-trailers, and other large vehicles regularly making the turn; and the ability of fire
apparatus to negotiate the turn.
It
is likely that most waivers granted would apply to curb radii.
The recommendations that follow would apply to all County streets:
4. Pedestrian refuges.
The introduced Bill would require any mid-street pedestrian
refuge to be at least 6 feet wide, and require them on any divided highway (a road with a median)
with 6 or more through travel lanes (see ©34, lines 127-129).
5. Shared use paths.
Current law defines a shared use path as being 8-12 feet wide. The
redraft recognizes that 10 feet should be the typical width, but that a path could be as wide as 14
feet if its volume is high and passing is frequent. On the other hand, a path could be as narrow as
8 feet wide where bicycle and pedestrian use is expected to be low and adequate passing
opportunities would be provided, or a physical constraint, such as an environmental feature,
bridge abutment, utility structure, or wall, is present.
6. Separated and buffered bike lanes.
Separated bike lanes, also known as cycle tracks,
are not now defined in the County Code, although they have been included in at least two
recently adopted master plans. The redraft would defme a separated lane as a bikeway that is
separated from motor vehicle travel lanes by a physical barrier, such as a landscape panel or a
line of parked cars. The bill also defmes a buffered bike lane as one that is separated from motor
vehicle lanes by striped pavement (see ©31, lines 46-52). Including these defmitions in the law
would encourage their inclusion in future design and construction standards and guidelines.
7. Curb ramps and stormwater gratings.
The current law requires curb ramps,
stormwater gratings and other similar openings in the roadway to be designed so they are not a
hazard to bicycle and wheelchair traffic. The law allows the County to satisfy this requirement if
the minimum American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards are met. The introduced Bill
would require a higher standard for these facilities, as described in ADA's best practices
guidelines (see ©33, lines 93-101).
8. Complete streets infrastructure.
The redraft would formally include "complete
streets" and "complete streets infrastructure" in the purpose and defmitions language of the
County Road Code. Although this would not substantively change the current law, which
already requires each transportation facility in the County to be designed for all users, it clearly
emphasizes that transportation rights-of-way are for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders, as
well as those driving or riding in motor vehicles. The redraft also expressly encourages
facilitating new technologies, such as intelligent signals, smart parking meters, electric vehicle
charging, car- and bike-sharing, and way-fmding systems, to the maximum extent possible (see
©30-31, lines 10-36 and ©31-32, lines 53-65).
9. Sidewalks.
The current law leaves broad discretion to the Council (for CIP projects)
and to the Planning Board (for conditions of development plan approvals) on whether sidewalks
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must be installed with a road project. The redraft would limit that discretion to 4 situations: in
very low density rural zones, along rustic or country roads, where limits on impervious surface
apply, and on tertiary residential streets where the Planning Board finds that a sidewalk is
unnecessary (see ©32-33, lines 72-92). Where permittees are required to install sidewalks, the
redraft would also require curb ramps if necessary (see ©36, lines 139-159).
In
the Working Group, members concluded that a
comprehensive set of complete streets guidelines could be produced within 18 months. The
redraft directs the Executive to transmit a Method 2 regulation to the Council by June 1, 2016
that would include these guidelines (see ©36, lines 161-163). If these regulations are received as
scheduled, the Council could act on them before the 2016 summer recess.
Complete streets guidelines.
Applicability.
Under the redraft, its new standards would not apply to any road project
already in final design or construction when the Bill takes effect.
This packet contains:
Bill 33-13 as introduced
Selected hearing testimony and correspondence
Sponsors' memo re staff Working Group
Councilmember Berliner redraft
Map of urban areas
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal and Economic Impact statements
Circle
#
1
8
27
29
38
39
40
F:\LAW\BILLS\1333 Streets And Roads - Urban Roads\Action MemoDoc
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Bill No.
33-13
Conceming: Streets and Roads - Urban
Road Standards and Pedestrian
Safety Improvements
Revised: ____- - - Draft No.
Introduced:
December 10,2013
Expires:
June 10,2015
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: ___-___:_----
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer
AN ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
specify maximum standards for lane widths and curb radii on urban roads,
further defme certain required certain pedestrian improvements; and
generally amend the laws governing road design and construction.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 49, Streets and Roads
Sections 49-4, 49-29, 49-32, and 49-33
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
*' *' *'
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law
by
original
bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL
No. 33-13
1
2
Sec.
1.
Sections 49-4, 49-29, 49-32, and 49-33- are amended as follows:
49-4.
Public-private participation.
The County Executive, on behalf of the County, may contract with any person,
who is building a real estate development or subdivision in the County, to participate
in the cost of any street, sidewalk, bikeway, gutter, curb or drainage construction,
landscaping, traffic control device, bikeshare station, electric vehicle charging
station, or placement of utilities.1 conduits or amenities in a street or road dedicated to
public use.
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
49-25.
Purpose and short title.
This Article is intended to guide the planning, design, and construction of
transportation facilities in the public right-of-way. Each transportation facility in the
County must be planned and designed to:
(a)
maximize the choice, safety, convenience, and mobility of all users,
13
14
(b) respect and maintain the particular character of the community where it
is located, [and]
(c)
minimize stormwater runoff and otherwise preserve the natural
environment.1 and
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
@
facilitate the future accommodation of improved transportation
technology elements, such as intelligent signals, smart meters, electric
vehicle charging, car- and bicycle-sharing, and way-finding systems.
To achieve these goals, each County road and street must be designed so that
the safety and convenience of all users ofthe roadway system - including pedestrians,
bicyclists, transit users, automobile drivers, commercial vehicles and freight haulers,
and emergency service vehicles - is accommodated.
Each road and street must
23
24
25
26
facilitate multi-modal use and assure that all users can travel [safety] safely in the
public right of way. A specified quantity of stormwater must be managed and treated
on- site,
in
the road or street right-of-way, including through the use of vegetation­
@ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - F :
-
o
'
-
\
-
R
27
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BILL
No.
33 -13
28
29
30
31
based infiltration techniques.
These [contest] context-sensitive policies must be
employed in all phases of publicly or privately funded facility development,
including planning, design, construction, [and]
reconstruction~
and streetscaping.
*
49-26.
Definitions.
*
*
*
*
32
33
*
34
Target Speed:
the speed at which vehicles should operate on a [throoughfare]
thoroughfare in a specific context, consistent with the level of multimodal activity
generated by adjacent land uses, to provide mobility for motor vehicles and a safe
environment for pedestrians and bicyclists. [The target speed is usually the posted
speed limit.]
35
36
37
38
39
40
*
49-29.
*
*
*
*
Pedestrian walkways, bikeways, and wheelchair traffic.
41
*
(b)
42
To promote the safety of bicycle and wheelchair travel throughout the
County, the County Executive must [establish] adopt, by regulation,
standards and specifications to build and maintain ramps at curbed
intersections and stonn water gratings and other openings along roads
and streets, in each case of a design and type that is not a hazard to
bicycle and wheelchair traffic and is consistent with Americans with
Disabilities Act best practices guidelines published
Qy
the United States
Department of Justice. These ramps, gratings, and openings must be
built and maintained as part of each project under subsection (a).
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
49-32.
(a)
Design standards for types of roads.
The design standards adopted under this Article govern the construction
or reconstruction of any County road except Rustic Roads and
Exceptional Rustic Roads.
If the Planning Board, in approving a
F:\oR
53
54
____________
~QD~3~----------------3-
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BILL
No.
33 -13
55
56
57
subdivision or site plan, [detennines] finds that a waiver from any
applicable design standard is necessary to promote context-sensitive
design of a specific road, the Executive or the Executive's designee
must adopt the Board's recommendation unless the Executive or
[the]
designee [concludes that] notifies the Board why approving the waiver
would significantly impair public safety. The County Council may
adopt 'alternative standards for a specific road constructed or
reconstructed in a project in the approved capital improvements
program.
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
*
(g)
*
*
65
66
Each through travel or turning lane on an urban road must be no wider
than 10 feet, except
~
through travel or turning lane abutting an outside
curb, which must
be
no wider than
67
68
11
feet, including the gutter pan.
~
Each parking lane on an urban road must be no wider than
including the gutter pan.
{h)
feet,
69
70
The curb radius at the comer of each intersection of urban roads must
not exceed
U
feet. Curb extensions must be provided at the ends of
each pennanent parking lane except where
designated.
~
71
72
73
right-turn lane is
74
75
ill
Each pedestrian refuge must be at least
Q
feet wide. A pedestrian refuge
must be provided at each intersection on
more through travel lanes.
~
~
divided highway with
Q
or
76
77
78
ill
Unless otherwise specified in
master plan or the approved capital
improvements program, the target speeds in the table below must
govern the construction or reconstruction of any County road except
Rustic Roads and Exceptional Rustic Roads:
79
80
______________
(fJ=lf=-'-------------4'1--=-.-__
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BILL
No.
33 -13
Classification
Target Sl!eed
Freeway
Controlled Major Highway
Parkway
55-65 mI!h
50 mI!h
urban: 25 mI!h
suburban: 40 mI!h
urban: 25 mI!h
Major Highway
suburban: 35-40 mI!h
rural: 45 mI!h·
suburban: 40 mI!h
rural: 40-45 mQh
urban: 25 mQh
suburban: 35 mQh
rural: 40 mI!h
urban: 25 mI!h
Country Arterial
Arterial
Minor Arterial
suburban: 30 mI!h
rural: 35 mI!h
25mQh
25mQh
25mQh
25m:gh
20mQh
20mQh
Business District Street
Industrial Street
Country Road
Primary and PrinciQal Secondary Residential
Streets
Secondary Residential Streets
Tertiary Residential Street
81
Alley
15 mQh
*Target sQeed for these classifications
in
suburban and rural commercial
zones is 30 mph.
49-33.
Road construction requirements.
82
83
84
*
*
*
F:\OR
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BILL
No.
33 -13
85
86
87
88
(e)
If a lot or lots front on a public road, the pennittee must install
sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters, except on any Secondary or
Tertiary Residential Street[,] or on any Service Drive fronting on any lot
in a residential zone. This requirement does not apply if the minimum
net lot area for a one-family detached dwelling in that zone is larger
than 25,000 square feet, except that [a sidewalk must be installed] the
pennittee must install sidewalks and ramps on any primary or higher
classification road.
However, the Planning Board may require the
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
applicant to install sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters in any such zone
if the Board fmds, as a condition of approval of a preliminary
subdivision plan or site plan, that sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters at
that location are necessary to allow access:
(1 )
to a sidewalk;
to a bus or other public transit stop;
to an amenity or public facility that will be used by occupants of
the site or subdivision; or
98
99
(2)
(3)
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
(4)
by persons with disabilities.
Before the Planning Board approves any requirement under the
preceding sentence, the Board must give the Departments of Permitting
Services and Transportation a reasonable opportunity to comment on
the proposed requirement.
*
Approved:
*
*
108
109
Craig L. Rice, President, County Council
Date
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _©-=b:::::­
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 , _ -_ _
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BILL No. 33 -13
110
111
112
Approved:
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
113
114
115
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe Council
Date
____________
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I
Testimony of County Executive Isiah Leggett
before the Transportation, Infrastructure,
Energy and Environment
(T
&E) Committee
Bill 33-13
January 23,2014
Good evening, Chairman Berliner and members of the T&E Committee. For the
record my name is
Art
Holmes, Director of Montgomery County's Department of
Transportation, testifying on behalfof County Executive Isiah Leggett.
The County Executive and the Department of Transportation endorse the goals of
the legislation to reduce vehicle speeds and provide improved pedestrian safety and
mobility.
We support the design of transportation facilities which incorporate the policies of
Complete Streets and Context Sensitive Design, providing a balance of transportation
modes for
all
users and recognizing the context within which the facility
is
located.
The design and operation of intersections and roads in an urban environment is a
complex matter that ultitnately involves:
• the safety of
all
users of the facilities: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists;
• the need to provide safe and adequate access for the delivery of goods and
services to businesses that operate in urban environments;
• the accessibility and response time of emergency vehicles to ensure the
protection of our residents and businesses.
There are more than 200 intersections in the four Urban Areas of Bethesda, Silver
Spring, White Flint and Wheaton. And there are more
than.
one hundred additional
intersections in the other Urban Areas of the County.
The variability of factors at roadways and intersections throughout the County's
urban areas means that each urban area presents different challenges. Significant
differences exist between the down-county urban areas of Bethesda, Silver Spring and
Friendship Heights in comparison with Urban Areas in Clarksburg, Damascus and Olney.
These differences include congestion levels, pedestrian activity, development densities,
vehicle speeds, frequency of large vehicles, uses of the streetscape, etc.
Therefore, we believe it is important to provide flexibility in designing roads and
intersections so that in each urban area
all
factors can be adequately balanced. We
suggest an approach that would develop design guidelines, similar to those developed and
adopted in other major urban areas such as Boston and Chicago, to guide the design
decisions involved in roadway and intersection design.
._1,
®
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81 Mosher Street
i
8alllmore, MD 21217
I
410.728.2900
BOO 787.3755
I
www
rldu:om
January 22, 2014
Montgomery County Council
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
100 Maryland Avenue, 5th Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
RE:
Montgomery County Council Public Hearing
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements
Dear Councilmembers:
RK&K has reviewed the draft legislation for Bill 33-13. Streets and Roads Urban Road Standards and
Pedestrian Safety Improvements and appreciates the opportunity to offer comments on the proposed
amendments.
We have a long history of providing transportation engineering design services for
Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and a wide range of transportation and public works agencies
throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Furthermore, we are very familiar with the County's current Road
Code (adopted in 2008) and a wide range of Complete Streets and Urban Design guidelines from our work
with the County, MD SHA, MD MTA, WMATA, District of Columbia DOT, Virginia DOT, City of Takoma Park,
City of Rockville, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, and others.
We applaud the County's efforts to strengthen its commitment to Complete Streets design principles. We
believe the County made great strides in enhancing its ability to develop "Complete Streets", with the
update to its Road Code and Roadway Design Standards, in 2008. We believe the proposed legislation is
another valuable effort to further strengthen the County's ability to develop its roadways as complete
streets that are safe and functional for all roadway users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, cars,
trucks, and buses.
We understand the objectives of the proposed legislation are to strengthen the County's ability to develop
Complete Streets, by amending the road design requirements, defining pedestrian requirements, and
specifying specific standards for various roadway components. The new guidelines include requirements for
transportation technology; compliance with ADA guidelines; specific lane width, parking lane curb radii and
refuge island minimum/maximum dimensions; revised target speeds and sidewalk ramp requirements.
While we understand and support the objectives behind each of the new requirements in the legislation,
we would caution the County about setting specific limits for design features, such as lane widths and curb
radii, since it is very difficult to identify specific lane widths and curb radii that are applicable to all potential
situations. For instance, lane widths and curb radii should be guided by the appropriate design speed,
design vehicle and land use, along with transportation functions within the project area. Transportation
characteristics that could potentially vary include types of vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, emergency
vehicles); operations (parking, loading/unloading, transit, taxi pickup, bicycling, and walking), among
others. We believe it is important that design guidelines maintain some flexibility so that stakeholders have
the opportunity to evaluate all of the goals, needs, and constraints of a speCific project and develop a
design that is most effective at meeting those goals, while appropriately considering the project
constraints. In addition, design guidelines should have the flexibility to change with future research and
technology, as they continue to evolve in the industry and in our society.
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Montgomery County Council
January 22,2014
Page 2 of 2
Personally, as a former Secretary of Maryland DOT, I would suggest forming a Working Group similar to
the Boston approach, in developing your own set of Complete Street Guidelines. As a starting point, the
Working Group might begin with the consideration of several available guidelines that have been
developed by organizations with specialized expertise and experience in the design of Complete Streets
principles. Discussions with those who have developed existing guidelines would also likely be
beneficial. Based on my 48 years in transportation, learning from others who have already undertaken
similar efforts regarding complex issues often provides real benefits to the final product.
Potential resources include:
City of Boston,
Boston Complete Streets Guidelines
City of Chicago,
Complete Streets Design Guidelines
City of Philadelphia,
Philadelphia Complete Streets Design Handbook
NACTO
Urban Street Design Guide
• . NACTO
Bicycle Design Guide
• ITE
Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach
• AASHTO
A Guide for Achieving Flexibility in Highway Design
• AASHTO
Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
• AASHTO
Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities
• FHWA
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
These resources would provide valuable information to the Working Group, regarding all aspects of
Complete Streets design, including lane widths, parking lanes, curb radii, refuge island design, sidewalks,
bike lanes, curb ramps, curb extensions, crosswalks, intersection design, transit lanes, transit stops,
buffers, frontage space, street trees, signing, pavement markings, signalization, landscaping, etc.
Considering the information presented by these resources, the Working Group would be able to develop
a comprehensive set of Complete Street guidelines for Montgomery County. By utilizing the resulting
comprehensive set of Complete Streets gUidelines, future stakeholders (agency representatives,
government officials, businesses, and community representatives) would then be able to devetop a
street design that best meets the specific needs and constraints of each individual project.
We appreciate the opportunity to provide our comments on the pending legislation for its Urban Road
Standards. If you have any questions regarding our comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at
1.800.787.3755.
Partner Emeritus
(Former Secretary, MOOT)
®
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Christopher Conklin
411 Oak Knoll Ter
RockviHe, MD 20850
January 21,2014
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Councilmembers:
I am writing to suggest an alternative course ofaction to achieve the objectives of Bill 33­
13 introduced by Councilmember Roger Berliner. The objectives ofthe Bill are laudable­
providing for appropriate intersection design elements in urban areas. However, the rigid
standards proposed are, by themselves, insufficient to achieve the stated objectives and
may compromise the ability of design professionals to provide safe and effective facilities.
Intersection design is complex and involves a large number ofvariables. Detailed
consideration of context-specific considerations is critical so that the most appropriate
measures, within the constraints found at each location, can be incorporated. To provide a
safe environment for pedestrians, the design also needs to make sure that routine service
by large vehicles (transit, deliveries, fire
&
rescue, etc.) is safely accommodated.
Requiring specific design values by law is counter to best-practices for context sensitive
design and hampers the ability ofdesign professionals to meet the continuingly evolving
needs of our urban areas. In some ways, prescribing design values to apply to all
situations is like requiring, by law, a doctor to prescribe one medication for all patients.
As evidence, consider this statement by the National Association ofCity Transportation
Officials (NACTO) in their highly-regarded
Urban Street Design Guide:
"It is important to note that urban situations are complex.
The
treatments and
topics discussed in this guide must be tailored to individual situations and
contexts. NACTO encourages good engineeringjudgment in all cases."
A few years ago, I had the privilege ofworking with the County Executive's Task Force
to develop the
Context Sensitive Road Design Standards.
During this process, addressing
intersection design was identified as an area that needed additional work including
stakeholder engagement. Using a stakeholder-infonned process to develop intersection
design guidelines is the best way for the County to meet its objectives for improving
pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the County's urban areas. This process would allow for
fonnulation of guidelines that respond to the objectives of Bill 33-13 while recognizing
the need for appropriate flexibility in design.
Respectfully,
Christopher Conklin
®
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Testimony before the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T & E)
Committee-January 23, 2014
Bill 33-13
Good evening Chairman Berliner and members of the T&E Committee. For the record, my name
is Ron Welke. I was the Chief, Division of Traffic Engineering, in the Department of
Transportation for Montgomery County (MCDOT) from 1974 to 1994. Subsequently, I was a
Supervisor for Development Review at the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning
Commission (M-NCPPC) in Montgomery County from 1996 to 2004.
With that profeSSional background, I bring a unique perspective to the issues and
recommendations contained in Bill 33-13. In both of my positions, frequently I was involved in
spirited discussions with professional staff from both agencies as well as local transportation
engineering consultants regarding the specific elements of roadway and intersection design. I
have the highest respect for Larry Cole at M-NCPPC and Edgar Gonzales and Emil Wolanin at
MCDOT.
In my professional judgment, it is not appropriate to legislate traffic engineering design
elements such as maximum target speeds, maximum curb radii and maximum lane widths in
urban areas. The speCific conditions related to each situation must be taken into account before
a decision is made, and that is the job ofthe professionals. A balance must be reached between
the competing and often conflicting goals of safety and mobility; of pedestrians, bicyclists and
transit vehicles, in an urban environment.
For example, a curb radius of 15' does reduce the crossing distance at an intersection for
pedestrians and tends to slow vehicles down as they make a right turn. However, a transit
vehicle or a UPS delivery truck may not be able to make that right turn without either
encroaching on the approach lane or mounting the curb, both safety issues. A 20' or 25' radius
may be more appropriate in that case.
Similarly, setting target speeds or speed limits too low may violate driver expectations and
cause a disparity in actual speeds, another safety issue. During my tenure with MCDOT, we
established a safe and realistic speed limit policy that, to the best of my knowledge, is still in
effect tod ay.
These decisions should be left to the professionals. I recommend that the County Council set
general goals in Bill 33-13, and that a working group be established to develop design guidelines
that will reflect the consensus of all stakeholders and provide a balance between the safety and
mobility objectives unique to each situation.
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Testimony by Francine E. Waters on January 23,2014
before the Montgomery County Council during their consideration of
the
Bill 33-13, Road Code Amendments
I am pleased to speak to you today on behalf of Lerner Enterprises, concerning our
support of Bill 33-13, Road Code Amendments.
Lerner Enterprises has long supported the vision for the White Flint Sector and these
amendments to the road code are one step closer in facilitating the realization of that
vision. The implementation of pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, walkable, livable urban
areas are embodied in the proposed road code amendments.
It is also important, however, to blJild in flexibility to accommodate freight, truck, fire and
rescue movement. Consideration should be given to permitting, waiver and/or
exception procedures as part of the application of this amendment such that the
process not be laborious to the applicant. The Montgomery County Department of
Transportation could perhaps administer the waiver rather than having the applicant
return to the Planning Board for approval.
Language such as seen in the D.C. Design and Engineering manual that states 'Where
it is appropriate to provide for turning vehicles within minimum space, the corner radii
should be based on the minimum turning path of the selected design vehicles." DDOT
Design and Engineering manual provides additional guidance for urban traffic
movements as cited on pages 31-7 and 31-8.
-_._._-_.._------_.__. _._-_.. ._-_._--- ®
IIPage
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We would also ask that the language as found in the Section entitled Road Construction
Requirements on page 6 Item e (3), be revised to include the first sentence of item 6 (e)
in order to clarify that this condition applies only to the site and abutting public roads.
We applaud your efforts to lower speeds by reduced pavement widths, to increase
pedestrian safety by shortening crossing distances, to minimize storm water runoff and
to accommodate multi-modal transportation choices, to name but a few benefits of this
bill. We look forward to the approval of the urban design road standards for
Montgomery County and thank you for your consideration of our two modifications
and/or clarifications.
21Page
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING BOARD
. THE MAR.YLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION
OFFICE
OF
THE
CHAIR
January 24, 2014
The Honorable Craig Rice, President
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Re:
Bill 32-13: Motor Vehicles and Traffic - Off-Street Public Parking Regulations· Plug-in
Vehicles, and Bill 33-13: Streets and Roads - Urban Road Code Standards Pedestrian
Safety Improvements
Dear~~
At our regularly scheduled meeting on January 23, 2014, the Planning Board discussed the
aforementioned bills and voted to support them with the following comments:
Bill 32-13
We support Bill 32-13 as introduced.
Bill 33-13
We agree with the goals of Bill 33-13 to expand and enhance the county's complete streets
policy and to facilitate the implementation of pedestrian- and bike-friendly. livable, walkable
areas as envisioned in the county's approved master plans. We support passage of the bill
with some detailed comments as enumerated below, but believe that some additional efforts
should be made to meet its goals in a way that provide the flexibility needed for context­
sensitive implementation.
We have now had more
than
five years of experience with both the 2007 changes to the Road
Code and the subsequent 2008 Executive Regulations that were created to implement them.
We believe that a comprehensive. multi-agency review of the
Road
Code is
needed
to assess
the impact of the 2007 overhaul and recommend any additional necessary changes to the
code. A state-of-the-practice review of other Complete Streets efforts nationwide should be
inc1uded in this effort.
One item that we believe is overdue is the creation of Executive Regulations to govern the
standards for intersection construction. This is an item that
was
put on hold due to the limited
amount oftime available to complete the rest ofthe road standards in 2008, but is greatly
needed to facilitate development in our urban areas. We recommend that Bill 33-13 include
language directing the Executive to complete these standards within eighteen months ofthe
adoption of the bill, and that adequate funding be provided in the operating budget to cover
the staffing and consultant services needed to complete this task as well as the multi-agency
review.
~
8787
Georgia
Avenue., Silver Spring. Maryland 20910
www........
m..YPbnm.gl>oud.@.Maili
Phone: 301.495.4605 Fax: 301.495.1320
",q>-CbW@m.acpp<·me.o,£
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The Honorable Craig Rice
January 24, 2014
Page 2
of4
The following additional comments are offered on Bill 33-13:
1. Delete "Section 3. Regulations" in its entirety.
2. Add "Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Area" to Section 49-11(b)(1) as shown:
Section 49-11 Permit to obstruct public rights-of-way.
(b) The Director must not issue a permit for reconstruction or repair ofa sidewalk or
shared use path for more than 6 months, or to close a curb lane, sidewalk, or shared
use path for work on an abutting structure, utilities, or infrastructure for more than IS
days, unless a safe alternate walkway or shared use path is provided on the same side
of the street:
(1) in a Metro Station Policy Area, Town Center Policy Area, Bicycle-Pedestrian
Priority Area. or other area expressly identified in a Council resolution;
3. Add: "Section 49-11
en:
The Director of the Department of Permitting Services must
maintain a publicly accessible database of all current pennits granted by this section to
close sidewalks, curb lanes, or bikeways with the dates of closure and reopening."
4. Section 49-26 Bikeway
a. (a): Revise as follows: "Shared use path: A paved path that is typically
10[8'­
12]'wide but that can vary between 8' and 14', that is designated for bicycles
and pedestrians, and that is separated from motorized traffic by a [curb,
]barrier[,] or landscape panel."
b. Add: "(d): Cycle Track: A bicycle facility that is physically separated from
vehicular and pedestrian infrastructure. Separation may be vertical (curb),
horizontal (landscaped paneL parking lane, bollards), or a combination."
5. Section 49-27: Revise as follows:
llU
This Article applies to all roads in the County, except any:
([a]D State road;
([b]2) Federal road;
([c]1) Road located in any park under the jurisdiction of the Maryland-National
Capital Park and Planning Commission;
([d]!) Private road; or
([e]i) Municipally owned and maintained road.
(b)
This Article also applies
to
County-maintained sidewalks and off-road bikeways
along any road.
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The Honorable Craig Rice
January
24, 2014
Page 3 of4
6. Sec 49-29(b): Add "and accessibility" after safety: "To promote the safety and
accessibility of bicycle, pedestrian, and wheelchair travel throughout the County, the
County Executive must establish, by regulation, standards and specifications to build
and maintain ramps at curbed intersections and storm water gratings and other
openings along roads and streets, in each case of a design and type that is not a hazard
to bicycle and wheelchair traffic. These ramps, gratings, and openings must
be
built
and maintained as part of each project under subsection (a)."
7. Add "at curb ramps at T intersections and" after "provided" in Section 49-32(h) as
shown in Bill 33-13, as well as additional language to modify the strict requirement
that curb radii not
be
greater than 15 feet: "The curb radius at the comer of each
intersection of urban roads must not exceed the greater of 15 feet or the smallest
feasible curb radius to accommodate the design vehicle. Curb extensions must
be
provided at curb ramps at T intersections and at the ends of each permanent parking
lane except where a right-turn lane is designated."
We suggest the language to soften the curb radius requirement because it appears that
the IS-foot requirement may be too strict to accommodate all locations, including
those where large trucks and buses may frequently
be
turning. The term "smallest
feasible curb radius" is used in the Boston Complete Streets Guidelines, which may be
useful to consult in the discussions on this bill.
8. Add Section 49-22(k): Shared use paths must
be
at least 10 feet wide except where:
(1) bicycle traffic and pedestrian use of the facility is expected to
be
low and adequate
passing opportunities would
be
provided; or
(2) a physical constraint such as an environmental feature, bridge abutment. utility
structure, or wall is present.
9. Add language on curb extensions to provide adequate and safe access: Section 49­
33(e): If a lot or lots front on a public road, the permittee must install sidewalks, curbs,
and gutters except on any Secondary or Tertiary Residential Street, or Service Drive
fronting on any lot in a residential zone. This requirement does not apply if the
minimum net lot area for a one-family detached dwelling in that zone is larger than
25,000 square feet, except that a sidewalk must be installed on any primary or higher
classification road. However, the Planning Board may require sidewalks, curbs[,] and
gutters, and curb extensions in any such zone if the Board finds, as a condition of
approval of a preliminary subdivision plan or site plan, that sidewalks, curbs[,] and
gutters, and curb extensions at
that
location are necessary to allow adequate and safe
access:
(1) to a sidewalk;
(2) to a bus or other public transit stop;
@
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The Honorable Craig Rice
January 24, 2014
Page 4 of4
(3) to an amenity or public facility that will
be
used by occupants of the site or
subdivision; or
(4) by persons with disabilities.
10. Add Section 49-33(1)(3): "Curbs in urban areas must not exceed six inches
in
height."
11. Add Section 49-33{m}: Continuous street lighting must be provided on all public roads
and intersections in urban areas and Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas
to
the standards
of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
12. Add reference to sidewalk: Section 49-36(g): "For any proposed road or sidewalk
construction the permittee must post a notice in a conspicuous place on each project
site as near to a public road as practicable. The notice must take the form of a sign that
the Department must furnish to the pennittee when the Department issues the permit.
The sign must
state
that the construction is authorized by the Department of Permitting
Services under permit and must display the permit number. The permittee must post
the sign continuously during construction of the work covered by the permit and until
final inspection. A person must not remove the sign until the Department completes its
final inspection. If any other person removes the sign or if the sign is damaged, lost, or
destroyed, the permittee must replace the sign within 24 hours, excluding Saturdays
and Sundays. The Department must issue new signs upon request
to
replace signs that
are damaged, lost, or destroyed. A permittee who does not comply with this subsection
has violated the permit."
13.
Replace the term "shared use path" with "bikeway"
in
the following sections: 40­
45(a), 49-34(e), 49-35(a)(1), 49-51,49-57(1),49-57(2), and 49-62(a).
Thank
you for the opportunity to review these bills and for your attention to
this
matter. If you have any questions or comments concerning our review, please call
Larry
Cole
at 301-495-4528.
, ;11/
Franyoise
M.
Carrier
Chair
Enclosure
,~
~
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Coalition for
Smarter
Growth
DC· MD. VA
January 23,2014
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Ave
Rockville, MD
RE: Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements
Dear County Council:
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on Bill 33-13 which seeks to amend the County's Urban Road
Standards. My name is Kelly Blynn and
I
am speaking on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the leading
non-profit group advocating for transit and walkable communities in the
DC
region, which counts thousands of
supporters in Montgomery County.
Support for
Bill
33-13
We support Councilmember Riemer and Berliner's proposed amendments to the Urban Road Standards. We
applaud the forward thinking transit investments that Montgomery County has committed
to
in recent years, and
believe this bill will
be
a critical complement to those investments by creating a transportation network that is safe,
accessible, and attractive to residents walking and cycling to transit stops.
Last year, Montgomery County saw a troubling rise in pedestrian fatalities, with over 11 fatalities by June of 2013.
The pedestrian crash rate
has
held steady despite the best efforts of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative. While
enforcement is one piece of the puzzle, nothing compares to the constant impact of good street design that
encourages lower vehicle speeds.
This bill makes many critical changes to the Road Code that will ensure much safer and more accessible street
designs for county roads for
all
users. One of those critical changes is reducing travel lane widths from
II'
to 10'
and curb lanes from 14' to 11', which is consistent with best practices from around the country. One 1997 study in
Colorado found an exponential increase in accidents on wider streets compared to narrower streets, due to
increased speedS.i While wide curb lanes were once believed to better accommodate cyclists, more current bike
planning theory favors cyclists using the entire lane instead. Wider curb lanes can often encourage close passing at
high speeds, creating a dangerous condition for cyclists.
.
A second key change would be reducing curb radii in urban areas from 30' to 15'. Wide turning radii encourage
fast moving turns, and make pedestrian crossings longer, creating dangerous pedestrian conditions.
Third, this bill would designate target speeds for different road classifications, a key measure which was omitted
when the Road Code was last amended Lower speeds are critical for reducing pedestrian fatalities: while less than
20% of.l)edestrians survive crashes with cars or trucks at 4Omph, 55% survive at 3Omph, and over 95% survive at
2Omph.1l
The final change we would like to especially coromen'
f1J2
/9
ensure that ADA best practices are enshrined in the
316 FSTREET NE I SUITE 200 , WASHINGTON, D.C. 120002
SMARTERGROWTH.NET I (2D2) 675-0016 MAIN I (202)
615-6992
FAX
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2
County's Road Code. Today, only minimum compliance is required, resulting in pedestrian facilities that are more
uncomfortable and difficult for persons with disabilities, seniors, or those using strollers to use. One example of
ADA best practices that make sidewalks more comfortable for persons with disabilities is maintaining a level
sidewalk across driveways so those in wheelchairs have to navigate fewer ramps.
We understand some of these changes may spark concern about the ability for emergency services, public works,
or other large vehicles to navigate urban streets. Our allies
at
the Congress for New Urbanism have done excellent
work
fm~g
common ground between pedestrian safety and smart growth advocates, and the emergency response
communityll1. Today nationwide, traffic injuries
~epresent
the vast majority of calls to fire departments compared
to fire emergencies.
By
designing streets to reduce speeds, we can drastically reduce the number and severity of
traffic-related crashes to begin with.
Another excellent report from the Local Governments Commission looks closely at traffic calming measures'
impact emergency response times. They found that while measures like speed humps caused several seconds of
delay, curb extensions and reduced turning radii caused a negligible amount of delay or actnally improved times.
Given the enormous overall benefits to public safety of slowing traffic speeds, I urge you to look into these reports
referenced in our testimony.
iv
Proposed amendments
We join with Action Committee for Transit in recommending that the Council consider including school zones in
addition to urban areas in this bill, in order to protect students who walk to school and encourage more children to
do so.
Additionally, we support strengthening the requirements for pedestrian accommodations during construction.
While changes have been made in the past to strengthen requirements, there have been egregious exceptions in
recent years, including a closed sidewalk next to the Wheaton Metro station on Georgia Avenue for many months.
We also support the addition of cycle tracks to the definition of bikeways as requested by the planning department.
Cycle tracks, which use height or bollards to create a barrier between cyclists and cars, have been shown to
improve safety and encourage higher rates of cycling.
We'd also like to see the bill clarify the exemption of state roads from these regulations, since the county does
maintain and sometimes constructs sidewalks in urban areas along state roads. Since many state roads are key
pedestrian thoroughfares in urban areas and around transit stations, their inclusion is critical to the success of this
bill.
We appreciate your consideration of these amendments and our suggestions, and thank you again for your work to
protect the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers in Montgomery County. Thank you again for this
opportunity .
''Residential Street Typology and Injury Accident Frequency". Peter Swift, P. E., Dan Painter, AICP, Matthew Goldstein.
http://www.cnu.orglsiteslwww.cnu.orglfileslswift painter goldstein study.pdf
~.
"Designing Safe Urban Thoroughfares", Institute of Transportation Engineers. http://www.ite.orglcsslFactSheet9.pdf.
III
Congress for the New Urbanism, Emergency Response and Street Design Initiative.
http://www.cnu.orglemergencvresponse.
.
,
iv
''Emergency Response: Traffic Calming and Traditional Neighborhood Streets". Dan Burden for Local Government
Commission, 2001. http://www.lgc.orglfreepub/docslcommunity design/guides/emergency response manual 2OO1.pdf
i
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,~£~~
Montgomery County Group
January 23, 2014
Dear County Council,
A profound obstacle to smart growth in Montgomery County is the difficulty pedestrians have
doing the most common of actions: safely and comfortably crossing the street. To fulfill the
county's goal of creating walkable, bikable, multi-modal communities, it is therefore critical that
you pass Bill 33-13, Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements. The
Montgomery County Sierra Club strongly supports this bill and commends Roger Berliner and
Hans Riemer for introducing it. Our roads and intersections are currently engineered with a car­
first mentality, and this bill will go a long way toward changing that.
As
a Montgomery County resident who lives without a car, I see firsthand every day the
difficulties pedestrians face. My wife and I moved
to
Silver Spring in 2002 excited about the
chance to give up our automobile and live in one of the premier smart growth communities in the
United States. We were soon disillusioned by a constant stream of cars whipping down the street
at untenable speeds, turning right in front of us at crosswalks, and otherwise hindering and
endangering us. At that time there was a crosswalk to the Silver Spring library that nobody used,
because cars would simply run people down; we had to walk to the comer to cross at the light
merely to access the library. When We moved to Rockville in 2005, we saw more of the same.
Among countless incidents, I recall an elderly lady with a cane stranded in a puny median
because she was unable to cross Rockville Pike in the time given by the light. Other streets are
engineered so that one cannot simply cross at the light; it takes waiting through three light cycles
and crossing three times merely to get to the other side.
Bill 33-13
will
put a stop to many of these problems, providing tighter turn radii, lower target
speeds, and narrower lanes, slowing cars to speeds where they are less likely to hit pedestrians.
Since each ten miles-per-hour greatly increases impact, it would lessen the damage of those
accidents that do occur. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report,
a car traveling 20 mph that strikes a pedestrian will kill only 5% of the time, but the number rises
dramatically to nearly 100% at 50 mph (http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/pub/
hs809012.html). Creating pedestrian refuges would allow elderly, the handicapped, and families
with children
to
safely cross the street in stages. Further codifying ADA best practices is also
necessary; better facilities will allow the disabled to engage in basic tasks such as shopping and
eating at restaurants. One caveat is that curb extensions should be built in such a way as to allow
bicycle traffic to flow freely without obstructing cars.
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2
The vast majority of those who make county laws, engineer county streets, and testify at
meetings have a car and do not understand what it is like to live without one. Yet tens of
thousands of residents without a vehicle have no voice in setting the policy that engineers our
communities.
In
addition, more and more people, young and old, are choosing to live without a
car; families, too, prefer not to have the burden of owning multiple vehicles. And, of course,
most people with cars prefer to walk for errands, entertainment, and nearby destinations.
Our society's dependence on cars generates greenhouse gases along with asthma-inducing local
pollution.
It
encourages road building and parking that lead to stormwater runoff and fragment
nature. Creating walkable streets and neighborhoods will enable smart growth communities that
counter these unsustainable practices.
It
will
encourage people to further use Metro as well as
the light rail and rapid transit systems that our county is building. Passing the right laws, and
engineering our streets for use by all, is part of an investment in a sustainable future. We urge
the County Council to pass Bill 33-13.
Sincerely,
Ethan Goffman
Transit Chair
Montgomery County Sierra Club Group
@
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Action Committee for Transit
www.act/ortransit.org
3
P.O.
Box 7074,
Siwer Spring,
MD 20907
Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety
Improvements
Testimony Submitted
to
the Montgomery County Council, lanuary 23, 2014
Presented by Cavan Wilk on behalf of the Action Committee for Transit
Montgomery County's urban areas are growing, but their wide, fast streets, designed to prioritize
drivers over everyone else, are holding them back.
Bill 33-13 before the Montgomery County Council will unshackle our downtown areas as well as
letting our emerging ones blossom to their true potential. The bill supports our county and state's
explicit Smart Growth policies while further enhancing our environmental and economic health.
Bill 33-13 is an update of the county's Road Code, which was approved in 2008 as an attempt to
create "complete" streets that accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in addition to drivers. To offer
recommendations, County Executive Ike Leggett convened a 24-member task force, including
representatives from groups like the Coalition for Smarter Growth and the Washington Area
Bicyclist Association, as well as AAA. Many of the bill's progressive features fell by the wayside due
to AAA pressure to allow wider roads and remove street trees, which spokesperson Lon Anderson
called a hazard to drivers.
Bill 33-13 will help the Road Code fulfill its original purpose. Whether in emerging walkable urban
places like Wheaton or already celebrated traditional walkable urban downtowns like Bethesda and
Silver Spring that were built before cars became common, wide, fast streets are unpleasant to walk
on at best, and at worst, a danger to pedestrians. This bill will make those streets safer by slowing
traffic and forcing drivers to pay attention.
Opponents of this bill will complain about features such as smaller turning radii and ten foot wide
lanes. They will try to pretend that the status quo doesn't really encourage drivers to speed
around tOO-Wide corners at 30 miles per hour into a lane that is as wide as those on an interstate
highway. Curbs with smaller turning radii force drivers to slow down and look for pedestrians in
the crosswalk while also decreasing the length of the crosswalk for pedestrians, making it safer and
more convenient to cross the street.
Drivers drive as fast as they perceive road conditions will allow. They slow down on Connecticut
Avenue south of East-West Highway because safe driving on the narrow lanes there requires more
care and attention. The speed cameras on Connecticut Avenue record instances where a driver
doesn't
take heed of the road conditions. Meanwhile, drivers continue to speed on 16
th
Street
between East-West Highway and Georgia Avenue because of the interstate-width lanes. The speed
cameras there record drivers
who do
respond to road conditions. Our downtown areas need
downtown streets, not interstate highways.
Further, many streets in economically vibrant walkable urban sections of the neighboring District of
Columbia such as Woodley Park have narrower lanes and smaller turning radii. There is no
evidence of unreasonable difficulty or any complaint from delivery vehicles about fulfilling orders.
Durable goods and foodservice outlets are comparably well stocked as in Montgomery County.
The Action Committee for Transit believes that Bill 33-13 requires strengthening in order to fully
meet its objectives. We reiterate our position in our Safe Walk to Schools Campaign that the
maximum width on travel lanes near schools, regardless of the road type, should be ten feet. We
also believe that the Montgomery County Department of Transportation should not be allowed to
use sidewalk construction as an excuse for lane widening. The road code should specify that when
sidewalks or other pedestrian improvements are built, lanes must remain at their existing width or
be narrowed.
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSION ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
TESTIMONY BEFORE THE COUNTY COUNCIL
BILL
33-13
STREETS AND ROADS- URBAN STANDARDS ANI) PEDESTRIAN SAFETY IMPROVEMENT
Patricia GallaIee, Chair - Charlie Crawford, Vice-Chair
January 23,2014
Good Evening. My name is Patricia Gallalee and I am testifying on behalf ofthe Commission on
People with Disabilities. We are pleased to see that this bill includes language that the design and type
ofstreets and roads are consistent with the proposed accessibility guidelines developed by the U.S.
Access Board. Once these guidelines are finalized and adopted by the Department of Justice, they will
become legally enforceable requirements. The Federal Highway Administration, the agency tasked
with enforcing accessibility in the public right ofway, already requires jurisdictions to use these
guidelines in federally funded projects and uses them as a best practice when completing accessibility
investigations.
The concern I have is that when we plan these pedestrian spaces that we keep
in
mind that use by a
greater number
0
f pedestrians means that we must build and maintain the
si~ewa1ks
to
be
clear and
unencumbered for proper movement and mobility. Large planters, trees surrounded by cobblestones,
and sprawling outdoor resta1.U"8.Ilt seating can make it virtually impossible for the pedestrian to enjoy a
pleasant walk. Now consider what
this
might be like ifyou are blind or using a wheelchair. At the
Washingtonian Center I have had to disrupt someone's meal so that I could get by. I can't tell you how
many times people have to scatter and jump out ofthe way ofthat cute train. I have experienced
massive traffic jams during events in the
town
square here in Rockville due
to
the amount ofclutter on
the sidewalks. Right now the ice
rink
was installed and activated without moving any outdoor seating
making it a challenge to navigate for both people with and without disabilities.
The proposed accessibility guidelines require that a pedestrian access route, continuous and
unobstructed path oftravel, be provided for pedestrians with disabilities within the sidewalk or path.
There is a minimum required width of 4 feet with 5 foot wide passing areas every 200 feet. Alternate
pedestrian access routes are required when the sidewalk is closed temporarily due to construction,
maintenance, alterations and must be accessible. We ask you to support a 5 foot pedestrian access
route and that it be enforced so that furniture, vending machines, utilities, construction equipment
and
other clutter do not obstruct access for people with disabilities
We ask you to consider including and increasing the number of shared use paths in master planning
throughout the County. These are paths that provide a means ofoff-road transportation and recreation
for various users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, runners, skaters and others, including people with
disabilities. Shared use paths unlike most sidewalks are physically separated from streets by an open
space or barrier. They also differ from trails because they are designed not just for recreation purposes
but fur transportation as well They are used extensively in many jurisdictions.
The issue ofmaking the roadways safe fur all pedestrians, while important for
all,
is critical for people
with disabilities. As a group, pedestrians with disabilities are less able to adjust
to
fast
traffic and short
cycling cross walk lights and run a higher risk of injury in these settings. Further, community streets
should be safe for all pedestrians and should not be
used
as fast speed through-ways as a convenience
for commuters. Making local streets and roads faster increases risk to
all
pedestrians (and
disproportionately so for people with disabilities), reduces foot traffic and, hence, potential customers
for local merchants and squelches the local economy.
For these reasons the Commission is in support ofthe amendments and request that you include
language on shared paths as well as provide community education to the public as to who to
call
to
enforce
~e
standards. Thank you fur the opportunity to speak with you tonight on
this
important issue.
(§)
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WA8A
WASHINGTON AREA BICYCLIST ASSOCIATION
2599 Ontario Rd. NW
Washington, DC 20009
P: 202.518.0524 F: 202.518.0936
WWW.WABA.ORG
Testimony of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association for
Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements
To the Members of the Montgomery County Council:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on the Bill 33-13, Urban Road Standards and
Pedestrian Safety Improvements. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association represents over 1,000
members in Montgomery County. Thank you to the Coundlmember Berliner and Reimer for their
leadership in making the streets and roads in Montgomery Council safer for all road users,
especially the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians
Montgomery County has taken many steps forward to support bicycling in the county, including
building new trails, paths and on-street bike lanes and launching the highly anticipated Capital
Bikeshare system. We applaud these efforts to encourage residents to use a bicycle for
transportation and consider a change in the Montgomery County Code to support safer streets the
next step in creating livable communities. Major elements of Bill 33-13, including narrowing travel
lanes, lowering speed limits, and reducing curb radii to slow vehicles through intersection will be a
great step in safer streets. We support these elements but have concerns about other proposed
changes to the County Code and the potential unintended consequences for county bicyclists.
Bill 33-13 includes a provision to require curb extensions at the end of every parking lane. Curb
extensions are an excellent intervention for slowing car traffic and creating safer crossings for
pedestrians. However, many bicyclists ride in open parking lanes when traffic is heavy. Curb
extensions could create conflicts at intersections where bicyclists would have to merge back into
car traffic. The bill should consider bike-friendly designs that does not preclude bicyclist from using
existing roads. Similarly, requiring pedestrians refuges at every intersection could create conflicts
with existing and proposed bicycle lanes. The bill should direct county agencies to construct
pedestrian refuges that accommodate standard on-street bike lanes and protected bike lanes.
Within the existing Montgomery County Road Code are four templates for the allocation of street
space in business districts. This bill should amend these templates to include bike lanes as a
standard feature on these streets. Bill 33-13 proposes narrower travel lanes which will create extra
space. County staff should be advised through this bill to allocate this new space for standard on­
street bike lanes or protected bike lanes. The current Road Code allows for inadequately narrow
bike lanes when adjacent to parking lanes. This bill should amend the current Road Code to ensure
bikes lanes are at least the standard width (5 feet) when next to parking. Narrow bike lanes put
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bicyclists in harm's way of drivers who open car doors into the bicyclist's path; sufficiently wide
bike lanes can significantly reduce the likelihood of such crashes.
With the changes outlined in this testimony, WABA supports Bill 33-13 and thanks the'
councilmembers Berliner and Reimer for leading the effort to create safer streets for all
Montgomery County residents. Safer streets will encourage more county residents to choose
alternative modes of transportation including transit, walking, and bicycling.
Greg Billing
Advocacy Coordinator
Washington Area Bicyclist Association
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MONTGOMERY
COUNTY
CQUNCIl
ROCi\.VILLH. MARY!.;,N!)
ROOfeR
fhiRL1NH1~
NCiLMEMBEit
DISTR!CT
I
T~ANSPORTATlON<
CiiAUlMAN
lNI1R
A.STR
tlCTUfrE
ENfilHTY &ENVI1t()NMENrCOMMI1"tBli
MEMOKANDl]M
April
1'0,
201.4
Arthur.lIolm~ k~
. Director,.DepartmentofTtan:Sporlation
Steve
Loht,
Chief,
Department of
Fb:'e:
IJ4
R,ese;uc .Services .
DianeScllwartz JQlles,Director; Department ofPennittin,g Setvices
Gwen
Wti&hth
DiieCtot~
DeJ>arttnento(Pl!1Driing
FROM:
Hans
Riemer,
CouncilinemQer
~
Ito.ger Be
rliner.coUncilOlem~
.
. . ". '. •'.' .'..... '..
. . -
.
.
SI1aJECT:
staff
working
group forBilln
13,
~~tsandRoads
- Urban
RoadSmrtdards
and
Peqe&tna,nSafety Improvements
Earlier
th1sy~ar weco-~JlQnsor~ ]~ill
33-13
that
would·
revise
·roi:\.dconst,ruptjon
~s
to
enhance the
pedestrlan.and
bicycl¢m9bility
IUld.gen~. f;raffi.c~ty
in.outurban
areas. The
bi11
identifi.es
partiClJ,lar quantified
standard
dimensioi1$
ftJt
lane
Widths,
curb
radii.
and.othc1;street
elemems.
The
COUllci}'S
Jcp:l,uary
23.
20.14 public..
hearing
on
this'biU
demonsttate:dthatlhereis ()verwhelmiD$$Upport
in
thccommlltlityfor
thisappI'Qach.
Howeyer, we recognize
that
these
elements
ate
<:losely
m~latedf
and
'there
maybe
circumstances
Where
the
·context
w(}u14
s1!g~stdifferent<standards
..
Therefur:
e•.
rather
than
biinsmgthebjJl
~tly
to
Committee worksesSious;
we
prefer
to
have
C~uncil
staff
convene a
wPrking
group"-consisting
ofrepr~entatives
from the
primary
County
government
stakeholder
~ts-to
better
understand theseinterrelatiqnSbips
~c'ontexts.
'We
undemalld
the
following staff members .are.being
l!lade.
available' to participate in this working. group over the
n~t
several weeks:
Larry
Cole and
David
A,nspacber"
Planning
Department
Bruce
Johnston and
Emil
Wolanin,
DOr
Marie
LaBaw~DFR.S
Atiq
Panjshiri,
nps
Glenn Orlin,
Council
~6lff
STa.LAft Wfiru\lISROffio:Sun.OlrfG -100 MA'Rf'VtND
AVENllE,6,)i
ft~, R~tu;,MAA.Yl.At4020ti5:O
24(}77J~182S
OR
240-m~i90Q1
.
wwW.;MdNrGOMfR~'TYMD.t;;oV
TTY
240"m-7914,FAX240.m.;79S9
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We.have
asked
GlennOrlin
to
chaitthegtoup
and
convenethelrmeetings. One
ofi1$ may attend
IneetingS
periOdicatly as.
o~erv~
so
:the
m~swiltbeheldintheCOuncil
offices.
We may
not
be
able torea¢h
Rconsensus
among the
staffs
oli all mattei'&.
Nevetthele~
we
believe
this
exchange.
ofiQ~
and
ilifunnati6n Will lead to
o.~. reCQm~ing
llmw-e
n~s~
Qf
recommend.edstandards
in
the bill when
it
comes,
back
before
th~ T~B
Committee.
. ...
'fhaPk)'OO;
f9
r
allowmg your
staffs toparticitmte in thise'Xcrcise.Qlenn will
be
calling
for
the
first
meetirlg.ofthiSworkinggtOup$oon.
cc:CniigRice,Council PreSidc::nt
N~er F1~reef\.CQuncilme~
RB:HR
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Bill No.
33-13
Concerning: Streets and Roads - Urban
Road Standards and Pedestrian
Safety Improvements
Revised: 10-23-14
Draft No. 2
Introduced:
December 10.2013
Expires:
June 10. 2015
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date:
_--:-:-:----=-_ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
specifY maximum standards for lane widths and curb radii on urban roads;
further define certain required certain pedestrian improvements; and
generally amend the laws governing road design and construction.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 49, Streets and Roads
Sections 49-4, 49-25,49-26,49-29,49-32, and 49-33
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law
by
original
bill.
* * *
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Councilfor Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BtllNo.33-13
1
2
Sec. 1. Sections 49-4, 49-25, 49-26, 49-29, 49-32, and 49-33 are amended
as follows:
49-4.
Public-private participation.
The County Executive, on behalf ofthe County, may contract with any person,
who is building a real estate development or subdivision in the County, to participate
in the cost of any street, including any sidewalk, bikeway, gutter, curb or drainage
construction, landscaping, traffic control device, bikeshare station, electric vehicle
charging station, or placement of utilities.1 conduits or other amenities in a street or
A
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
road dedicated to public use.
49-25.
[[Purpose and short title)) Complete streets policy and standards.
This Article is intended to guide the planning, design, and construction of
transportation facilities in the public right-of-way. Each transportation facility in the
County must be planned and designed to:
(a)
maximize the choice, safety, convenience, and mobility of all users,
regardless of age. ability. or mode oftransportation.
13
14
15
16
(b)
H(b)]]
maintain or expand connectivity for users.
17
18
19
20 .
!£l
respect and maintain the particular character of the community
where it is located, [and]
[[(e)]]
(dl
minimize stormwater runoff and otherwise preserve the natural
environmen~
and
21
22
[[@)]
W
to the
m~mum
extent possible, facilitate the future accommodation
of improved transportation technology elements, such as intelligent
signals, smart parking meters, electric vehicle charging, car- and
bicycle-sharing, and way-finding systems.
To achieve these goals, each County road and street must be designed so that
the safety and convenience of all users of the roadway system - including pedestrians,
bicyclists, transit users, automobile drivers, commercial vehicles and freight haulers,
F:\LAW\BJllS\J333 Streets And Roads - Urban Roads\BiII 2.Doc
23
24
25
26
27
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BILL No. 33 -13
28
29
and emergency service vehicles - is accommodated. Each road and street must
facilitate multi-modal use and assure that all users can travel [safety] safely in the
public right of way. A specified quantity ofstonnwater must be managed and treated
on- site, in the road or street right-of-way, including through the use of vegetation­
based infiltration techniques.
These [contest] context-sensitive policies must be
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31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
employed in all phases of publicly or privately funded facility development,
including planning, design, construction, [and] reconstruction,. and streetscaping.
Each transportation project must incorporate complete streets infrastructure sufficient
to promote safe and convenient travel along and across the right-of-way for all users.
*
49-26.
Definitions.
*
*
*
*
*
(a)
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
Bikeway:
any area expressly intended for bicycle travel, including any:
Shared use path:
a paved path [[8'-12']] that is typically 10 feet wide
but can
Vary
between 8 feet and 14 feet wide. designated for bicycles
and pedestrians! that is separated from motorized traffic by a curb,
barrier, or landscape panel.
*
@
*
*
Separated bike lane.
also known as a protected bike lane or cycle track:
47
48
49
50
a bikeway that is physically separated from motor vehicles and
pedestrian facilities. The separation may be vertical. such as a curb:
horizontal. such as a landscape panel or parking lane: or a combination.
Separated bike lanes may be in one-way or two-way configurations.
51
52
W
Buffered bike lane:
a bike lane separated from a motor vehicle travel
lane with an area of striped pavement.
Complete streets:
Streets that are planned. designed. and constructed to enable
53
54
safe access for all users. including pedestrians. bicyclists. motorists. and transit riders
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W\BILLS\1333 Streets And Roads - Urban Roads\BiII2.00c
®
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BILL
No.
33 -13
55
56
of all ages and abilities. commercial vehicles. freight haulers. and emergency service
57
58
59
60
Complete streets inttastructure:
Design features that contribute to a safe.
convenient. and comfortable travel experience. including such features as sidewalks:
shared use paths. bike lanes. and separated bike lanes: bike stations and bike storage
facilities: narrow motor vehicle lanes and tight curb radii: street trees. planting strips,
and other right-of-way landscaping; curbs and accessible curb ramps: curb
extensions. crosswalks. and refuge islands: raised medians: pedestrian and traffic
signals, including countdown and accessible signals; signage; streetlighting: street
furniture: bicycle parking facilities: stormwater manag:ement: public transportation
stops and shelters: dedicated transit lanes: and traffic calming devices.
Maximum Target Speed:
the maximum speed at which vehicles should operate
on a [throoughfare] thoroughfare in a specific context, consistent with the level of
multimodal activity generated by adjacent land uses, to provide mobility for motor
vehicles and a safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists. [The target speed is
usually the posted speed limit.]
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
*
49-29.
(a)
*
*
72
73
Pedestrian walkways, bikeways, and wheelchair traffic.
Bikeways and [[walkways]] sidewalks must be constructed when any
County road is constructed, reconstructed, or relocated, [[unless the
County Council finds (for a road improvement authorized in a capital
improvements program) or the Planning Board finds (for a road
improvement made a condition of preliminary plan or site plan
approval) that bikeways or walkways sidewalks in that location would
reduce public
safety, would not be
feasible,
or would be
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
disproportionate in cost to their probable use]] except any sidewalk:
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BILL
No.
33 -13
81
ill
in front of a lot for a single-family detached dwelling in a rural
zone that is larger than 25.000 square feet:
82
83
aJ
on any roadway classified as exceptional rustic. rustic. country
arterial. or country road;
84
85
86
87
88
ill
ill
on a tertiary residential street if the Planning Board finds that a
sidewalk is unnecessary for pedestrian movement. or
if the site is located in an environmentally sensitive area with
limits on the amount of impervious surface allowed.
89
90
91
[[All bikeways and walkways]]
must
conform to approved capital improvements programs and be consistent
with applicable area master plans and transportation plans adopted by,
the Planning Board.
(b)
To promote the safety of bicycle and wheelchair travel throughout the
County, the County Executive must [establish] adopt, by regulation,
standards and specifications to build and maintain mmps at curbed
intersections and storm water gratings and other openings along roads
and streets, in each case of a design and type that is not a hazard to
bicycle and wheelchair traffic and is consistent with Americans with
Disabilities Act best practices guidelines published
Qy
the United States
Department of Justice. These ramps, gratings, and openings must be
built and maintained as part ofeach project under subsection (a).
92
93
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95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
49-32.
(a)
Design standards for types of roads.
The design standards adopted under this Article govern the construction
or reconstruction of any County road except Rustic Roads and
Exceptional Rustic Roads. [[If the]] The Planning Board, in approving
a subdivision or site plan, [determines] [[finds that]] may approve a
waiver from any applicable design standard [[is]]
~~~~~~
107
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BILL
No.
33 -13
108
109
110
necessary to promote context-sensitive design of a specific road[[, the
Executive or the Executive's designee must adopt the Board's
recommendation unless the Executive or [the] designee [concludes that]
notifies the Board why approving the waiver would significantly impair
public safety]]. The County Council may adopt alternative standards
for a specific road constructed or reconstructed in a project in the
approved capital improvements program.
111
112
113
114
115
116
*
(g)
*
*
Each through travel or turning lane on an urban road must be no wider
than 10 feet, except
~
through travel or turning lane abutting an outside
curb, which must
be
no wider than
11
feet, including the gutter pan[[.:.
Each]], and each parking lane on an urban road must
be
no wider than
.8.
feet, including the gutter pan. except where a waiver or alternative
standard is approved under subsection Cal.
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
®
The curb radius at the comer of each intersection of urban roads must
not exceed 15 feet[L11 except wheregurb extensions are provided or
where a waiver or alternative standard is approved under subsection Cal.
[[Curb extensions must be provided at the ends of each permanent
parking lane except where
~
right-tum lane is designated.]]
124
125
126
127
ill
Each pedestrian refuge must
be
at least
Q
feet wide. A pedestrian refuge
must be provided at each intersection on
more through travel lanes.
~
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
divided highway with
Q
or
ill
Unless otherwise specified in
~
master plan or the approved capital
improvements program, the maximum target [[speeds in the table below
must govern the construction or reconstruction of any County road
except Rustic Roads and Exceptional Rustic Roads:]] speed for a road
in an urban area is 25 mph.
F:\LAW\BILLS\1333 Streets And Roads - Urban Roads\BiII2.00c
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BILL
No.
33 -13
[[Classification
Freeway
Controlled Major Highway
Parkway
Target Sl!eed
55-65 m12h
50 m12h
urban: 25 m12h
Suburban: 40 m12h
urban: 25 m12h
Major Highway
Suburban: 35-40 m12h
rural: 45 m12h*
Suburban: 40 m12h
Country Arterial
r--­
rural: 40-45 mQh!
urban: 25 mQh
Arterial
Suburban: 35 mQh
rural: 40 m12h*
urban: 25 mQh
Minor Arterial
Suburban: 30 m12h
rural: 35 m12h*
Business District Street
Industrial Street
25 m12h
25 m12h
25 mQh
~{ROad
Primary and Princi12al Secondary Residential
Streets
Secondary Residential Streets
Tertiary Residential Street
Alley
135
136
137
138
25 m12h
20m12h
20 m12h
15 m12h]]
[[*Target s12eed for these classifications m suburban and rural
commercial zones is 30 mph.]]
49-33.
Road construction requirements.
*
*
*
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BILL
No. 33 -13
139
(e)
If a lot or lots front on a public road, the pennittee must install
sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters, except on any Secondary or
Tertiary Residential Street[,] or on any Service Drive fronting on any lot
in a residential zone. This requirement does not apply if the minimum
net lot area for a one-family detached dwelling in that zone is larger
than 25,000 square feet, except that [a sidewalk must be installed] the
permittee must install sidewalks and ramps on any primary or higher
classification road.
However, the Planning Board may require the
140
141
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147
148
149
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152
153
154
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applicant to install sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters in any such zone
if the Board fmds, as a condition of approval of a preliminary
subdivision plan or site plan, that sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters at
that location are necessary to allow access:
( 1)
(2)
(3)
to a sidewalk;
to a bus or other public transit stop;
to an amenity or public facility that will be used by occupants of
the site or subdivision; or
(4)
by persons with disabilities.
Before the Planning Board approves any requirement under the
preceding sentence, the Board must give the Departments of Permitting
Services and Transportation a reasonable opportunity to comment on
the proposed requirement.
*
*
*
Sec. 2.
Regulations; applicability.
The County Executive must transmit to
the Council, by June 1, 2016, a regulation adopted under Method 2 that contains
comprehensive complete streets guidelines.
Any revised road design and
construction standards in Chapter 49, as amended in Section 1 of this Act, do not
apply to any road construction project that is in fmal design or construction when this
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BILL
No. 33-13
166
167
168
169
Act takes effect.
Approved:
Craig L. Rice, President, County Council
170
171
172
Date
Approved:
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
173
174
175
Date
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe Council
Date
-9-
F:\LAW\BILLS\1333 Streets
And
Roads - Urban Roads\BiII2.00c
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& Transitways
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bill 33-13
Streets and Roads
-
Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements
DESCRIPTION:
Limits the width of travel lanes, turning lanes, and parking lanes, as
well as the size of intersection curb radii in urban areas. Requires
curb extensions (sidewalk bulb-outs) in many cases where a road in
an urban area is reconstructed. Sets target speeds at which vehicles
should operate in specific contexts.
Requires certain road
improvements to include a sufficient pedestrian refuge area, directs
developers building road improvements to add curb ramps where
appropriate, and requires curb ramps to be built
in
accordance with
federal ADA Best Practices.
Certain design standards currently do not produce roads that are
appropriate for urban areas and do not provide sufficient
accommodate for pedestrians and bicyclists.
To provide both for mobility for motor vehicles and a safer
environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Department of Transportation, Department of Permitting Services,
Planning Board
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Michael Faden. Senior Legislative Attorney. 240-777-7905
Glenn Orlin. Deputy Council Administrator, 240-777-7936
To be researched.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITIDN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Not applicable.
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Fiscal Impact Statement
Council Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and
Pedestrian Safety Improvements
1. Legislative Summary
The proposed bill:
• Limits the widths oftravel lanes, turning lanes, and parking lanes, as well as the
size of intersection curb
radii
in urban areas;
• Requires curb extensions (sidewalk bulb-outs) in many cases where a road in an
urban area is reconstructed;
• Sets target speeds
at
which vehicles should operate in specific contexts;
• Requires certain road improvements to include a sufficient pedestrian refuge
area;
• Directs developers building road improvements
to
add curb ramps where
appropriate; and
• Requires curb ramps to be built in accordance with the federal Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) best practices.
2.
An
estimate of changes in County revenues and expenditures regardless of whether
the revenues or expenditures are assumed in the recommended or approved budget.
Includes source of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
The proposed legislation does not impact County revenues.
The fiscal impact on expenditures is limited to the cost of modifications to construction
plans currently in the design stage. The range ofcosts of these modifications is unknown;
such additional costs would be site specific and cannot be forecasted with any reliability.
For example, a project further along in design would incur a higher cost for the
modifications under the proposed bill compared to a project in an early planning phase.
In
addition, the fiscal impact to a project
is
dependent on its size, complexity, and scope
(Le., a project with two or more turning lanes would require more modifications than a
project with a single turning lane).
3. Revenue and expenditure estimates covering at least the next 6 fiscal
years.
See item #2 above.
4.
An
actuarial analysis through the entire amortization period for each bill that would
affect retiree pension or group insurance costs.
Not applicable.
5. Later actions that may affect future revenue and expenditures
if
the bill authorizes
future spending.
Not applicable.
6.
An
estimate of the staff time needed to implement the bilL
The impact to
staff
time needed to implement the bill would be limited to potential
modifications of construction plans currently in the design process. It is estimated
that
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this impact would be minimal, but would be site specific and cannot be forecast with any
reliability.
7. An explanation of how the addition of new staff responsibilities would affect other
duties.
Not applicable.
8. An estimate of costs when an additional appropriation
is
needed.
Impact on expenditures is limited to the cost of modifications to construction plans
currently in design.
It
is not known with any specificity the value of these additional
costs. Such additional costs would be site specific and cannot be forecasted with any
reliability .
9. A description of any variable that could affect revenue and cost estimates.
Variables include the time and cost to modify current plans not yet approved and
additional construction costs such as labor and materials for constructing to the proposed
standards.
10. Ranges of revenue or expenditures that are uncertain or difficult to project.
Uncertain expenditures include: the additional time needed for design and the cost of
labor and materials needed for modifying a project to the proposed standards.
11.
If
a bill
is
likely to have no fiscal impact, why that is the case.
The bill is likely to have a fiscal impact to the expenditure items specified
in
item #10.
12. Other fiscal impacts or comments.
Not applicable.
13. The following contributed to and concurred with this analysis: (Enter name and
department).
Bruce Johnston, Department of Transportation
Naeem Mia, Office of Management and Budget
er
A.
Hughes,
ec
ce of Management and Budget
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Economic Impact Statement
Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety
Improvements
Background:
This legislation would limit the width oftravel lanes, turning lanes, parking lanes, and the
size of intersection curb radii in urban areas. Bill 33-13 (Bill) would require curb
extensions where a road in an urban
area
is reconstructed. The Bill would set vehicle
speed limits, provide for mobility of motor vehicles, and safety for pedestrians and
bicyclists.
1.
The sources of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
The Department of Finance assumes that this bill will not affect construction plans
that have been approved by the Montgomery County Planning Department and
permits issues by the Department of Permitting Services.
2. A
description of any variable that could affect the economic impact estimates.
Costs to developers to modify current plans not yet approved and additional
construction costs such
as
labor and materials.
3.
The Bill's positive or negative effect,
if
any on employment, spending, saving,
investment, incomes, and property values
in
the County.
Because ofthe possibility of additional costs to the developers above current
specifications
as
discussed in paragraph
2,
it
is
not known with any specificity the
value of those costs. Therefore such costs would be site specific and cannot be
forecasted with any reliability.
4.
If
a Bill is likely to have no economic impact, why is that the case?
It
is uncertain that the
Bill
would or would not have an economic impact because of
the aVailability of specific data
5.
The following contributed to and concurred with this analysis: David Platt and
Rob Hagedoom, Finance.
Date
I
Page 1 of1
@
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T&E COMMITTEE #4
October 27,2014
Worksession
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
G?Glenn Orlin, Deputy Council Administrator
~ichael
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Worksession: Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and
Pedestrian Safety Improvements
SUBJECT:
Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety
Improvements, sponsored by Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer, was introduced on
December 10,2013 (see introduced bill, ©1-7). Bill 33-13 would limit the width of travel lanes,
turning lanes, and parking lanes, as well as the size of intersection curb radii in urban areas.
Under the Bill as introduced, curb extensions (also called sidewalk bulb-outs) would be required
in many cases where a road in an urban area is reconstructed. The Bill as introduced also would
set target speeds at which vehicles should operate in specific contexts, to provide both for
mobility for motor vehicles and a safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The introduced Bill would require certain road improvements to include a sufficient
pedestrian refuge area, direct developers building road improvements to add curb ramps where
appropriate, and require curb ramps to be built in accordance with federal ADA Best Practices.
The public hearing was held on January 23, 2014. The testimony and later correspondence
expressed general support for the Bill's objectives. However, testimony
was
divided between those
who advocated guidelines that would allow engineers to craft case-by-case solutions (see ©8-14),
and those who supported setting certain specific standards in the law and leaving the rest for the
guidelines (see ©IS-26).
Working Group The bill's co-sponsors convened a working group of staff from the
Council, Planning Department, and the County Departments of Transportation (DOT), Fire &
Rescue Services (DFRS) and Permitting Services (DPS) (see sponsors' memo, ©27-28). The group
met four times during October, and it was assisted by Toole Design, a planning
finn
under contract
to DOT which has considerable experience in developing complete streets standards and guidelines.
From the outset the group's purpose was to explore these issues in detail, but not necessarily
to
achieve consensus.
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Redraft
After this exploration, Chairman Berliner recommended revisions to the original bill (see
redraft, ©29-37). His approach would specify a maximum target speed, lane width, and curb radius
for streets in urban areas, which are Metro Station Policy Areas and Road Code Urban Areas
designated by Council resolutions (a map showing them is on ©38).
It
also would require the
County Executive to develop complete street guidelines in the next 18 months.
The first
3
recommendations would apply to County streets located in urban areas:
1. Maximum target speed.
Under the current law, maximum target speed is defined as "the
maximum speed at which vehicles should operate on a thoroughfare in a specific context, consistent
with the level of multimodal activity generated by adjacent land uses, to provide mobility for motor
vehicles and a safe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists" (see ©32, lines 66-70). The target
speed is so called because all the roadway design elements should be used to bring drivers to the
point where they feel most comfortable driving at that speed. This Bill as introduced would set a
target speed for each road classification in each type of area: urban, suburban, and rural (see ©34­
35, lines 130-136).
The redraft refocuses on urban areas, so it would not set target speeds in suburban and rural
areas. The target speed for all County streets in urban areas would be 25 mph, unless otherwise
specified in an adopted master plan or CIP project.
2. Lane width.
The introduced Bill calls for the width of a motor vehicle travel lane to be
no wider than 10 feet, except that an outside curb lane would be no wider than 11 feet, including the
gutter pan. The redraft retains this recommendation, but if a case is made for wider lanes at a
particular location, the Planning Board could grant a waiver for improvements by a developer, and
the Council could adopt a different width for a capital improvements program (CIP) project by so
specifying on a project description form (PDF) (see ©34, lines 116-121).
Although a few County streets have lanes that are narrower, especially for left turns, 10 feet
is considered the minimum width that can accommodate general traffic on a through lane. There is
less room to maneuver in 10 foot-wide lanes than in the more standard 11- and 12 foot-wide lanes,
which means that drivers would be more cautious and drive slower. This is important in urban
areas, especially during off-peak times when traffic is lighter. (During peak hours, congestion itself
reduces the speed in most urban areas.)
3. Curb radii.
Tighter comers at intersections produce two positive results for pedestrians:
they slow vehicular traffic traversing crosswalks, and they shorten the distance for pedestrians to
cross. The introduced Bill would set the maximum curb radius at 15 feet The redraft would retain
this standard, but would allow a different radius if approved by the Planning Board as a condition of
plan approval or the Council for a CIP project (see ©34, lines 122-126).
No issue generated more discussion in the working group than curb radii. All
participants agreed that several factors contribute to the geometry of a feasible curb radius: the
width of the approach lane along the curb; the width of the "receiving" roadway, including the
2
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number of receiving lanes and their widths; the presence or absence of a bike lane; the presence
or absence of a curb extension (or bulb-out); the angle at which the streets cross (the skew); the
degree of allowable encroachment in the cross-street's approach lane(s); the volume of buses,
tractor-trailers, and other large vehicles regularly making the turn; and the ability of fire
apparatus to negotiate the turn.
It
is likely that most waivers granted would apply to curb radii.
The recommendations that follow would apply to all County streets:
4. Pedestrian refuges.
The introduced Bill would require any mid-street pedestrian
refuge to be at least 6 feet wide, and require them on any divided highway (a road with a median)
with 6 or more through travel lanes (see ©34, lines 127-129).
5. Shared use paths.
Current law defines a shared use path as being 8-12 feet wide. The
redraft recognizes that 10 feet should be the typical width, but that a path could be as wide as 14
feet if its volume is high and passing is frequent. On the other hand, a path could be as narrow as
8 feet wide where bicycle and pedestrian use is expected to be low and adequate passing
opportunities would be provided, or a physical constraint, such as an environmental feature,
bridge abutment, utility structure, or wall, is present.
6. Separated and buffered bike lanes.
Separated bike lanes, also known as cycle tracks,
are not now defined in the County Code, although they have been included in at least two
recently adopted master plans. The redraft would defme a separated lane as a bikeway that is
separated from motor vehicle travel lanes by a physical barrier, such as a landscape panel or a
line of parked cars. The bill also defmes a buffered bike lane as one that is separated from motor
vehicle lanes by striped pavement (see ©31, lines 46-52). Including these defmitions in the law
would encourage their inclusion in future design and construction standards and guidelines.
7. Curb ramps and stormwater gratings.
The current law requires curb ramps,
stormwater gratings and other similar openings in the roadway to be designed so they are not a
hazard to bicycle and wheelchair traffic. The law allows the County to satisfy this requirement if
the minimum American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards are met. The introduced Bill
would require a higher standard for these facilities, as described in ADA's best practices
guidelines (see ©33, lines 93-101).
8. Complete streets infrastructure.
The redraft would formally include "complete
streets" and "complete streets infrastructure" in the purpose and defmitions language of the
County Road Code. Although this would not substantively change the current law, which
already requires each transportation facility in the County to be designed for all users, it clearly
emphasizes that transportation rights-of-way are for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders, as
well as those driving or riding in motor vehicles. The redraft also expressly encourages
facilitating new technologies, such as intelligent signals, smart parking meters, electric vehicle
charging, car- and bike-sharing, and way-fmding systems, to the maximum extent possible (see
©30-31, lines 10-36 and ©31-32, lines 53-65).
9. Sidewalks.
The current law leaves broad discretion to the Council (for CIP projects)
and to the Planning Board (for conditions of development plan approvals) on whether sidewalks
3
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must be installed with a road project. The redraft would limit that discretion to 4 situations: in
very low density rural zones, along rustic or country roads, where limits on impervious surface
apply, and on tertiary residential streets where the Planning Board finds that a sidewalk is
unnecessary (see ©32-33, lines 72-92). Where permittees are required to install sidewalks, the
redraft would also require curb ramps if necessary (see ©36, lines 139-159).
In
the Working Group, members concluded that a
comprehensive set of complete streets guidelines could be produced within 18 months. The
redraft directs the Executive to transmit a Method 2 regulation to the Council by June 1, 2016
that would include these guidelines (see ©36, lines 161-163). If these regulations are received as
scheduled, the Council could act on them before the 2016 summer recess.
Complete streets guidelines.
Applicability.
Under the redraft, its new standards would not apply to any road project
already in final design or construction when the Bill takes effect.
This packet contains:
Bill 33-13 as introduced
Selected hearing testimony and correspondence
Sponsors' memo re staff Working Group
Councilmember Berliner redraft
Map of urban areas
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal and Economic Impact statements
Circle
#
1
8
27
29
38
39
40
F:\LAW\BILLS\1333 Streets And Roads - Urban Roads\Action MemoDoc
4
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Bill No.
33-13
Conceming: Streets and Roads - Urban
Road Standards and Pedestrian
Safety Improvements
Revised: ____- - - Draft No.
Introduced:
December 10,2013
Expires:
June 10,2015
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: ___-___:_----
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Councilmembers Berliner and Riemer
AN ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
specify maximum standards for lane widths and curb radii on urban roads,
further defme certain required certain pedestrian improvements; and
generally amend the laws governing road design and construction.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 49, Streets and Roads
Sections 49-4, 49-29, 49-32, and 49-33
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
*' *' *'
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law
by
original
bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL
No. 33-13
1
2
Sec.
1.
Sections 49-4, 49-29, 49-32, and 49-33- are amended as follows:
49-4.
Public-private participation.
The County Executive, on behalf of the County, may contract with any person,
who is building a real estate development or subdivision in the County, to participate
in the cost of any street, sidewalk, bikeway, gutter, curb or drainage construction,
landscaping, traffic control device, bikeshare station, electric vehicle charging
station, or placement of utilities.1 conduits or amenities in a street or road dedicated to
public use.
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
49-25.
Purpose and short title.
This Article is intended to guide the planning, design, and construction of
transportation facilities in the public right-of-way. Each transportation facility in the
County must be planned and designed to:
(a)
maximize the choice, safety, convenience, and mobility of all users,
13
14
(b) respect and maintain the particular character of the community where it
is located, [and]
(c)
minimize stormwater runoff and otherwise preserve the natural
environment.1 and
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
@
facilitate the future accommodation of improved transportation
technology elements, such as intelligent signals, smart meters, electric
vehicle charging, car- and bicycle-sharing, and way-finding systems.
To achieve these goals, each County road and street must be designed so that
the safety and convenience of all users ofthe roadway system - including pedestrians,
bicyclists, transit users, automobile drivers, commercial vehicles and freight haulers,
and emergency service vehicles - is accommodated.
Each road and street must
23
24
25
26
facilitate multi-modal use and assure that all users can travel [safety] safely in the
public right of way. A specified quantity of stormwater must be managed and treated
on- site,
in
the road or street right-of-way, including through the use of vegetation­
@ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - F :
-
o
'
-
\
-
R
27
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BILL
No.
33 -13
28
29
30
31
based infiltration techniques.
These [contest] context-sensitive policies must be
employed in all phases of publicly or privately funded facility development,
including planning, design, construction, [and]
reconstruction~
and streetscaping.
*
49-26.
Definitions.
*
*
*
*
32
33
*
34
Target Speed:
the speed at which vehicles should operate on a [throoughfare]
thoroughfare in a specific context, consistent with the level of multimodal activity
generated by adjacent land uses, to provide mobility for motor vehicles and a safe
environment for pedestrians and bicyclists. [The target speed is usually the posted
speed limit.]
35
36
37
38
39
40
*
49-29.
*
*
*
*
Pedestrian walkways, bikeways, and wheelchair traffic.
41
*
(b)
42
To promote the safety of bicycle and wheelchair travel throughout the
County, the County Executive must [establish] adopt, by regulation,
standards and specifications to build and maintain ramps at curbed
intersections and stonn water gratings and other openings along roads
and streets, in each case of a design and type that is not a hazard to
bicycle and wheelchair traffic and is consistent with Americans with
Disabilities Act best practices guidelines published
Qy
the United States
Department of Justice. These ramps, gratings, and openings must be
built and maintained as part of each project under subsection (a).
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
49-32.
(a)
Design standards for types of roads.
The design standards adopted under this Article govern the construction
or reconstruction of any County road except Rustic Roads and
Exceptional Rustic Roads.
If the Planning Board, in approving a
F:\oR
53
54
____________
~QD~3~----------------3-
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BILL
No.
33 -13
55
56
57
subdivision or site plan, [detennines] finds that a waiver from any
applicable design standard is necessary to promote context-sensitive
design of a specific road, the Executive or the Executive's designee
must adopt the Board's recommendation unless the Executive or
[the]
designee [concludes that] notifies the Board why approving the waiver
would significantly impair public safety. The County Council may
adopt 'alternative standards for a specific road constructed or
reconstructed in a project in the approved capital improvements
program.
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
*
(g)
*
*
65
66
Each through travel or turning lane on an urban road must be no wider
than 10 feet, except
~
through travel or turning lane abutting an outside
curb, which must
be
no wider than
67
68
11
feet, including the gutter pan.
~
Each parking lane on an urban road must be no wider than
including the gutter pan.
{h)
feet,
69
70
The curb radius at the comer of each intersection of urban roads must
not exceed
U
feet. Curb extensions must be provided at the ends of
each pennanent parking lane except where
designated.
~
71
72
73
right-turn lane is
74
75
ill
Each pedestrian refuge must be at least
Q
feet wide. A pedestrian refuge
must be provided at each intersection on
more through travel lanes.
~
~
divided highway with
Q
or
76
77
78
ill
Unless otherwise specified in
master plan or the approved capital
improvements program, the target speeds in the table below must
govern the construction or reconstruction of any County road except
Rustic Roads and Exceptional Rustic Roads:
79
80
______________
(fJ=lf=-'-------------4'1--=-.-__
F:\oR
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BILL
No.
33 -13
Classification
Target Sl!eed
Freeway
Controlled Major Highway
Parkway
55-65 mI!h
50 mI!h
urban: 25 mI!h
suburban: 40 mI!h
urban: 25 mI!h
Major Highway
suburban: 35-40 mI!h
rural: 45 mI!h·
suburban: 40 mI!h
rural: 40-45 mQh
urban: 25 mQh
suburban: 35 mQh
rural: 40 mI!h
urban: 25 mI!h
Country Arterial
Arterial
Minor Arterial
suburban: 30 mI!h
rural: 35 mI!h
25mQh
25mQh
25mQh
25m:gh
20mQh
20mQh
Business District Street
Industrial Street
Country Road
Primary and PrinciQal Secondary Residential
Streets
Secondary Residential Streets
Tertiary Residential Street
81
Alley
15 mQh
*Target sQeed for these classifications
in
suburban and rural commercial
zones is 30 mph.
49-33.
Road construction requirements.
82
83
84
*
*
*
F:\OR
@------,s­
-----------------------------
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BILL
No.
33 -13
85
86
87
88
(e)
If a lot or lots front on a public road, the pennittee must install
sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters, except on any Secondary or
Tertiary Residential Street[,] or on any Service Drive fronting on any lot
in a residential zone. This requirement does not apply if the minimum
net lot area for a one-family detached dwelling in that zone is larger
than 25,000 square feet, except that [a sidewalk must be installed] the
pennittee must install sidewalks and ramps on any primary or higher
classification road.
However, the Planning Board may require the
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
applicant to install sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters in any such zone
if the Board fmds, as a condition of approval of a preliminary
subdivision plan or site plan, that sidewalks, ramps, curbs, and gutters at
that location are necessary to allow access:
(1 )
to a sidewalk;
to a bus or other public transit stop;
to an amenity or public facility that will be used by occupants of
the site or subdivision; or
98
99
(2)
(3)
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
(4)
by persons with disabilities.
Before the Planning Board approves any requirement under the
preceding sentence, the Board must give the Departments of Permitting
Services and Transportation a reasonable opportunity to comment on
the proposed requirement.
*
Approved:
*
*
108
109
Craig L. Rice, President, County Council
Date
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _©-=b:::::­
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 , _ -_ _
F:\OR
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BILL No. 33 -13
110
111
112
Approved:
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
113
114
115
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe Council
Date
____________
~G::::?:..-------------,--7-------'F:\oR
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I
Testimony of County Executive Isiah Leggett
before the Transportation, Infrastructure,
Energy and Environment
(T
&E) Committee
Bill 33-13
January 23,2014
Good evening, Chairman Berliner and members of the T&E Committee. For the
record my name is
Art
Holmes, Director of Montgomery County's Department of
Transportation, testifying on behalfof County Executive Isiah Leggett.
The County Executive and the Department of Transportation endorse the goals of
the legislation to reduce vehicle speeds and provide improved pedestrian safety and
mobility.
We support the design of transportation facilities which incorporate the policies of
Complete Streets and Context Sensitive Design, providing a balance of transportation
modes for
all
users and recognizing the context within which the facility
is
located.
The design and operation of intersections and roads in an urban environment is a
complex matter that ultitnately involves:
• the safety of
all
users of the facilities: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists;
• the need to provide safe and adequate access for the delivery of goods and
services to businesses that operate in urban environments;
• the accessibility and response time of emergency vehicles to ensure the
protection of our residents and businesses.
There are more than 200 intersections in the four Urban Areas of Bethesda, Silver
Spring, White Flint and Wheaton. And there are more
than.
one hundred additional
intersections in the other Urban Areas of the County.
The variability of factors at roadways and intersections throughout the County's
urban areas means that each urban area presents different challenges. Significant
differences exist between the down-county urban areas of Bethesda, Silver Spring and
Friendship Heights in comparison with Urban Areas in Clarksburg, Damascus and Olney.
These differences include congestion levels, pedestrian activity, development densities,
vehicle speeds, frequency of large vehicles, uses of the streetscape, etc.
Therefore, we believe it is important to provide flexibility in designing roads and
intersections so that in each urban area
all
factors can be adequately balanced. We
suggest an approach that would develop design guidelines, similar to those developed and
adopted in other major urban areas such as Boston and Chicago, to guide the design
decisions involved in roadway and intersection design.
._1,
®
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81 Mosher Street
i
8alllmore, MD 21217
I
410.728.2900
BOO 787.3755
I
www
rldu:om
January 22, 2014
Montgomery County Council
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee
100 Maryland Avenue, 5th Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
RE:
Montgomery County Council Public Hearing
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements
Dear Councilmembers:
RK&K has reviewed the draft legislation for Bill 33-13. Streets and Roads Urban Road Standards and
Pedestrian Safety Improvements and appreciates the opportunity to offer comments on the proposed
amendments.
We have a long history of providing transportation engineering design services for
Montgomery County, the State of Maryland, and a wide range of transportation and public works agencies
throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Furthermore, we are very familiar with the County's current Road
Code (adopted in 2008) and a wide range of Complete Streets and Urban Design guidelines from our work
with the County, MD SHA, MD MTA, WMATA, District of Columbia DOT, Virginia DOT, City of Takoma Park,
City of Rockville, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, and others.
We applaud the County's efforts to strengthen its commitment to Complete Streets design principles. We
believe the County made great strides in enhancing its ability to develop "Complete Streets", with the
update to its Road Code and Roadway Design Standards, in 2008. We believe the proposed legislation is
another valuable effort to further strengthen the County's ability to develop its roadways as complete
streets that are safe and functional for all roadway users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, cars,
trucks, and buses.
We understand the objectives of the proposed legislation are to strengthen the County's ability to develop
Complete Streets, by amending the road design requirements, defining pedestrian requirements, and
specifying specific standards for various roadway components. The new guidelines include requirements for
transportation technology; compliance with ADA guidelines; specific lane width, parking lane curb radii and
refuge island minimum/maximum dimensions; revised target speeds and sidewalk ramp requirements.
While we understand and support the objectives behind each of the new requirements in the legislation,
we would caution the County about setting specific limits for design features, such as lane widths and curb
radii, since it is very difficult to identify specific lane widths and curb radii that are applicable to all potential
situations. For instance, lane widths and curb radii should be guided by the appropriate design speed,
design vehicle and land use, along with transportation functions within the project area. Transportation
characteristics that could potentially vary include types of vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, emergency
vehicles); operations (parking, loading/unloading, transit, taxi pickup, bicycling, and walking), among
others. We believe it is important that design guidelines maintain some flexibility so that stakeholders have
the opportunity to evaluate all of the goals, needs, and constraints of a speCific project and develop a
design that is most effective at meeting those goals, while appropriately considering the project
constraints. In addition, design guidelines should have the flexibility to change with future research and
technology, as they continue to evolve in the industry and in our society.
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Montgomery County Council
January 22,2014
Page 2 of 2
Personally, as a former Secretary of Maryland DOT, I would suggest forming a Working Group similar to
the Boston approach, in developing your own set of Complete Street Guidelines. As a starting point, the
Working Group might begin with the consideration of several available guidelines that have been
developed by organizations with specialized expertise and experience in the design of Complete Streets
principles. Discussions with those who have developed existing guidelines would also likely be
beneficial. Based on my 48 years in transportation, learning from others who have already undertaken
similar efforts regarding complex issues often provides real benefits to the final product.
Potential resources include:
City of Boston,
Boston Complete Streets Guidelines
City of Chicago,
Complete Streets Design Guidelines
City of Philadelphia,
Philadelphia Complete Streets Design Handbook
NACTO
Urban Street Design Guide
• . NACTO
Bicycle Design Guide
• ITE
Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach
• AASHTO
A Guide for Achieving Flexibility in Highway Design
• AASHTO
Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
• AASHTO
Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities
• FHWA
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
These resources would provide valuable information to the Working Group, regarding all aspects of
Complete Streets design, including lane widths, parking lanes, curb radii, refuge island design, sidewalks,
bike lanes, curb ramps, curb extensions, crosswalks, intersection design, transit lanes, transit stops,
buffers, frontage space, street trees, signing, pavement markings, signalization, landscaping, etc.
Considering the information presented by these resources, the Working Group would be able to develop
a comprehensive set of Complete Street guidelines for Montgomery County. By utilizing the resulting
comprehensive set of Complete Streets gUidelines, future stakeholders (agency representatives,
government officials, businesses, and community representatives) would then be able to devetop a
street design that best meets the specific needs and constraints of each individual project.
We appreciate the opportunity to provide our comments on the pending legislation for its Urban Road
Standards. If you have any questions regarding our comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at
1.800.787.3755.
Partner Emeritus
(Former Secretary, MOOT)
®
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Christopher Conklin
411 Oak Knoll Ter
RockviHe, MD 20850
January 21,2014
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Councilmembers:
I am writing to suggest an alternative course ofaction to achieve the objectives of Bill 33­
13 introduced by Councilmember Roger Berliner. The objectives ofthe Bill are laudable­
providing for appropriate intersection design elements in urban areas. However, the rigid
standards proposed are, by themselves, insufficient to achieve the stated objectives and
may compromise the ability of design professionals to provide safe and effective facilities.
Intersection design is complex and involves a large number ofvariables. Detailed
consideration of context-specific considerations is critical so that the most appropriate
measures, within the constraints found at each location, can be incorporated. To provide a
safe environment for pedestrians, the design also needs to make sure that routine service
by large vehicles (transit, deliveries, fire
&
rescue, etc.) is safely accommodated.
Requiring specific design values by law is counter to best-practices for context sensitive
design and hampers the ability ofdesign professionals to meet the continuingly evolving
needs of our urban areas. In some ways, prescribing design values to apply to all
situations is like requiring, by law, a doctor to prescribe one medication for all patients.
As evidence, consider this statement by the National Association ofCity Transportation
Officials (NACTO) in their highly-regarded
Urban Street Design Guide:
"It is important to note that urban situations are complex.
The
treatments and
topics discussed in this guide must be tailored to individual situations and
contexts. NACTO encourages good engineeringjudgment in all cases."
A few years ago, I had the privilege ofworking with the County Executive's Task Force
to develop the
Context Sensitive Road Design Standards.
During this process, addressing
intersection design was identified as an area that needed additional work including
stakeholder engagement. Using a stakeholder-infonned process to develop intersection
design guidelines is the best way for the County to meet its objectives for improving
pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the County's urban areas. This process would allow for
fonnulation of guidelines that respond to the objectives of Bill 33-13 while recognizing
the need for appropriate flexibility in design.
Respectfully,
Christopher Conklin
®
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Testimony before the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T & E)
Committee-January 23, 2014
Bill 33-13
Good evening Chairman Berliner and members of the T&E Committee. For the record, my name
is Ron Welke. I was the Chief, Division of Traffic Engineering, in the Department of
Transportation for Montgomery County (MCDOT) from 1974 to 1994. Subsequently, I was a
Supervisor for Development Review at the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning
Commission (M-NCPPC) in Montgomery County from 1996 to 2004.
With that profeSSional background, I bring a unique perspective to the issues and
recommendations contained in Bill 33-13. In both of my positions, frequently I was involved in
spirited discussions with professional staff from both agencies as well as local transportation
engineering consultants regarding the specific elements of roadway and intersection design. I
have the highest respect for Larry Cole at M-NCPPC and Edgar Gonzales and Emil Wolanin at
MCDOT.
In my professional judgment, it is not appropriate to legislate traffic engineering design
elements such as maximum target speeds, maximum curb radii and maximum lane widths in
urban areas. The speCific conditions related to each situation must be taken into account before
a decision is made, and that is the job ofthe professionals. A balance must be reached between
the competing and often conflicting goals of safety and mobility; of pedestrians, bicyclists and
transit vehicles, in an urban environment.
For example, a curb radius of 15' does reduce the crossing distance at an intersection for
pedestrians and tends to slow vehicles down as they make a right turn. However, a transit
vehicle or a UPS delivery truck may not be able to make that right turn without either
encroaching on the approach lane or mounting the curb, both safety issues. A 20' or 25' radius
may be more appropriate in that case.
Similarly, setting target speeds or speed limits too low may violate driver expectations and
cause a disparity in actual speeds, another safety issue. During my tenure with MCDOT, we
established a safe and realistic speed limit policy that, to the best of my knowledge, is still in
effect tod ay.
These decisions should be left to the professionals. I recommend that the County Council set
general goals in Bill 33-13, and that a working group be established to develop design guidelines
that will reflect the consensus of all stakeholders and provide a balance between the safety and
mobility objectives unique to each situation.
@
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Testimony by Francine E. Waters on January 23,2014
before the Montgomery County Council during their consideration of
the
Bill 33-13, Road Code Amendments
I am pleased to speak to you today on behalf of Lerner Enterprises, concerning our
support of Bill 33-13, Road Code Amendments.
Lerner Enterprises has long supported the vision for the White Flint Sector and these
amendments to the road code are one step closer in facilitating the realization of that
vision. The implementation of pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, walkable, livable urban
areas are embodied in the proposed road code amendments.
It is also important, however, to blJild in flexibility to accommodate freight, truck, fire and
rescue movement. Consideration should be given to permitting, waiver and/or
exception procedures as part of the application of this amendment such that the
process not be laborious to the applicant. The Montgomery County Department of
Transportation could perhaps administer the waiver rather than having the applicant
return to the Planning Board for approval.
Language such as seen in the D.C. Design and Engineering manual that states 'Where
it is appropriate to provide for turning vehicles within minimum space, the corner radii
should be based on the minimum turning path of the selected design vehicles." DDOT
Design and Engineering manual provides additional guidance for urban traffic
movements as cited on pages 31-7 and 31-8.
-_._._-_.._------_.__. _._-_.. ._-_._--- ®
IIPage
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We would also ask that the language as found in the Section entitled Road Construction
Requirements on page 6 Item e (3), be revised to include the first sentence of item 6 (e)
in order to clarify that this condition applies only to the site and abutting public roads.
We applaud your efforts to lower speeds by reduced pavement widths, to increase
pedestrian safety by shortening crossing distances, to minimize storm water runoff and
to accommodate multi-modal transportation choices, to name but a few benefits of this
bill. We look forward to the approval of the urban design road standards for
Montgomery County and thank you for your consideration of our two modifications
and/or clarifications.
21Page
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING BOARD
. THE MAR.YLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION
OFFICE
OF
THE
CHAIR
January 24, 2014
The Honorable Craig Rice, President
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Re:
Bill 32-13: Motor Vehicles and Traffic - Off-Street Public Parking Regulations· Plug-in
Vehicles, and Bill 33-13: Streets and Roads - Urban Road Code Standards Pedestrian
Safety Improvements
Dear~~
At our regularly scheduled meeting on January 23, 2014, the Planning Board discussed the
aforementioned bills and voted to support them with the following comments:
Bill 32-13
We support Bill 32-13 as introduced.
Bill 33-13
We agree with the goals of Bill 33-13 to expand and enhance the county's complete streets
policy and to facilitate the implementation of pedestrian- and bike-friendly. livable, walkable
areas as envisioned in the county's approved master plans. We support passage of the bill
with some detailed comments as enumerated below, but believe that some additional efforts
should be made to meet its goals in a way that provide the flexibility needed for context­
sensitive implementation.
We have now had more
than
five years of experience with both the 2007 changes to the Road
Code and the subsequent 2008 Executive Regulations that were created to implement them.
We believe that a comprehensive. multi-agency review of the
Road
Code is
needed
to assess
the impact of the 2007 overhaul and recommend any additional necessary changes to the
code. A state-of-the-practice review of other Complete Streets efforts nationwide should be
inc1uded in this effort.
One item that we believe is overdue is the creation of Executive Regulations to govern the
standards for intersection construction. This is an item that
was
put on hold due to the limited
amount oftime available to complete the rest ofthe road standards in 2008, but is greatly
needed to facilitate development in our urban areas. We recommend that Bill 33-13 include
language directing the Executive to complete these standards within eighteen months ofthe
adoption of the bill, and that adequate funding be provided in the operating budget to cover
the staffing and consultant services needed to complete this task as well as the multi-agency
review.
~
8787
Georgia
Avenue., Silver Spring. Maryland 20910
www........
m..YPbnm.gl>oud.@.Maili
Phone: 301.495.4605 Fax: 301.495.1320
",q>-CbW@m.acpp<·me.o,£