Not So Calm About Conn. Avenue
Many letters have come in during the past few days about a traffic in Montgomery County.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
They have done some really odd road work on a stretch of Connecticut Avenue between Bel Pre Road and Georgia Avenue (Conn. Ave. cuts across and reconnects and crosses over Georgia just off Bel Pre Road in Maryland.
They have made it into one lane (was 2 lanes each way) resurfaced and put in large cement squares right in the lane of traffic! I have never seen such a strange thing. Do you have any idea what Maryland Transportation is
doing? Two of the new sections are for the handicap access across both sides of the roadway. The rest of cement squares are oddly placed on both sides of the road in the far right lanes ... strange.
Many commuters who know Connecticut Avenue as the important commuter artery between Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County and dowtown Washington may be unfamiliar with this stretch on the east side of Georgia. It's part of a triangle of roadways completed by Bel Pre Road and Georgia Avenue. There are apartment complexes on either side and a park, but many drivers are just passing through as they travel between Bel Pre and the junction of Georgia and Connecticut.
Many of them are going over 55 mph through this 40 mph zone between Bel Pre and Grand Pre roads. Montgomery County recently launced a program to reduce speeding by changing the configuration of the roadway.
The county's Department of Public Works and Transportation set up several concrete islands that reduce what was a four-lane roadway to two lanes. Three bus stops were relocated, and cross walks are being repositioned to improve pedestrian safety. The department says it's planning a similar treatment for Arcola Avenue, another popular cut-through.
I liked what I saw between 8:30 and 9 o'clock this morning. Traffic was relatively light at that hour, perhaps summer vacations added to that, or some drivers may have decided to avoid the area. In Montgomery County, I'm more used to seeing speed bumps or speed cameras employed to slow traffic, but this is an interesting solution.
The technique doesn't always work. The District abandoned its traffic-narrowing effort on Military Road west of Rock Creek Park after slowed-down commuters started bailing out onto other routes, including neighborhood streets. But some of the factors that hindered that effort don't apply to Connecticut Avenue at this point.
When I was there, traffic moved along pretty quickly, and I appreciated the advantage the new concrete island gave me as a pedestrian. It not only shortened the distance I had to walk in the roadway, but also gave me a place to wait in the middle until it was safe to cross the other lane of traffic.
But judging by the letters I've received, many people are confused about the traffic planners intentions or downright angry to find the traffic slowed down. What do you think of such measures?
Posted by: Joe in SS | July 16, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse
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