Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The potentially-deadly closure of Fairmont Avenue to safe pedestrian passage continued Monday. My understanding is that at least one complaint has been officially registered with the county yesterday. I have heard nothing back from Councilmember Roger Berliner as of this writing, after tagging his Twitter account on my tweet about this story Monday morning.

As you can see in these photos taken at a variety of times, there is no clear and safe passage for pedestrians on Fairmont Avenue between Norfolk Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. By Monday evening (top photo), the makeshift path was free of cones and construction equipment, but does not appear to fully comply with regulations for disabled persons (width, uneven surfaces, debris, etc.). Many questions are being raised by the double sidewalk closure, and only becoming more questionable as the situation is allowed to persist day after day.

Was there a plan established between the Montgomery County Planning Department, the county transportation department, and the developers regarding pedestrian safety, once it was clear both apartment building projects would overlap? Is there a reason the 7770 Norfolk Avenue project does not have a covered pedestrian sidewalk structure, as the Bainbridge site had until recently? With the nature of the current work at the Bainbridge site requiring complete closure of the public sidewalk, was a plan worked out with the county in advance to ensure pedestrian safety? What is the time limit on how long this sidewalk can be closed? Ultimately, how is this situation being allowed to go forward, despite the legal liability issues for the county (a.k.a., the taxpayers), and the developer(s)?

As one commenter on my post put it succinctly, "a public street has essentially been shut down for the benefit and convenience of private developers." This is what we have seen happen in Little Falls Stream Valley Park over the last two years, as well. With recent county sting operations targeting citizens for pedestrian safety violations, it's natural to wonder when they'll be addressing developer violations of the rules along Fairmont Avenue.
Construction workers watch as
pedestrians are forced to walk
into oncoming traffic on
Fairmont Avenue

Pedestrian in road
(behind No Parking sign)

Pedestrians in roadway
Wheelchair accessible?
The pedestrian "walkway"
Monday evening


Anonymous said...

They're killing the few remaining businesses on Fairmont with this latest fiasco. No one is going to a restaurant that they can't access.

Anonymous said...

It's becoming increasingly clear to me that the citizens of our area are simply a product that is sold to developers. Our safety is not a priority where the convenience of businesses are concerned.