Thursday, May 14, 2015
War on pedestrians continues in downtown Bethesda (Photos)
Apparently, the SHA was attempting to improve access via the curb cuts and wheelchair ramps at East-West and Chelton Road by Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. In the process, they ended up with the signage post now blocking the ramps. That, of course, rendered the ramps useless for wheelchair access. Then, work stopped altogether, and cement meant to be used for the new sidewalk instead was left to dry. This has been going on for about 4 weeks.
A nearby resident who walks her 2 and 5-year-old children to school along East-West says the SHA told her they are waiting for permission to relocate the sign posts. Meanwhile, they closed the sidewalk on the other side of East-West near Montgomery Avenue, leaving nowhere for pedestrians to go. If you've been following my reports on other sidewalk closures downtown, you won't be surprised to hear the result - pedestrians entering the roadway.
You would think that the posts would have been considered by engineers before starting the project. And that sidewalk closures would be timed better as a safety consideration for pedestrians.
With this project scheduled to last through the fall, let's hope this is not the way things will go for the duration. If not, sidewalk closures will be as frustrating as the midday and overnight lane closures. The area affected by the project is between Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues.
One positive thing I can say is that, when they finish these resurfacing jobs, the new pavement is far superior to whatever material the state was using years ago. The part of East-West they already completed east of Connecticut is one of the smoothest roads I've ever driven on, and the SHA should be commended for that.