Thursday, December 15, 2016
Road diet project for Bethesda Capital Crescent Trail crossing set to begin next week
New signage will be installed, and the speed limit will be lowered to 25 MPH. The proposed changes have angered some, who argue that the fatal accident that spurred the changes was caused by the cyclist who died after being struck by a car there in October. That argument gained credibility this week, after Montgomery County detectives decided not to charge the driver in the incident, concluding that the cyclist had failed to stop at the trail's stop sign.
Pedestrian and trail advocates, on the other hand, have said the changes are long overdue for the dangerous crossing of the popular trail. I do think it's notable that, especially in light of the debate, there was no public process for this project. A number of alternatives have been floated by people on both sides of the issue, and it seems inappropriate to proceed with a "we know best" solution, without a community conversation first.
Where, too, do the funds for this project come from? There are many, many dangerous intersections and pedestrian hazards around Bethesda. Instead of proactively tackling them, the County seems to act hastily only after an injury, or a life has been lost.
Finally, what is the engineering solution the County will implement to avoid numerous fender benders or worse, when heavy traffic from two left-turn lanes on Arlington Road is suddenly forced to merge into one lane within a few yards of making the turn? Isn't this what public meetings are for? Why wasn't one held?
There are more questions than answers right now.
Image courtesy Montgomery Parks