Friday, January 06, 2017

Little Falls Parkway road diet installed at Capital Crescent Trail crossing (Photos)

The Montgomery County Parks Department installed delineator pylons to narrow Little Falls Parkway to one lane in each direction between Hillandale and Arlington Roads yesterday. It is being called a temporary fix to improve safety at the Capital Crescent Trail crossing on that block. A cyclist on the CCT was killed after failing to stop before crossing the road last fall. Police determined the driver who struck him was not at fault.
"We know best."
- Montgomery County Government
As I predicted, drivers are startled and confused by the change as they make the left turn from Arlington Road onto the parkway, a recipe for accidents that the department so far has declined to take seriously. Two lanes of cars are required to merge into one within a few feet of space. Without street lights, poor visibility only adds to the confusion after sunset. A query asking if traffic engineers had studied the merge issue before acting remains unanswered by the Parks Department spokesperson as of this writing.
With no streetlights,
poor visibility adds to
the danger created by
the road changes
Two critical questions remain about the so-called "road diet." First, no public meeting was ever held to get input or feedback on the arbitrary change. Why was such a meeting not held? The change affects thousands of residents, and the project used taxpayer funds. It is unprecedented that a meeting would not be held in this case.
No need for public input;
"We alone can fix it."
- Montgomery County Government
Second, was taking money from a trail maintenance fund to pay for a road project (no changes or upgrades were made to the trail itself with this project) an illegal use of funds? It clearly is an illegal use of funds. When trail rehabilitation funds can be used for road projects designed to slow drivers down, that is a slush fund and an abuse of the system.
Taxpayer money meant
to fix trails countywide was
used for a road project, an
illegal use of funds
This is a clear case of Big Government run amok, violating its own laws. Another case of an out-of-control Montgomery County Government ignoring the citizens who fund it, just to score another tired victory in the "war on cars." Shameful. Get ready for another housecleaning election in 2018.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't see a darn thing from these photos. But, whatever they do, it's gonna be a disaster. From your report, it already is. This will go thru several phases and will waste thousands of tax payer dollars before the correct and easiest solution has been reached. What's important, and nobody does anything but complain, is to contact Roger Berliner's office and others demanding a better solution. Cars don't know what to do even before these changes. Re-routing the trail to the existing light or placing flashing stop light signals when someone is in the crosswalk would work and make all happy. Choking that road off is really gonna be a mess and I'll be avoiding it at significant inconvenience

Anonymous said...

Re-routing the trail to the existing light would be an even bigger disaster as you'd have dozens of bikers and pedestrians huddled up at that corner waiting for the light. Thousands use that crossing every day. Almost as many if not more than cars.

Robert Dyer said...

5:07: "Can't see a darn thing from these photos." That's part of the issue - there is no street lighting there. If somebody is running or biking toward the crossing, you can't see them at night, and poor visibility at night (as you can see from the photos) is going to make that dangerous left onto the parkway even more dangerous after sunset.

It's also distracting drivers from the main issue - trail users crossing - and putting their attention on the crazy merge instead. Nuts.

There's probably something that can be done to improve safety, but this isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Good point-why not provide light to that crossing?

Robert Dyer said...

5:54: Yeah, seriously. But that wouldn't tighten the screws on drivers, so they have no eagerness to do it.

5:07: Also want to point out that you can clearly see the pylons that have closed off the second lane in these photos. It's not like they're black squares on the page here. Cheap pylons, just to try to get some kind of obstacle in the road to inflict pain on drivers. How much taxes did we pay to get 4 lanes on this road, and now we're being told we can only use 2? Give me a break.

Steve said...

Drove through this morning 7:45. Not bad at all. No traffic issue. And for the first time in ages I wasn't concerned about hitting a biker/pedestrian.

Visibility is much better.

I come down from Fairfax not Arlington so I can't speak to the merge.


But from a trail safety standpoint it's a winner.

Anonymous said...

Robert, I agree that it's dark there too. The whole thing is screwed up and will get worse with government attempting a solution that will only make it more complicated and unfixed.

Anonymous said...

"How much taxes did we pay..."

You tell us, Dyer. How much taxes did you pay?

#ReleaseTheReturns

Anonymous said...

7:13 AM
Everyone pays taxes...on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

7:13AM 3.20% of the state tax, like the rest of us county residents

Anonymous said...

War on walking!

Robert Dyer said...

7:38: The county's war on pedestrians is a separate issue. One war at a time.

Anonymous said...

My chauffeur was so startled I gave him a hard candy to settle himself.

Anonymous said...

Because of course there's a "war on cars" and a "war on pedestrians" depending on which POV Dyer feels like whining about on that particular day. The only consistency is that he will blame literally everything on the county no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I like it. It seems like a blanked approach to making walkers and cyclists safer, while not overly disturbing traffic. The county should be congratulated for a constructive solution.

Anonymous said...

9:22AM
Who would you blame?

Anonymous said...

For Dyer, whining about the county is a guarantee, no matter the county action:
1. blame the county for a "war on cars" if they reduce lanes (as they did and as Dyer, predictably, did)
2. blame the county for a "war on pedestrians" if they treat it as an isolated incident and don't make safety changes.
3. blame the county for being "unresponsive" if DOT decided to study the matter further rather than take immediate action.
4. blame the county for not holding community meetings if DOT decides to take quick, corrective action (as they did and as Dyer, predictably, did).

The only constant is the Robert Dyer will whine like a little baby no matter which way the county handles a situation. That's been proven true on here, literally, hundreds of times.

Anonymous said...

I experienced the lack of merge area this morning and it is going to be a problem. As a possible fix they should designate the southbound right lane of Arlington Rd as right turn only.

Robert Dyer said...

9:22: The County has proven they can effectively prosecute both of those wars against their own citizens simultaneously. No Robert Dyer blame necessary. Just check out the closed sidewalks in downtown Bethesda even as Hans Riemer dreams of a 15 MPH Wisconsin Avenue.

Anonymous said...

9:34 AM So, you're complaining that Dyer doesn't adhere to some rigid ideological view on every issue?

There have been really bad pedestrian and traffic issues in and around downtown Bethesda over the past few years. Simply go back to Dyer's coverage of the sidewalk problems.

As for traffic, I'll say how about that misaligned Woodmont-Bethesda Ave intersection? :)

Robert Dyer said...

Install a red light camera to catch joggers and cyclists who disobey the stop rules while crossing, that issues a $250 fine, without holding a public meeting first, and tell there wouldn't be screams resulting from that.

Robert Dyer said...

9:34: Why would I blame the County for not taking this action, when they are failing to act on far more dangerous spots around town for pedestrians. Many poorly illuminated crosswalks,closed sidewalks.

Remember how many months the County allowed both sides of Fairmont to be closed, and people were walking in the street with cars dodging them? Why didn't they take "quick, decisive action?"

Anonymous said...

Joggers and cyclists aren't cars. Let's stop pretending the same traffic laws make sense for all forms of transportation.

G. Money said...

Dyer, you can't issue tickets via camera to pedestrians and cyclists.

G. Money said...

Dyer @ 9:55 - because no one died?

Robert Dyer said...

9:56: We'll make them wear little license plates, and come up with all of this at a secret, closed meeting. And then just announce it and start issuing tickets. Sound good? You had no problem with zero transparency when it was an anti-car move.

Robert Dyer said...

9:58: The driver was cleared by the police investigation. There was no fatal accident caused by a vehicle driver at this crossing, yet the action is against drivers.

Robert Dyer said...

Let's not forget the elephant in the room here - the illegal use of funds. No wonder the MoCo political cartel didn't want the FBI headquarters in Montgomery County!

I guess we'll have to wait until the new Council is sworn in next year to have an investigation of improper use of funds, and trail funds becoming political slush funds.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the solution is not a solution. It is now a bottleneck, and people will still get hit. 100% truth.

Anonymous said...

Any bets on how soon we'll see some bent polls? Either from confusion merging or drink.

Anonymous said...

Trail funds... being used to... improve safety on a trail!

OMG, this it totally the next Watergate!

Insane Birdbrain Drama Queen.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:25 AM - 3.20% of $0 annual income is $0.

Anonymous said...

1:25 PM Dyer doesn't have "$0" income and you know it.

Anonymous said...

This trail crossing has been like this for a decade or longer with no fatalities I can recall.

Now you have an 80 year old riding a low-profile 3 wheeler running a stop sign and getting hit by another 80 year old. This was guaranteed to happen eventually, that's why they call it an accident. We need our Little Falls Pkwy at full capacity! We like our roads can we keep our roads?

Who in our ignoramous government approved this poorly thought out bottleneck? They need to be fired!

Anonymous said...

1:37 - Oh, really? What income producing activities does Robert Dyer engage in?

Anonymous said...

I drove through this section southbound around noon, and northbound in the evening rush hour. I didn't notice any problems at all on the first trip. On the second trip I observed one or two late merges, and slightly heavier traffic, but no delays.

I felt that visibility was much better at the crosswalk.

It's not a perfect solution, but an effective one for the amount of money spent. Little Falls Parkway north of Hillandale, and even the south end of Arlington Road are overbuilt in terms of the amount of traffic that they actually handle.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:43 PM -

"This trail crossing has been like this for a decade or longer with no fatalities I can recall."

Except the one you mention in your very next paragraph. You would have been better off writing "This trail crossing has been like this for a decade or longer with only one fatality I can recall."

"This was guaranteed to happen eventually..."

So the crosswalk wasn't as safe as you claimed that it was in your first paragraph.

"...That's why they call it an accident."

The blanket use of the word "accident" to describe crashes or collisions between vehicles and other vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, or fixed objects is very misleading. There is a movement to deprecate the use of that word, in favor of "crash" or "collision".

Anonymous said...

3:07pm you're just making stuff up. You know Dyer doesn't have "$0" income.

Anonymous said...

Went through today. Traffic jammed up and folks don't read signs, so they're trying to turn left from Arlington in both lanes. Probably will be an accident soon.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:25 AM/1:37 PM/4:02 PM - If you know something about Robert Dyer's actual employment, that no one else in Bethesda has heard of, then kindly share.

Robert Dyer said...

1:19: Trail rehabilitation fund. No rehab done on trail. Totally a road project to change traffic. Illegal use of funds. You've got to either use MCDOT funds - and still have a public meeting - or get an appropriation for Parks for this. Illegal abuse of public funds.

Anonymous said...

5:14pm I've never read Patch or The Sentinel and demanded to know how much a reporter makes.
You're obsession with Dyer continues.

We don't know anything about the faceless interns and freelancers who are writing fake news on other local sites.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert Dyer said...

7:09: This is why you're facing 2 years in the federal slammer for felony stalking, creep. Your threatening comment has been recorded for forwarding to law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

If the county council had any understanding of representative government, they would at least held a hearing, at which the pros and cons, and questionable legality of this action would have been aired. Their obtuseness is part of the same pattern that has our director of planning calling on citizens to step forward and find a location for a school bus terminal, because the 200K a year paid for his work isn't enough to hire someone with a nugget of common sense.

Such instances abound, and while the carping critics may tire of Dyer's criticism of county government, from their partisan or temperamental predispositions, the sad fact is that these people are both incompetent and profoundly unresponsive. I do not expect term limits to make any difference--we'll just get another batch of developer-supported tools--the level of frustration is such that people couldn't wait to 2018 to express their rage. I'm honestly not sure which is worse: the scuttling of general quality-of-life issues in massive development and zoning deals, or the day-by-day process that generates such misconceived responses as this.

You might think, for example, that they'd at least put a flashing red light up to remind cyclists of their obligation to stop, perhaps with a sign describing the recent fatality. Or a sensor strip on the trail, that would trigger a flashing yellow to alert drivers that a bicycle is approaching from the foliage. Either approach would at least have a claim to legality in the funding mechanism.

Anonymous said...

Dyer is providing useful info here.
Meanwhile, the legacy local media is figuring out how to use a white pages phone book. Print media indeed :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reporting on this Robert.

Yes! Anon@8:49. Why can't they just use common sense?
"You might think, for example, that they'd at least put a flashing red light up to remind cyclists of their obligation to stop, perhaps with a sign describing the recent fatality. Or a sensor strip on the trail, that would trigger a flashing yellow to alert drivers that a bicycle is approaching from the foliage."

Anonymous said...

@5:14PM
One doesn't need employment to have income.
Please educate yourself.

Anonymous said...

Great suggestions on the flashing red light, signage or sensor strip/flashing yellow light. Those would be sensible solutions.

Anonymous said...

I think we can agree that Dyer is unemployed.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait till the Purple Line is extended to Westbard and then McLean. In addition to getting a two-seat ride to Dulles, Bethesdians will also get a nice new bridge on the CCT at this location, as part of the project.

Anonymous said...

5:12 pm speaking for yourself in the royal "we" again?
Why do you hate small business people so much?

Anonymous said...

@ 10:50 PM (1:50 AM EST) - Go to bed, Birdbrain.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how this eliminates the problem if a biker doesn't stop.