Montgomery highlights Vision Zero plan during the month of October, sharing maps, resources, and meeting details with the public and discussing priority areas for safety enhancement projects.
Pedestrian comfort and access is a major public safety concern for all Maryland counties and particularly in high traffic areas and those locations with a wealth of diversity in mobility options. Walking is specifically getting a big highlight this month presenting an ideal opportunity to feature the extensive work that goes into making sure public safety is a key component to pedestrian improvements. A great deal of time and financial investment goes into collecting the data to make sure high-risk areas are effectively assessed and planned for to make the counties safer for all residents.
As previously covered on the blog, a major focus of the month long Walktober event is for pedestrian safety outreach across the state. This gives local officials the opportunity to promote the work being done under the Vision Zero program to make walking in places like Montgomery County safer for people of all ages and abilities. Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) teams will be at various locations throughout the month to talk specifically with residents about recent safety improvements, including infrastructure projects and upcoming plans. The full list of events being hosted this month by the MCDOT can be found on the website.
Almost constantly the MCDOT performs walking area analyses and areas around schools are often given even more attention with vulnerable populations, like small children, moving around in greater density. 15 to 20 of theses studies are done specifically around school locations within the Montgomery County Public School District every year. A pedestrian safety resource page hosts all the information with a comprehensive list of current walkability studies, interactive maps, and upcoming community meetings to address findings. Each school walkshed is reviewed for sidewalk connectivity and accessibility as part of the safety evaluation process.
Key walking routes are prioritized to ensure students walking to school are provided with dedicated space outside of vehicular travel ways along a street segment. The walkability studies generally summarize observations related to existing conditions, identify safety hazards, infrastructure deficiencies, and provide recommendations for improving the safety of those walking and rolling to and from school. Safety spot improvement areas consider the studies from specific areas around schools in conjunction with a number of other data sets showing officially designated equity emphasis areas, bicycle and pedestrian priority areas, and pedestrian comfort ratings.