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Council Committees Overview MCPS Biking, Strolling Infrastructure

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The Montgomery County Council reviewed pupil strolling and biking infrastructure throughout a committee work session Thursday.

Representatives from the Montgomery County Police Division, Planning Workplace and Division of Transportation mentioned their contributions to the Protected Routes to Faculty Program — a nationwide plan aiming to enhance pedestrian infrastructure and promote security by academic packages.

Though 20,000 — or 12% — of scholars stroll to highschool, many don’t really feel snug alongside pathways or at crosswalks, Council President Andrew Friedson stated.

Hours earlier than the assembly, a 12-year-old was hospitalized after being hit by a automobile on his strategy to Baker Center Faculty. The incident is indicative of an absence of secure infrastructure for college students, Friedson stated.

“Our youngsters who’re strolling to highschool don’t really feel secure doing so,” Friedson stated. “This whole dialog is how we get children safely to and from faculty. It is among the most essential issues that we will do.”

Solely 27% of excessive schoolers reported feeling snug alongside pathways and simply 13% expressed consolation at crosswalks, based on the 2023 Journey Monitoring Report carried out by the Montgomery Planning Fee.

To align with trade requirements, faculties will need to have one bike rack per 20 seated pupil capability. Present MCPS bike services present solely 6% of the recommended capability, the report stated.

Prioritization of sidewalk development is decided by plenty of components, based on Michael Paylor, Chief of Visitors Engineering and Operations Division on the Division of Transportation. The group seems to be at whether or not faculties are situated in fairness emphasis areas, the encompassing roads, the demand and stage of publicity to threat for college students, he stated.

Jawando stated sooner or later, lead companies ought to collaborate to create a proper precedence listing of infrastructure wants to enhance pupil security.

“We now have labored actually onerous over the previous couple of years to return to an settlement on a shared language for what these priorities are,” stated David Anspacher, appearing division chief at Montgomery Planning.

A crosswalk with a signalized site visitors gentle prices about one million {dollars}, based on MCPS Affiliate Superintendent Seth Adams.

Whereas these funds are steep, they’re needed, and bettering security requires a county-wide effort reasonably than particular person initiatives, he stated.

“The funding that’s wanted for these enhancements is critical and it actually does must be prioritized,” Adams stated. “We have to get to a degree the place [sidewalks are] a non-negotiable.”
 
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