Wednesday, June 19, 2013

National Bike to School Day Shatters Previous Participation Mark

From all 50 states and the District of Columbia, tens of thousands of school children across the country biked to school throughout the month of May as part of the second annual National Bike to School Day.  In all, 1,705 schools registered Bike to School Day events—80 percent more than the inaugural national event in 2012—setting a new National Bike to School Day record.

Montgomery County schools participated in the second annual event.  Bike to School Day at
Bike to School Day activities at Piney Branch Elementary School
Piney Branch Elementary School was one of several Bike Month events in Takoma Park.  Over 150 students rode bikes or scooters to school on May 22.  Students from two third grade classes acted as Bike Safety Ambassadors. They created and distributed promotional materials, helped with helmet fitting and organized the bike valet parking. Safe Kids provided helmets for distribution to students in need. 

“In March, Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute told the National Bike Summit that societal trends are favoring bicycling, that at this moment there is a tremendous bicycle wave rolling through America,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which coordinates National Bike to School Day. “If the success of our second annual Bike to School Day is any indication, I’d say Mr. Katz is on to something.”
For more information, see the National Center for Safe Routes to School's website.  Also see MCDOT's Safe Routes to School website for more tips on safe walking and biking to county schools.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Public Education Meetings Held on Bikeshare Program Coming to County

Photo of bikeshare bike
Photo of a Bikeshare bike

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) hosted three public meetings in June on the extension of the Capital Bikeshare program into Montgomery County. Bikesharing allows travelers to rent a bike from on-street stations and drop it off at other stations within the bikeshare network.

The following meetings focused on selected urban centers of Montgomery County where bikesharing stations will be installed in late summer 2013. However, information on bikesharing throughout the County was also available at each meeting. 

  • Bikeshare in Bethesda and Friendship Heights: June 24, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., 2nd Floor 

  • Bikeshare in Silver Spring and Takoma Park: June 25, Fire Station 1, 8110 Georgia Avenue, 3rd Floor, Silver Spring; and

  • Bikeshare in Rockville, Shady Grove and the Life Sciences Center: June 26, Executive Office Building Lobby Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.
For more information on Bikeshare in Montgomery County, visit the new Bikeshare website at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Montgomery County Implements "Tired Faces" Campaign: Warns Motorists, Pedestrians and Bicyclists to Exercise Caution

Pedestrians Don't Come with Airbags...Yield to Pedestrians When Turning
Dramatic Ads Offer Safety Tips, Promote Increased Traffic Safety Vigilance
Like millions of others in the area, most days Stephen Grasty walks walks several blocks a day-to work, to a Metro stop, to a friend's house. Though he has had his share of close calls, he has never been hit by a car and he would like to keep it that way. Stephen's face-- symbolically blemished by a tire tread-- will soon be appearing in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' new public awareness for safety campaign urging drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to look out for each other. 

The Penalties for Jaywalking VaryThe StreetSmart campaign offers safety tips to prevent pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and injuries in the DC metro area. The campaign began the second week of April in the wake of recent pedestrian crashes that left a 71 year old woman dead in the 1100 block of Florida Avenue and at least 12 other pedestrians in crashes in the Washington metropolitan region in 2013 to date. "Most people do not stop to think how vulnerable pedestrians are on our streets and sidewalks," said District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray. "But the reality is that we must protect pedestrians from cars and other vehicles, because when they collide with a pedestrian, the pedestrian never wins."
StreetSmart RideOn Bus Advertisement

The "tired faces" visuals call attention to the dangers confronting pedestrians and bicyclists with the larger than life faces of area residents on ads on buses and in transit shelters in the District, Virginia, and Maryland. In Montgomery County, the bilingual ads were placed in 80 transit shelters and on 72 buses, including two "King Kong" full bus ads. State and local officials want drivers to actively watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially when turning. They also are reminding bicyclists to ride with traffic and stop at red lights and urging pedestrians to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal before crossing the street. In 2012, preliminary data indicates that there were 3,033 crashes in the D.C. metropolitan region involving pedestrians and bicyclists, which resulted in 70 fatalities. On average, pedestrians and bicyclists account for 30 of all traffic fatalities in the Washington region. 

During the StreetSmart campaign, which ran through May 13, law enforcement officers in Montgomery County 
were watching for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists who violated traffic safety laws. Drivers and cyclists who failed to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, as well as pedestrians who jaywalked could face fines that range from $50 to $500. Drivers are also subject to getting points on their driver records. 

As part of the Spring StreetSmart campaign, three Safety Zone events were held in Montgomery County to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Events in Montgomery County were held at the following times/locations:

Tuesday, 4/16 from 4:00 to 6:00pm with WIAD 94.7 Fresh FM:
Wheaton Safety Zone Event
Hillandale Shopping Center at New Hampshire Ave. and Powder Mill Rd., Hillandale, MD

Wednesday, 4/17 from 4:00 to 6:00pm  with WPGC 95.5:
Near Starbucks at Market St. and Center Point Way in Kentlands Shopping Center, Gaithersburg, MD

Wednesday, 4/24 from 4:00 to 6:00pm with WLZL 107.9 El Zol:
Wheaton Triangle at Reedie Dr. & Georgia Ave., Wheaton-Glenmont, MD

Pedestrians were reminded to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal, while divers were reminded to slow down and watch for pedestrians. Learn more about the Street Smart campaign at Also, see Montgomery County's Pedestrian Safety Coordinator, Jeff Dunckel, interviewed about the campaign on NBC's "Viewpoint" and Montgomery al Día.  Click here to hear Mr. Dunckel's interview on WPGC's "Community Focus" radio show.  

Information on the new campaign and the StreetSmart public education program can be found at

StreetSmart Press Release in Spanish 
Jurisdicational Fact Sheet 
StreetSmart Campaign Quick Fact Sheet   

Univision Interviewing Montgomery County Pedestrian Safety Coordinator, Jeff Dunckel, about the new StreetSmart campaign
Univision interviewing Montgomery County Pedestrian Safety Coordinator Jeff Dunckel about the new StreetSmart campaign
News Articles about the StreetSmart Campaign 
The Washington Times 
News Channel 8's "NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt"
WFDC-TV (Univision) 
WTTG-TV (Fox) 
WTOP Radio
Fairfax Daily Monitor 
Washington Post 1 
Clarendon Patch 
Alexandria News 
The Gazette  
Montgomery County Sentinel 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Montgomery al Día Radio Show Focuses on Pedestrian Safety

Montgomery al Dia
Montgomery Al Día Radio Show

Lorna Virgilí hosts "Montgomery al Día", Montgomery County's Spanish language live Radio Show on Radio América 1540 AM, Tuesdays at 2pm. On this show, she speaks with Jeff Dunckel, Pedestrian Safety Coordinator, from the Department of Transportation. The show addresses pedestrian safety issues around the County, including the recent uptick in pedestrian collisions and fatalities and how residents can stay safe when walking.  To see the episode, click here

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Montgomery County Police Focus Enforcement Efforts on Pedestrian Safety

Montgomery County Police are issuing tickets to pedestrians and drivers who break the law
Montgomery County Police are issuing tickets to pedestrians and drivers who break the law

During the months of April, May, and June, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) focused enforcement efforts on pedestrian safety. MCPD has been conducting a number of operations at locations with marked crosswalks and areas that have been identified as pedestrian High Incidence Areas (HIAs) -- those with more pedestrian collisions. Police issued citations to both drivers and pedestrians who are breaking the law.  To date, Police have issued over 2,000 citations to pedestrians for crossing mid-block or against the pedestrian signal, and over 350 citations to drivers for not yielding to pedestrians. 
Particular attention has been paid to the following HIAs:
  • Colesville Road between Fenton Street and Noyes Drive (Silver Spring)
  • Connecticut Avenue between Independence Street and Georgia Avenue (Aspen Hill)
  • Four Corners (Silver Spring)
  • Piney Branch Road between Flower Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue (Silver Spring)
  • Randolph Road between Selfridge Road and Colie Drive (Wheaton)
  • Rockville Pike between Halpine Drive and Hubbard Road (Rockville)
In addition to these HIAs, MCPD have focused pedestrian enforcement actions on other crosswalk locations around the County where driver compliance with pedestrian safety laws has been an issue, including:
  • Veirs Mill Road at Turkey Branch Parkway (Aspen Hill)
  • Bel Pre Road between Georgia Avenue and Layhill Road (Aspen Hill)
  • Democracy Boulevard between Old Georgetown Road and Bells Mill Road (Bethesda)
  • Arlington Road between Elm Street and Old Georgetown Road (Bethesda)
  • Muddy Branch Road between Suffield Drive and Diamondback Drive (Gaithersburg)
  • Aircraft Drive between Century Boulevard and Germantown Road at the Germantown Transit Center (Germantown)
  • Middlebrook Road at Great Seneca Highway (Germantown)
  • Lost Knife Road between Odendhal Ave and Contour Rd at the Lake Forest Transit Center (Montgomery Village)
  • Wooton Parkway near Wooton High School (Rockville)
  • Spring Street at First Avenue (Silver Spring)
  • University Boulevard at Reedie Drive (Wheaton - Glenmont)
  • Randolph Road at Livingston Street (Wheaton – Glenmont)
  • Randolph Road at Bluhill Road (Wheaton – Glenmont)
In Montgomery County, more than 400 pedestrians are struck by vehicles each year. Many of these collisions could be avoided if drivers and pedestrians obeyed the law and were more aware.
The Montgomery County Police Department takes a proactive approach to ensuring the safety of pedestrians. The department’s Traffic Unit routinely conducts pedestrian safety operations throughout the County to enforce traffic laws. The SafeSpeed and red light camera programs serve to improve the safety of pedestrians by slowing down traffic and reducing the number of vehicles running red lights.  
Drivers and pedestrians have equal responsibilities in reducing pedestrian-involved collisions. Drivers should take extra caution when approaching crosswalks. Look for pedestrians near the crosswalk and prepare to yield when they enter the crosswalk. When driving in a residential area, or near a school zone, scan ahead for pedestrian traffic, especially for children, who may suddenly run out into the roadway. Extra caution should apply in the evening hours. Pedestrians should always use designated crosswalks when crossing a busy roadway. Assume that drivers can’t see you until you have made eye contact. Once in the crosswalk continue to scan for traffic in each lane of traffic. When in doubt, yield to vehicle traffic -- pedestrians are the ones who are injured in a collision.

To view the Transportation Update on the enforcement efforts, click here

View MCPD press releases on these efforts:

To see press articles on the pedestrian enforcement efforts, click below:
To see more pedestrian and driver Safety Tips, visit MCDOT's Pedestrian Safety website. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Webinar Features Montgomery County's Pedestrian Safety Program

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership in the Greater Washington region hosted a webinar on June 5 about Montgomery County’s approach to improving pedestrian safety. Speakers shared data detailing the results of the program and discussed engineering, education and enforcement efforts that are reducing the severity of pedestrian collisions and the number of collisions in targeted, high risk areas. 

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett released a strategic plan in December 2007 to improve pedestrian safety that uses a multifaceted approach. Speakers discussed the use of data to guide program priorities; the role of road audits and targeted infrastructure improvements; pairing education with engineering and enforcement; successes in the Safe Routes to School program; and the integral role of law enforcement. 

The Safe Routes to School Greater Washington region is a partnership of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Click below to view the Webinar:

Montgomery County Pedestrian Safety Webinar

Monday, June 3, 2013

Montgomery County Council Supports Pedestrian and Bike Safety Efforts in Approved FY 2014 Budget

On May 23, the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a $4.8 billion County total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014. The budget, which reflects a 4.1 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2013, “continues to invest in our economic and social infrastructure,” said Council President Nancy Navarro. 

Included in the budget are several items that will improve pedestrian and bike safety throughout the County, including:
  •         Approved additional  $250,000 for bikeway/bike lane marking and bike trail maintenance
  •         Approved additional  $200,000 for traffic signal optimization
  •         Approved additional $50,000 for pedestrian safety education program on parking lot safety
  •         Approved additional  $100,000 to develop a pedestrian safety education program for Montgomery County High Schools

The County’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) saw approval of several adjustments for Fiscal Years 2013-18that  included pedestrian-oriented projects.  The Council accelerated more than $17 million for street resurfacing and sidewalk repairs.  The Council also kept on track funding for the Capital Crescent Trail and Bethesda South Entrance.

The FY14 operating budget, and adjustments to the Fiscal Years 2013-18 six-year Capital Improvements Program, will go into effect on July 1. For more information on the Budget, click here.