Thursday, August 23, 2018

How Did This Traffic Light Slip Under My Radar?

When I took these couple of photos on July 25th, I kind of figured out that the bus stops located on either side of Old Columbia Pike were getting platforms and probably lighting.

I did not come to understand, until today, that a full-blown traffic light was getting installed.  Living less than a 1/4 mile from this "new" traffic pattern, I'm shocked that I had no previous knowledge of the plans.  In my experience with any of the DOTs in the region, getting a request to completion usually takes a mound of paperwork and years of persistence.    I have no opinion on the light location itself, as it wasn't even something I considered on this section of road. 

I can't believe that the neighborhood, community, and regional interest groups were not involved in the development of the design for this traffic light.   As you can see from the first photo above, the southbound shoulder is now blocked by a raised bus platform.   This is great for people waiting at the stop, but now bicyclists must move out in to traffic at this intersection.   If the design was put forth for public comment, I certainly would have asked for the platform to be moved back off the shoulder to leave room for bicyclists, especially during commute hours. 

Finally, I'd like to know why this light became necessary.   At the trail crossing of the Matthew Henson trail at Viers Mill Road, multiple people were killed and yet it still took a strong, active community quite some time to persuade SHA to move forward with a better crossing option.  Newspaper articles were widely written, advocacy letters distributed, but that was not the case with this traffic light.   
( So what was the justification for this light?   Who requested it, and what community backed it up?   Why did it get installed without local community input? 

I would like to see documented and consistent processes in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.  Transparency will lead to better ideas and community involvement. 

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