A city project to design streets for all walks—and rides—of life will receive $827,200 in federal aid, U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. announced Thursday.
The Complete Streets Project will use federal funds to improve pedestrian crossings on roads near the Twinbrook Metro station and to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to the Rockville Metro station.
“Rockville serves as the county seat, has become a regional entertainment and retail destination, and is surrounded by many large federal facilities—all of which contribute to a swell in daytime traffic that is a challenge for a city of its size,” Van Hollen (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington said in a statement on his congressional office’s Web site. “Safe and well-connected pedestrian transportation networks improve livability, safety, and efficiency, and I am very pleased that these funds will directly benefit the residents, businesses, and visitors of Rockville and Montgomery County.”
The Rockville City Council adopted a Complete Streets Policy in July 2009 that “requires city streets be routinely designed, operated, and upgraded to enable safe access for all users,” according to a city news release.
The policy was the result of “a major study done to give ideas how to make streets safe for pedestrians and bring streets up to speed,” Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said.
“[The federal funding] is tremendously valuable to us, because we couldn’t have nearly done what we had hoped to do from that study without the federal funds,” she said.
The City of Rockville has long been friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists, but hasn’t always had the budget to provide infrastructure to improve safety for those groups, Marcuccio said.
To date, 352 regional and local jurisdictions, 26 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have adopted policies or committed to doing so, according to the National Complete Streets Coalition Web site.
Rockville was the 100th local government to adopt the Complete Streets approach, former Councilman John Britton wrote in the July 2011 Rockville Reports.
“There are significant benefits to a pedestrian- and bicycle-oriented community: improved environment; enhanced public health (walking is anti-obesity); and sensitivity to the safety of our older residents, a particularly important factor as our population ages,” Britton wrote.
In May 2011, the city named a Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator. Matthew Folden, a transportation planner in the city’s Department of Public Works, serves as a liaison to the Rockville Bike Advisory Committee and the city’s Traffic and Transportation Commission.
The RBAC and TTC developed the Complete Streets Policy after hearing community input.
The latest Complete Streets Projects are aimed at encouraging transit use through better pedestrian and bicycle access.
“Get ‘em off the streets if we can and into the buses and the Metro,” Marcuccio said. “It isn’t going to be easy, but you continue to move in that direction.”
Click here to read the city’s Complete Streets Policy.
Click here to read more about street projects around the country through the National Complete Streets Coalition.