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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 3, 2019

About a hundred Montgomery County families showed up for Cycling in the Circle at Warner Circle Park in Kensington last Sunday to give some of our littlest residents a chance to navigate MCDOT’s first pop-up “traffic garden.” A traffic garden is a miniature network of city streets that is designed as a safe practice environment for children to learn the rules of the road and how to bike and walk safely. The scenic child-sized street plan that encircled the historic Warner home included a traffic circle, intersections and a railroad crossing, all marked with pint-sized traffic signs and signals.

“We were initially approached to support this event with information and bike maps,” said MCDOT Division of Transportation Engineering Bikeways Coordinator Patricia Shepherd, who managed MCDOT’s involvement. “But when I saw this beautiful site, I knew we had to take advantage of it to create a traffic garden. They are such powerful learning environments for kids.”

Shepherd developed the Kensington traffic garden with the assistance of Fionnuala Quinn, director of Discover Traffic Gardens, and Rob Goodill and Mary Butcher of Torti Gallas + Partners on the layout and installation. Kensington resident and event organizer Katherine Wood kept a close eye on the chalk installation overnight on Saturday, lest rain wash away the miniature street markings and necessitate a hasty re-creation at dawn. But the day dawned dry and beautiful, and families poured into the park to discover a wide array of activities.

In addition to the traffic garden, children experienced Montgomery Parks’ “pump track,” a small, looping trail system with banked turns that require momentum to master. There were bike skills classes, helmet and bike safety checks, and bike map and pedestrian safety giveaways. Finally, a “traffic jam” area offered children a chance to navigate a tabletop streetscape from the perspective of all modalities— people who bike, walk, and drive as well as people with disabilities and people who take the bus. Children took home miniature traffic garden kits to build their own paper roadways at home.

While the temporary Kensington traffic garden was designed in chalk paint for the purposes of Sunday’s event, MCDOT is hoping to find a site to develop a permanent traffic garden for the children of Montgomery County to visit with their school classmates or families.

Organized by Friends of Warner Circle, the Cycling in the Circle event was offered to help kick off a summer of safe cycling. The event also supported Montgomery County’s Vision Zero Two-Year Action Plan through on-bike education to teach bike safety skills to elementary school children.

Sponsors and participants, Cycling in the Circle event. Traffic garden sponsored by MCDOT. 

Children on scooters at the MCDOT traffic garden in Kensington

Photos by Tony Ventouris for Montgomery Parks

Release ID: 19-108
Media Contact: Maureen McNulty 240-777-7199

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people using various transportation modes people using various transportation modes