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Press Releases - Department of Transportation

MCDOT Launches ‘Shared Streets’ Initiative to Support Safe Outdoor Activity and Speed Economic Recovery

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 29, 2020

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has launched its new “Shared Streets” program to support safe, physically distanced activity as the County enters Phase I of recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis. The initiative will involve looking for temporary ways to modify existing uses of County sidewalks, roads, on-street parking and parking lots to provide extra space residents and businesses could use to comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spacing guidelines.

More information can be found at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT/sharedstreets

“I have directed our planners and engineers to think creatively about how we can adjust the use of our streets, sidewalks and parking facilities to best serve today’s needs,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Safe and accessible public spaces are a critical aspect of community health and vibrancy. MCDOT understands that our public rights of way are a key resource for residents and businesses and that the best use of those spaces may shift under changing circumstances. We are launching the Shared Streets initiative to aid the County’s recovery.”

Under Shared Streets, MCDOT will be testing temporary changes to rights of way and public spaces that could include closing one lane or more to support recreation, using on-street parking for retail or dining activity or opening parking lots for food hall activity. Shared Streets will be one part of the County’s overall initiative to support outdoor dining, with more information to come soon with a dedicated website for all government-related resources.

Working with community and government partners, MCDOT will continue to identify priority locations for retail pick up, outdoor restaurant space and social activity, as well as locations where pedestrian volumes are likely to be high and pedestrian space is limited.

One example is underway in Bethesda where the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) intends to close a portion of Woodmont Avenue (Bethesda Avenue to Elm Street) and a portion of Norfolk Avenue (Fairmont to Del Ray). MCDOT has been assisting BUP with the plans. The date of when the closures will be implemented, and the duration of that plan, have not yet been determined.

MCDOT has already implemented some Shared Street changes during the most restrictive phase of social distancing. They include curbside pick-up zones for restaurants and businesses and weekend closures to vehicles on Arlington Road to extend Montgomery Parks’ Little Falls Parkway closure to downtown Bethesda.

Other changes will be coming soon across the County. Locations may shift over time because of available resources and changing needs.

MCDOT is soliciting ideas and feedback from residents, business organizations, advocacy groups and others through two online surveys. One is a survey for residents. The other is a survey for owners of businesses.

Specific suggestions or questions also can be sent by email to MCDOT.SharedStreets@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter or go to the department website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot.

For the latest updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCOMD.  

Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD.


Release ID: 20-107
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389

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