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Press Releases - County Council

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Measure Will Increase Pedestrian Safety

Rockville, MD, February 15, 2022 — Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed the Shovel Our Sidewalks Act, legislation sponsored by Council Vice President Evan Glass that requires the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to clear snow from 40 miles of sidewalks in the county’s Equity Emphasis Areas. Equity Emphasis Areas are small geographic areas with higher levels of transit-dependent communities and communities with significantly lower-income residents. This legislation was cosponsored by Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Sidney Katz, Tom Hucker and Nancy Navarro.

Many of our front-line essential workers, who depend on public transportation, are forced to walk along dangerous, snow-covered sidewalks to get to their bus stop –  while so many others are able to get into their cars or even work from home. The Shovel Our Sidewalks Act is just one tool in our toolbox to ensure that pedestrians can safely get to where they need to go – this includes ensuring clear sidewalks for those on wheelchairs or parents with strollers. 

During winter storms, many individuals in these transit-dependent communities are reliant on walking to bus stops, often maneuvering around sidewalks that are covered in snow mounds, forcing them to walk on roads. 

“It’s no coincidence that our lower income communities also have higher rates of pedestrians and transit ridership, which requires residents to navigate dangerous snow covered sidewalks while walking to their bus stop,” Council Vice President Evan Glass said. “By taking a more active role in sidewalk snow removal, we will increase pedestrian safety and be one step closer to achieving our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2030.” 

Sidewalks covered in snow piles often remain an obstacle until it melts. On paths located directly next to the roadway, which are commonplace in older and denser areas of the county, piles of snow create a significant safety issue because they force pedestrians to walk in the road, which is extremely hazardous on busier roads, including Georgia Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue, Briggs Chaney Road, Randolph Road, Veirs Mill Road and Middlebrook Road. 

In 2021, there were 10 pedestrian deaths and 480 non-fatal incidents in the county. As part of ongoing efforts to address pedestrian and street safety, Vice President Glass recently hosted a Vision Zero rally that was attended by residents and safety activists advocating for safer streets.  In the first month and a half of 2022, Montgomery County has already experienced two winter weather events that left more than four inches of snow in some areas of the county, which impacted residents ability to safely walk on sidewalks and access bus stops.

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Release ID: 22-074
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza 240-527-6198
Categories: Evan Glass