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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Approves the Pedestrian Master Plan

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The plan is Montgomery Planning’s first comprehensive vision to improve the pedestrian experience in Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Council voted today to approve the Pedestrian Master Plan, which is Montgomery Planning’s first comprehensive vision to improve accessibility and create safer, more comfortable experiences for people walking and rolling around the County. 

“As chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee, meeting our Vision Zero goals and creating safer, more walkable, bikeable and accessible streets are top priorities for me,” said Council President Evan Glass. “The passage of the Pedestrian Master Plan and the recent enactment of the Safe Streets Act bring us closer to our goals of making our streets safer for everyone. I’m proud of the steps we are taking to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety, and I look forward to the implementation of the various recommendations laid out in this plan. Additionally, I want to thank the Montgomery Planning Board and staff for their work on this holistic pedestrian and bicyclist plan.” 

The Pedestrian Master Plan will support the goals outlined in Montgomery County’s 2017 Vision Zero Action Plan and Thrive Montgomery 2050 to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries. 

With more than 30 pedestrians and cyclist fatalities combined in 2022 and to date in 2023 and 945 injuries, the Pedestrian Master Plan is an essential guiding document to create safer, accessible and more convenient connections for resident who walk, bike or roll in the County.

“One of the primary duties of government is to keep our residents safe,” said Councilmember Marilyn Balcombe, who serves on the Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee. “The Pedestrian Master Plan is integral to ensuring the safety and comfort of pedestrians and cyclists as we continue to increase our non-auto transportation options. Achieving our Vision Zero goals is a top priority for the County, and having this plan in our toolbox will help us get there.” 

The plan recommends policies, programs and procedures in line with nationally and internationally recognized best practices that promote safer, more comfortable, more convenient and more accessible experiences for pedestrians of all ages and abilities. The plan contains dozens of recommendations and over a hundred key actions to implement them. Some of which include building new sidewalks, improving and expanding protected crossings, plus recommendations for maintaining existing sidewalks and pathways, and making the pedestrian system more accessible.

“This groundbreaking plan highlights stark disparities in transportation infrastructure that exist between different regions of our County, and clearly prioritizes how we should improve the safety of everyone walking, riding or rolling,” said Councilmember Kate Stewart, who serves on the TE Committee. “With pedestrian deaths at a 30-year high, it is imperative to act on pedestrian and cyclist safety to improve our residents’ health, our County’s economic development and our ability to meet our climate goals in time. This plan will increase connectivity to public transit and add safer routes to favorite destinations countywide. I appreciate the extensive work of Planning staff and transportation advocates to make this plan an excellent guiding document for current and future generations of County residents.”

“Achieving livable, walkable, accessible communities requires that they be safely livable, safely walkable and safely accessible,” said Council Vice President Andrew Friedson. “This Pedestrian Master Plan is a significant step forward towards changing culture and transportation policies to achieve safer roadways and more vibrant communities that serve the modern needs of our diverse community.”

The recommendations outlined in the plan also aim to increase walking, build a connected pedestrian network and improve pedestrian safety, all through an equity lens.

“The adoption of the Pedestrian Master Plan is an important milestone for our County that will improve the experience of our pedestrians, those who use mobility devices and bikers," Councilmember Gabe Albornoz said. "While we put a priority on safety and improving the pedestrian experience, I will continue to encourage comprehensive, collaborative reviews. We must be thoughtful as we consider the various plans that guide street and sidewalk design and ensure we engage all our stakeholders in the decision-making.”

“This plan is the blueprint for making Montgomery County healthier and safer, while increasing our economic competitiveness,” said Councilmember Natali Fani-González. “Employers and employees are looking for livable and connected communities, and this plan will help us continue building the future we want.”

“This plan is another important step in creating the walkable and safe communities that residents want and deserve,” said Councilmember Dawn Luedtke. “As a mother of four kids in a neighborhood without sidewalks, I understand the need to prioritize the safety of pedestrians in how we plan. The Pedestrian Master Plan lays the foundation for that work to continue in a comprehensive, countywide manner. I’m thankful to Planning staff, the Planning Board and my Council colleagues for their work and for the many residents who contributed.”

Montgomery Planning will track progress on the implementation of the plan’s recommendations using a biennial monitoring report and interactive website. The tools will document how the County is implementing the plan’s recommendations and assess how the County is achieving the plan’s performance measure targets. 

More information can be found in the staff report and the Planning Board resource page can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 23-329
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926, Genevieve Kurtz 240-777-7805