Draft Complete Streets Design Guide Released in Montgomery County

The draft new Montgomery County Complete Streets design guide is a key tool for achieving the goals set out by the county's Vision Zero Action Plan.

2 minute read

June 3, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Pedestrians and Walkable Street

Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock

Montgomery County, Maryland recently released the draft Montgomery County Complete Streets design guide ahead of a public review process expected to culminate before the County Council in January 2021.

"Complete Streets are roadways that are designed and operated to provide safe, accessible, and healthy travel for all users of the roadway system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists," according to the Montgomery Planning website that shares the draft. 

According to the website, the Design Guide is designed to offer flexibility to the various communities in the county while adhering to three principles: safety, sustainability, and vitality. The Complete Streets Design Guide is intended to further the county's Vision Zero goals to reduce traffic fatalities.

Given the current debate about the centering of equity in transportation planning and the need for planners to address the lack of safety for people of color while traveling on every available mode of transportation, I did a quick search and found only two uses of the word equity—both times mentioning that traffic collisions disproportionately affect people of color, but in neither case offering any specifics about how the deployment of complete streets principles for the Vision Zero agenda would address disparities in traffic safety or access to mobility.

The history of planning in Montgomery County is fraught with criticisms of discriminatory practices, but some local officials and advocates have been moving the needle toward equity in recent months. 

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