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Suburban Maryland Streets Need Pedestrian Improvements for Purple Line Riders

Montgomery County planners recommend the implementation of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes on streets within a half-mile radius of Purple Line light-rail stations.
July 19, 2020, 5am PDT | Lee Flannery | @leecflannery
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Purple Line Extension
Maryland Transit Administration

According to a new study conducted by planners in Montgomery County, Maryland, suburban streets surrounding Purple Line stations need improved sidewalks and crosswalks to allow safer access for pedestrians. Purple Line riders are expected to access the train primarily on foot as the stations are designed to utilize only existing parking infrastructure. "With most Purple Line passengers expected to reach stations by walking, in addition to bus, making surrounding roads more comfortable for pedestrians will be key to their safety and willingness to use the new light-rail system," reports Katherine Shaver. 

Within a half-mile radius of the ten Purple Line stations in the county, planners found that most streets have too narrow or no sidewalks as well as a similar lack of marked crosswalks. Shaver says the planners recommend a speed reduction from 30-40 mph to 25 mph within the half-mile radius from stations. Improving the pedestrian-friendliness of the streets in the car-dominated suburbs will include widening sidewalks, adding bike lanes, increasing visibility of crosswalks, and landscaping to create a buffer between cars and pedestrians. Shaver says "planners recommend prioritizing improvements in communities with lower household incomes and more minority residents because they have some of the most dangerous walking conditions and have been underserved historically."

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Published on Saturday, June 27, 2020 in The Washington Post
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