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Op-Ed: An 18-Lane Street Is Too Complete

Rockville, Maryland has plans to create a king-sized complete street along Rockville Pike, incorporating lanes for cars, bikes, buses, and more space for landscaping. But can a street like that still serve pedestrians?
April 3, 2016, 7am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Rockville Pike is a high-traffic thoroughfare and a prime candidate for complete streets upgrades. But Dan Malouff sees trouble in the city's current plan to build a mega-complete street with "12 car lanes, 4 bike lanes, 2 bus lanes, and over 50 feet of landscaping."

From the article: "At first glance, this plan has all the components of a good complete street design: Tree-lined sidwalks, protected bikeways, a center-running dedicated busway. Every mode gets all the street width it could possibly want." Except, Malouff argues, the very pedestrians complete streets are supposed to prioritize. 

By over-delivering on the accessories to walkability, the Rockville Pike plan may undermine its original intent. "Transit oriented development doesn't work unless it's walkable. If Rockville Pike is too wide, development on one side of the street will be effectively cut-off from development on the other side. Riders won't be able to easily access the BRT stations. People will drive for even short trips. The concept of a community where people don't need to drive everywhere will break down."

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Published on Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Greater Greater Washington
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