County Planning Board To Hold Veirs Mill Corridor Work Session Thursday

County Planning Board To Hold Veirs Mill Corridor Work Session Thursday

Proposed changes to master plan include installation of pedestrian crossings

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The Montgomery County Planning Board will hold its fifth work session Thursday about its master plan for the Veirs Mill corridor in Rockville.

The board intends to discuss pedestrian, bicycle and transit recommendations for the corridor, which align with the county’s Vision Zero plan. The work session will be held during the Planning Board’s regularly scheduled meeting, beginning at 9 a.m. at its headquarters in Silver Spring. The work session is expected to begin at 9:50 a.m. and last approximately 1.5 hours.

The Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan covers an area of 4 miles from Wheaton to Rockville and hinges on increasing pedestrian and bicycle accessibility as well as considering neighborhood access to anticipated bus rapid transit (BRT) stations.

BRT stations were identified by the state Department of Transportation as a solution for traffic congestion along the corridor by increasing transit reliability for low-income populations. The bus-based transit system spans 6.7 miles from the Rockville Metro Station to the Wheaton Metrorail Station, and functions like a “surface subway,” according to the Corridor Study Report.

According to the staff report posted before the meeting, Planning Department staff members will recommend revisions to various sections of the master plan, including the addition of pedestrian crossings at several existing bus stops and future transit stops.

“The master plan’s transportation recommendations seek to increase safety for all road users and prioritize improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users,” the report says.

The Matthew Henson Trail crossing of Veirs Mill Road is listed as the highest priority protected crossing in the master plan, and staff suggests installing a full traffic signal at the intersection.

The report also suggests installing pedestrian lighting to improve visibility at the crosswalk.

Protected crossings are designed to improve pedestrian safety by installing features such as traffic signals, medians and raised or textured crosswalks to increase pedestrian visibility.

Six additional intersections are recommended to install protected pedestrian crossings featuring traffic signals, pedestrian beacons and possibly red-light cameras. The intersections listed are: Veirs Mill Road and Andrew Street, Veirs Mill Road and Norris Drive, Veirs Mill Road and Arbutus Avenue, Veirs Mill Road and Pendleton Drive, Twinbrook Parkway and Halpine Road, and Twinbrook Parkway and Vandegrift Avenue.

How the corridor is designed now leaves up to 3,000 feet—a 10-minute walk—between pedestrian crossings of Veirs Mill Road, which is a key concern that staff hopes to address.

The Planning Board staff also proposes adding language to the master plan to suggest future design studies should relocate the proposed BRT station from Parkland Drive to Robindale Drive.

The board’s next work session for the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 8, with another Nov. 15.

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