2014 | News

Urban Road Code Bill Returning, Disagreements Remain

share this

A bill that could limit the width of streets and set lower speed limits in urban areas will again go before the County Council despite ongoing disagreement with the county’s Department of Transportation.

Bill 33-13 was introduced by Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer in December 2013 with the idea of creating a more pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly road code for urban and redeveloping areas such as White Flint.

The bill as first introduced would limit the width of travel lanes and many turning lanes to 10 feet in urban areas. Each parking lane on an urban road would be limited to eight feet. Target speeds, which are typically the same as the posted speed limit, would be reduced to 25 miles per hour.

Berliner and Riemer eventually pulled the bill from consideration to engage in a working group with MCDOT officials, some who said decreasing road widths and curb radii could provide less access for emergency service vehicles and buses.

Last week, at a meeting of the Friends of White Flint group, Riemer said he wasn’t sure “that things got hammered out,” with MCDOT officials in working group discussions.

“We’re going to drag it back out of it’s state of negotiation and disagreement between policymakers,” Riemer said.

Berliner Chief of Staff Cindy Gibson said Berliner hopes for approval of the bill before the end of the year and the end of the current Council term.

The bill has most of its support from pedestrian safety activists, transit boosters and White Flint developers. One such developer, Federal Realty, has been pushing for modifications to the county’s design for Old Georgetown Road, which runs along the company’s Pike & Rose project.