Montgomery Council Passes Requirement For Pedestrian, Bike Impact Statement
Measure Will Force County’s Capital Project Plans in Early Stages to Address Protection for Walkers and Riders
ROCKVILLE, July 3, 2007—The Montgomery County Council today unanimously passed a measure that will require the County’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit statements on pedestrian and bicycle impacts with certain proposed capital projects. It also would authorize the Council to require other County departments and agencies to supplement the impact statements, as necessary.
The bill specifies that the OMB must provide an impact statement for any new or modified building, road, park, school or other capital project that is proposed for development on a single unified site and is identifiable as a separate facility.
The chief sponsor of the measure was Councilmember Phil Andrews. All Councilmembers agreed to be co-sponsors.
“This bill addresses a real problem we have in this County, which is suitable pedestrian and bicycle access,” said Councilmember Andrews. “The bill requires that at the very start of planning for a capital project, pedestrian and bicycle access will be factored in. Doing it further along in the process makes it more difficult, and often, more costly.”
Andrews made a case for the need to protect pedestrians and bicyclists with statistics from Montgomery County Police that show between 2004 and 2006, there were 1,283 traffic accidents involving pedestrians and 296 involving bicyclists in the County. In those accidents, 41 pedestrians and four bicyclists were killed. The number of accidents involving bicyclists increased 35.6 percent from 2005 to 2006 (87 to 118).
“We need to protect the people who are most vulnerable in these accidents—the ones walking and riding bicyclists,” said Councilmember Andrews. “We can take a major step to do that by addressing safety measures early in the planning process of new projects.”