In December of last year, the State Highway Administration held a workshop with community members and the county department of transportation (MCDOT) to discuss possible short-term safety fixes for MD 198.
At the end of the meeting, the representatives from SHA indicated that they would evaluate the community's suggestions and determine which they could implement. After not receiving a response for several months, fix198now co-founder Brian Anleu followed up with SHA to ask about their process on the evaluations.
Two weeks ago (and 8 months after the workshop) SHA replied with a response to each of the suggestions raised at the workshop. The email is reprinted at the end of this post.
For those of you not interested in reading the full email, a summary of the suggestions and SHA's response to each, presented in meme format, are provided below.
Of the 13 short-term safety fixes proposed by the community, SHA agreed to implement 2 and provide an alternate fix for another 2. The remaining 9 suggestions were rejected for various reasons.
The turn restrictions and changes to the roadway that SHA is planning on implementing in front of the 7-Eleven are illustrated below.
We are planning on responding to SHA's email with a few clarifying questions. Please email Sebastian and Brian at email@example.com before Wednesday, August 29 if you have suggestions for other questions to ask regarding the short-term fixes.
Here are two questions we are planning on asking the SHA:
A 2012 study by the Center for Transportation Research and Education concluded that wide edge lines have several safety benefits and no known disadvantages ("Toolbox of Countermeasures for Rural Two-Lane Curves" IHRB Project TR-579). Please explain exactly how truck traffic would be impacted if wide edge lines were implemented to create the appearance of narrower lanes, in terms of speed, vehicular throughput, and safety. Provide supporting evidence for these claims based on published studies, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidance, or other reputable sources.
According to a 2008 issue brief by the FHWA ("Toolbox of Countermeasures and Their Potential Effectiveness for Roadway Departure Crashes" FHWA-SA-07-013), the countermeasure proposed by the District 3 Traffic Team--raised pavement markings--is reported to be less effective at reducing crashes than the community's suggestions that your team ultimately decided against. Moreover, according to multiple FHWA studies, median barriers are a highly-effective countermeasure for reducing centerline crossover collisions. Opposite-direction collisions due to crossover have occurred on Segment C of MD 198, such as on June 5, 2017 when a driver crossed the double yellow line and hit an oncoming car, resulting in both drivers being taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Please either provide evidence that raised pavement markers are more effective than both centerline rumble strips and flexible posts at reducing crashes or provide justification for implementing a countermeasure that has been found to be less effective.
From: SHA D3TrafficTeam Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 4:56 PM To: Brian Anleu [Deputy Chief of Staff to Tom Hucker] Subject: Montgomery County: MD 198 Short Term Improvements
Dear Mr. Anleu:
This is in further response to your June 19, 2018 email listing potential safety improvements along the subject corridor in Montgomery County. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) District Three traffic engineering staff appreciates the opportunity to be of assistance.
Our office conducted a study which included an assessment of traffic volumes, field observations, and roadway conditions and a careful review of the most recent police-reported crash history data.
Segment C – MD 198 from MD 650 to Old Columbia Pike
Widen the edge lines on the side of the road to make the road appear narrower
According to the Maryland Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MdMUTCD), wide edge lines may be used where accident patterns or potential safety problems suggest likely benefits. Based on the crash history along the MD 198 corridor, there were no segments identified as candidates for wide edge line treatment. Our engineering staff examined one segment in further detail, the horizontal curve between Burtonsville Drive/Lions Den Road and Santini Road, which already features narrow lanes (10 to 11 feet wide) with significant truck traffic that would be impacted if wide edge lines were used to narrow the roadway. The lane widths along other segments of the corridor are similarly narrow. Therefore, installing wide edge lines along the MD 198 corridor is not recommended at this time.
Install rumble stripes (rumble strips along the centerline) to reduce crossover crashes and improve lane visibility during inclement weather
Based on concerns for noise and damage to the crown of the roadway, installation of centerline rumble stripes is not recommended for Segment C of the MD 198 corridor. Our office evaluated the use of raised pavement markers (RPMs) along the centerline of MD 198. The RPMs would be expected to improve the delineation of the roadway including visibility during inclement weather and nighttime conditions. Based on our evaluation, we will be sending a request to our MDOT SHA maintenance forces to install centerline RPMs along MD 198. A schedule for construction is not available at this time.
Install pylons, tubular markers, or “Qwick Kurbs” along the centerline to further prevent crossover crashes
Due to the potential maintenance impacts of pylons, tubular markers, or “Qwick Kurbs”, and the ongoing request for centerline RPMs, installing such raised channelizing devices is not recommended at this time.
Modify the MD 198 at Peach Orchard Road intersection to a roundabout
A roundabout was initially considered for the intersection of MD 198 at Peach Orchard Road; however, a “Maryland T” intersection design has been recommended for further study. A schedule of completion of this study is not available at this time.
Install speed feedback signs to indicate to drivers that they are speeding
Local police jurisdictions sometimes deploy portable speed feedback signs along roadways where speeding issues are prevalent. Requests for such signs should be directed to the Montgomery County Police Department.
Install portable speed cameras in front of Spencerville Adventist Academy
The Montgomery County Police Department Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit (ATEU) is responsible for the operation of the County’s Safe Speed program. The ATEU follows a process for the selection of locations for Safe Speed Cameras. Requests for speed cameras should be directed to the Montgomery County Police Department.
Install Collision Avoidance System (CAS) or an intersection conflict warning system at the intersection of MD 198 and Kruhm Road to help drivers merge to and from MD 198
After an evaluation of the intersection of MD 198 at Kruhm Road, our office has requested that our maintenance forces install an edge line extension along westbound MD 198 to better delineate where motorists from Kruhm Road may stop to improve their sight distance. This work will be performed by our maintenance force’s pavement marking contractor and will be completed in the Fall, schedule permitting. Based on crash history, observations at the intersection, and the lack of similar MDOT SHA experience with such systems, a CAS is not recommended for MD 198 at Kruhm Road.
Segment D – MD 198 from Old Columbia Pike to US 29
Narrow the lanes to slow down traffic and allow for safer turns onto MD 198
Segment D along the MD 198 corridor features narrow lanes (10 to 11 feet wide) with significant truck traffic that would be impacted if lane widths were reduced. Narrowing the travel lanes is not recommended at this time.
Install Signs that indicate reduced speeds through town
After an evaluation of speed limit and warning signs along the MD 198 corridor, our office has requested that our maintenance forces install speed reduction warning signs and additional speed limit signs along both directions of MD 198 within Segment D. This work typically takes 60 days to complete, schedule permitting.
Install warning signs that indicate “Congested Area Ahead” so that drivers are more aware of turning vehicles and a slower traffic pattern
Based on roadway characteristics and the request for additional speed reduction and speed limit signs, additional warning signs for “Congested Area Ahead” are not recommended at this time.
Install a traffic light at the east entrance to Burtonsville Elementary School on MD 198 (between the barbershop and automotive repair shop)
MDOT SHA follows the nationally accepted Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) as a guideline to determine when and where traffic control devices should be installed. These guidelines are nationwide in scope, and are endorsed by the Federal HighwayAdministration. As a highway operations agency, MDOT SHA assumes an obligation to follow these guidelines. Based on field observations at the driveway, the low volumes entering and exiting the school during the peak periods, and the characteristics of the driveway, the installation of a traffic signal is not recommended at this time.
Extend the sidewalk from US 29 to McKnew Road on the south side of MD 198
MD 198 from US 29 to McKnew Road is located within Segment E of the MD 198 corridor. A shared-use path along the south side of MD 198 has been proposed for this segment as part of the MD 28/MD 198 Corridor Improvement Study.
Restrict left-turns and U-turns at the 7-Eleven and Burtonsville Town Square entrance, and/or extend the median at the intersection of MD 198 and US 29 to prevent left-turns out of the easternmost entrance to the 7-Eleven
After an evaluation of turning movements and driving behaviors along this segment, we have asked our MDOT SHA District Three Engineering Systems Team (EST) to remove the painted median and install a raised plastic median with tubular markers to accommodate a westbound left-turn lane. Along with the channelizing devices, a “No Left Turns” sign would be posted to restrict left turns from the easternmost driveway from 7-Eleven. Based on our review of the Burtonsville Town Square/7-Eleven access, turn restrictions at that intersection are not recommended at this time.
Thank you again for sharing your concerns. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly at 301-513-7498 or my Team Leader, Mr. Robert Owolabi, at 301-513-7326 or 1-800-749-0737. We will be happy to assist you.
Derek L. Gunn, P.E.
Assistant District Engineer for Traffic, Montgomery County