County and State Highway discuss short-term safety fixes for 198 with community
December 15, 2017
Last night at the Marilyn J. Praisner Library, the East County Citizens Advisory Board (ECCAB) Quality of Life/Social Issues Committee hosted a meeting with Montgomery County Police (MCPD), Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) District 3 Office.
Above: Meeting at Praisner Library. Clockwise from left foreground: Peter Myo Khin, Dan Kugler, Derek Gunn, Jewru Bandeh (standing in background), Andrew Bossi, Chris Conklin, Donna Dunn, and several community stakeholders. Photo by Brian Anleu used with permission.
The District 3 Office is responsible for short-term improvements to 198, such as traffic signals, pothole repairs and of course the repaving that was done earlier this year.
Jewru Bandeh, East County Regional Services Director
Peter Myo Khin, ECCAB Chair
Andrew Bossi, Senior Engineer at MCDOT
Chris Conklin, Deputy Director for Transportation Policy, MCDOT
Derek Gunn, State Highway Administration District 3 Office
State Delegate Eric Luedtke, District 14
Commandar Marcus Jones, MCPD
Yoav Katz, Burtonsville property owner
Jerry Samet, Spencerville resident and ECCAB member
Bill Gibson, Fix198Now supporter and Burtonsville resident
LuAnne Levens, Fix198Now supporter and Spencerville resident
Donna Dunn, Spencerville resident
Donald Chamberlin, Burtonsville resident
Brian Anleu, Fix198Now co-founder and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember Hucker
Sheila Stewart, Good Hope Estates Civic Association President
Dan Kugler, Good Hope Estates Civic Association boardmember
Steve Ashurt, Burtonsville resident and local bike advocate (@makeitbikeable)
Above: Maryland State Delegate Eric Luedtke (left) lives in Burtonsville and has been advocating for safety improvements along MD 198 for years. Donna Dunn (right) lives in Spencerville and is one of the property owners who might be displaced by the State Highway Administration's plans to modify MD 198. Photo by Jerry Samet used with permission.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss short-term improvements that could make Segments C and D of 198 safer ahead of the more long-term improvements that SHA is considering.
The following handout was provided to attendees:
Photo by Brian Anleu used with permission.
Some of the improvements for Segment C that were discussed include the following:
Segment C - 198 from New Hampshire Ave to Old Columbia Pike
Widening the edgelines on the side of the road to make the road appear more narrow;
Rumble stripes (rumble strips along the centerline) to reduce crossover crashes and improve lane visibility during inclement weather;
It’s important to note that many of these improvements require more analysis from SHA to determine if they are appropriate for 198. The CAS, for example, is widely used in Pennsylvania but hasn’t really been used in Maryland so any application to 198 would likely begin as a pilot. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that SHA is thinking about innovative ways to make 198 safer rather than their traditional perspective of catering to through traffic.
There was also considerable discussion about the roundabout at Peach Orchard Road, which is considered short-term because it has been funded for design ahead of the corridor-wide improvements. Many residents felt that a traffic light at this intersection would be more appropriate because traffic on 198 is too heavy for a roundabout and wouldn’t allow vehicles to merge from Peach Orchard. SHA responded that the number of left-turns at this intersection do not warrant a light and that a roundabout has the added benefit of slowing down traffic enough to allow for safe mergers.
In Segment D, the following short-term improvements were discussed:
Segment D - Old Columbia Pike to US 29
Narrowing the lanes to slow down traffic and allow for safer turns onto 198;
Warning signs that indicate “Congested Area Ahead” so that drivers are more aware of turning vehicles and a slower traffic pattern; and
Traffic light at the east entrance to the elementary school on 198, between the barbershop and automotive repair shop.
Extension of sidewalk from US 29 to McKnew Road on south side of MD 198
In addition, residents overwhelming supported u-turn and left-turn restrictions at the 7-Eleven and Burtonsville Town Square entrances. In the absence of left-turn restrictions, residents asked for a possible extension of the median at the intersection of 198 and the southbound 29 ramp. This would provide a physical barrier for vehicles turning left out of the second 7-Eleven entrance near the mattress store.