Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PG County addresses need for better bike facilities

An article in today's Post, Prince George’s backs plan to ease the way for pedestrians and cyclists describes how PG County is giving the same priority to bicyclists and pedestrians as they do motorists when considering new developments.
The Prince George’s County Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday that would make new developments more welcoming to cyclists and pedestrians, placing the county at the forefront of a movement to limit reliance on cars and reduce pedestrian deaths.

The measure places the needs of cyclists and pedestrians on a par with motorists and gives the county’s planning board a new tool to encourage walking and cycling. The bill was introduced by County Council Vice Chairman Eric Olson (D-College Park) and council member Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro), and County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) is expected to sign it into law.

For decades, new developments in Prince George’s and many other jurisdictions have been required to measure the potential traffic they would create and then pay to mitigate it by installing traffic lights, widening roads or adding parking. Little attention has been paid to making new developments more friendly to cyclists or walkers.
This is a major accomplishment. Developers in Fairfax County must submit a traffic impact analysis based on VDOT guidelines. While the guidelines contain some considerations for bicyclists and pedestrians, my experience in the past has shown that these studies often ignore the needs of bicyclists. We're encouraged by what is being done in PG County and hope they lead the way for the rest of the region.

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