Funding will create safer access to Montgomery Parks trails and parks.
Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has received $7.5 million from the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant program. The money will be used to facilitate safe access to parks, trails, and recreation facilities in the county through 2026. The SS4A program funds regional, local, and Tribal initiatives to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.
“This funding will help achieve our shared Vision Zero goals, which seek to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on Montgomery County roads by 2030,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “Our parkways and trails are intended to serve as safe corridors for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists, and with this grant, we will have the opportunity to make significant improvements.” Montgomery Parks manages nearly nine linear miles of public roadways and 230 miles of shared use pathways and hard surface trails, with more than 200 trail crossings of public roadways in the county.
The SS4A grant money will be applied to three major parks and trails in the county: Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park and trail, Matthew Henson State Park and trail, and Wheaton Regional Park. All these sites are adjacent to locations where 14 pedestrian and bicyclist deaths occurred between 2015 – 2019. The locations are all in historically disadvantaged communities. The parks department will deploy four strategies to improve safety at the access points, including:
- developing safe trail connections to neighborhoods
- providing safe crossings for people walking, biking and driving through intersections
- creating separated spaces for all users of the transportation network in dense multimodal areas
- developing a permanent program of low-volume streets into neighborhood greenways
In addition, the department will consider adding street lighting, providing safety education programs, increasing enforcement for failure to yield to pedestrians and assessing 12 – 15 trail crossings with major roadways for future improvements.