Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously today to approve the Safe Streets Act of 2023 (Bill 11-23). The new law, spearheaded by Council President Evan Glass, will create safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on Montgomery County roadways.
The new law, spearheaded by Council President Evan Glass, will create safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on Montgomery County roadways. The legislation prioritizes pedestrians by enhancing walk times at crosswalks, and prohibits “right turn on red” at busy intersections in downtown areas. To create safer routes to school, the legislation will also require infrastructure reviews following incidents in school zones, walksheds and bus stops.
“Too many of our neighbors continue to be seriously injured or killed while walking or biking on our roads,” said Council President Glass, who chairs the Transportation and Environment Committee. “The Safe Streets Act of 2023 will bring much-needed safety improvements to our roads and help prevent injuries and death. The United States has the highest rate of roadway incidents in the developed world. This legislation will put us on a safer path. I’m grateful to the community members and advocates for safer streets who shared their personal stories and provided valuable perspectives that strengthened this legislation.”
In 2022, 19 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed and 541 people seriously injured on our County’s roads. The County has already had 11 fatalities and 404 injuries involving pedestrians and cyclists in 2023.
“Students deserve to have a safe passage as they travel to and from school by walking, cycling, riding a bus, or driving in a car. The routes and bus stops are too often dangerous. By including school zones improvements, the Safe Streets Bill supports safety measures for our youngest travelers. Parents commend this legislation,” said Melissa Regan, Co-chair of MCCPTA Safe Routes to School.
“We have to rethink roadway design to meet our commitment to eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries. The Safe Streets Act does this: it mandates sensible changes that will make Montgomery County streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is grateful for Council President Glass’s Vision Zero leadership via this legislation,” said Seth Grimes, Maryland Organizer for WABA.
“MoCo FSS applauds the Montgomery County Council for the passage of the Safe Streets Act. We are hopeful that this renewed focus on safety features along our County roadways, especially in and around school zones and busy pedestrian town centers, will help to improve safety for our children and community members,” said Kristy Daphnis, Steering Committee Member of MoCo Families for Safe Streets.
“We congratulate the Montgomery County Council on passing the Safe Streets Act while considering the expansion of safe, comfortable, and accessible transportation through the Pedestrian Master Plan,” said Amy Frieder, President of Action Committee for Transit. “Our members look forward to working with our political leaders on a steady effort to make all roads in the county safer for everyone.”
The legislation aims to advance the County’s Vision Zero goals of eliminating serious and fatal crashes by addressing specific transportation initiatives. The bill also requires the County Executive to provide a comprehensive automated traffic enforcement plan, which must be updated and resubmitted to the Council annually.
“This common-sense legislation will go a long way to make sure the county’s town centers and school zones are safer places to walk, which is good for public health and for our environment. However, this is only the beginning,” said Dan Reed, Regional Policy Director of Greater Greater Washington. “We look forward to working with Council President Glass and the County Council to secure a future in which people are no longer killed walking or bicycling on Montgomery County streets.”
“Making walking safe and comfortable throughout our County—whether we are walking to school, accessing transit, or enjoying our downtowns—will save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help to foster vibrant, connected communities. The Safe Streets Act is a concrete step towards making Vision Zero a reality,” said Carrie Kisicki, Montgomery Advocacy Manager for Coalition for Smarter Growth.
Councilmembers Dawn Luedtke, Kate Stewart, Sidney Katz, Natali Fani-González, Council Vice President Andrew Friedson, and Councilmembers Will Jawando, Marilyn Balcombe, Kristin Mink, Laurie-Anne Sayles and Gabe Albornoz cosponsored the legislation.
You can read the bill text here.