Vision Zero Annual Report Released Highlighting Accomplishments and Celebrating Completion of Phase 1 of the Bethesda Bikeway

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: Montgomery County this week released its annual report for the Vision Zero Initiative to end serious and fatal crashes on roadways by 2030. The Fiscal Year 2022 report details progress made on 114 tasks and projects that were undertaken during the year. The report was released at a ribbon cutting for Phase 1 of the Bethesda Bikeway at Woodmont Avenue. The bikeway has pavement separated from the roadway which will make that section of Bethesda safer for bicyclists. The complete FY22 Vision Zero annual report can be found on the County’s Vision Zero website.

“We need our streets to work for everyone whether walking, biking, using an assistive device or driving. That is why I have continued to increase funding for our traffic safety projects,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “In FY22, we spent $101.5 million on Vision Zero and this year I have increased the budget by 23 percent to $123.1 million. We can make our Vision Zero goal a reality through these projects, campaigns and with your help. Keep yourself and everyone on the road safe by putting your phone away while driving, obeying the speed limit, buckling up for every trip and every seat and never drive impaired.”

While there is much work to be done to reach the ultimate Vision Zero goal, FY22 represented a crucial year for the program with new initiatives started and key projects underway.
Highlights for the year included:

  • Nine projects underway on High Injury Network (HIN) corridors. HIN corridors represent 3 percent of the County roads and 41 percent of serious and fatal injuries. Four safety audits, two project designs and three construction projects were completed.
  • Eight pedestrian hybrid beacons were installed. The devices provide a red signal for drivers to safely allow people on foot and on bike to cross.
  • 27 bikeway projects are underway. Four already have been completed, including the installation of the second and third protected intersections at Bethesda and Woodmont avenues in Bethesda and at Cameron and Fenton streets in Silver Spring.
  • Seven miles of new sidewalk constructed.
  • 40,000 resident engagements across 90 events and five safety campaigns. This includes bike safety rodeos for over 300 schoolchildren.
  • More than $1 million secured by the County from State, Federal and regional grant programs for projects and focused law enforcement efforts.
  • 18,154 traffic stops for excessive speeding by law enforcement and more than 300,000 speed citations from automated enforcement.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), which implements Vision Zero changes to County roads, such as pedestrian hybrid beacons, also was present to celebrate opening of Phase 1 of the Bethesda Bikeway.

“We are committed to the safety of all our roadway users,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Safety is our highest priority, and we are striving to make changes to our roads as quickly as we can. That is why the Vision Zero funding is so crucial, and I am thankful that the County Executive and the Council have been working together to allow for increases in this funding to advance the safety of our residents. I am saddened by every report of another crash resulting in serious injury or loss of life and remain committed to the work we’re doing to reduce and eliminate these tragedies. In addition to making our facilities safer, these projects can also provide assets for our communities. As one example, the Bethesda Bikeway is going to make bicycling much safer and appealing in this area.”

The new cycletrack segments run along Bethesda Avenue and Willow Lane from the Capital Crescent Trail to 47th Street near Elm Street Park and along Woodmont Avenue between Miller Avenue and Montgomery Lane. Both bikeways are separated from traffic by raised concrete medians to protect cyclists. The two cycletracks are part of a new two-way bike network in downtown Bethesda that offers bright green separated bike lanes. Additional phases are in planning, design, and construction. The Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed next year.

“I want to thank all the staff from 20 municipal, County and State departments and agencies for their hard work on the Vision Zero Action Plan last year,” said County Vision Zero Coordinator Wade Holland. “Many long hours and time on nights and weekends were needed to advance this new plan while keeping up with the day-to-day work. Their dedication to our safety mission makes all this possible.”

The FY22 report is the first under the new Vision Zero 2030 Action Plan that outlines the projects and activities necessary to reach the Vision Zero goal of ending serious and fatal crashes. The initiative’s FY23 work plan is underway with projects across the County.

To learn more about Vision Zero efforts and how to get involved, visit the Vision Zero website.

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