Baltimore — The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is reducing speed limits on MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) in Wheaton and Silver Spring, Montgomery County. The changes are part of MDOT SHA’s bold new comprehensive urban mobility-focused program tailored to central business districts with dense populations and multi-modal transportation demands. MDOT SHA continues to identify locations within urban areas in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties for speed limit reduction, narrowed lane widths and upgraded crosswalks.

The speed limit reduction on MD 97 and other roads in the National Capital Region will significantly enhance pedestrian safety in some of the busiest areas of the state.

“A priority for our agency is rethinking state roads in urbanized areas to enhance pedestrian safety and access,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater.  “MDOT SHA is approaching pedestrian safety differently than we have before. We are specifically looking at traffic calming measures in central business districts – narrowing lanes, reducing speeds, and constructing high visible crosswalks.”

Speed limits will be lowered at the following locations along MD 97:

  • Between MD 586 (Veirs Mill Road) and Arcola Avenue in Wheaton from 35 mph to 25 mph;
  • Between Glenallan Avenue and MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) in Silver Spring from 45 mph to 35 mph; and
  • Between MD 185 and Cherry Valley Drive from 50 mph to 45 mph.

As an active partner with local government officials, enforcement agencies and advocacy groups, MDOT SHA has initiated a comprehensive strategy to address pedestrian and bicyclist safety on MD 97 and similar urban roadways. The speed limit reductions are part of other major pedestrian and bicycle initiatives, including narrower lane widths. On MD 97 between south of I-495 (Capital Beltway) and north of the Wheaton Triangle, lane widths were reduced from 12 feet to 10 feet. The narrowed widths influence slow traffic speeds and add additional buffer space to protect pedestrians and bicyclists.

Speed limits have already been reduced on MD 190 and MD 187 in Montgomery County. Additional improvements are planned this year along MD 410 and MD 188 in Montgomery County, and MD 210, MD 410 and US 1 in Prince George’s County. More information about urban mobility program enhancements in the Capital region is available for download at http://www.roads.maryland.gov/OC/MDOTSHA-Speed-Limit-Reductions.pdf.

In addition to the speed limit reductions, this spring MDOT SHA crews will:

  • Upgrade to high-visible continental crosswalks (crosswalks with vertical bars) within the Wheaton Triangle between MD 586 and MD 193 (University Boulevard), which will improve safety for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Adjust traffic signal timing within the Wheaton Triangle. MDOT SHA is partnering with Montgomery County Department of Transportation to install pedestrian activated beacons at the MD 97/MD 586 to facility protected pedestrian crossings.

MDOT SHA will deploy message boards alerting drivers of the reduction in speeds at these areas. For more information, log on to www.roads.maryland.gov.

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