‘Vision Zero’ coordinator takes on Montgomery County traffic safety issues

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich named a coordinator on Monday for the county’s “Vision Zero” effort, and noted that the county was having a grim start to the year for pedestrian safety.

The goal of Vision Zero is to eliminate traffic-related deaths and severe injuries by 2030; meanwhile, the county has seen three pedestrian deaths in the first weeks of January.

Announcing the appointment of Wade Holland, who has worked as a data analyst for Montgomery County for nearly seven years, to the post, Elrich said Vision Zero was “really a work in progress — and it’s a work that needs a lot more progress than has been made so far.”

Holland said, in the past two years, he has seen increased interest from the community on the issue.

“We know this community very much cares about pedestrian, bike and traffic safety.”

Holland added, “Now that the county executive has challenged us to find more innovative and quick solutions, we hope to be announcing more than just our 2020 action plan as we move forward through the winter and spring.”

The 2020 action plan includes 32 items, with projects aimed at increasing bike and pedestrian safety in communities, including Bethesda, downtown Silver Spring, White Flint, Rockville and Wheaton.

According to information provided at Monday morning’s announcement, the county’s capital improvement plan includes the following:

  • 26 pedestrian and bikeway projects;
  • 16 road and bridge projects that incorporate sidewalks, bike paths and expanded shoulders;
  • 4 new pedestrian beacons;
  • Pedestrian safety improvements along Middlebrook and Bel Pre roads.

Elrich has recommended a capital improvement budget for the fiscal years 2021 to 2026 that allocates $266.6 million for Vision Zero projects, $9.3 million for pedestrian safety initiatives, $4.2 million for sidewalk programs, and $4.5 million for safety, mobility and accessibility near Purple Line stations.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan reported from Rockville, Maryland.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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