Neighbors argue over sidewalks in quiet Montgomery Co. community

The debate over whether to build sidewalks in a quiet Montgomery County, Maryland, neighborhood continues after the county has delayed constructing them.

Construction on sidewalks on Greenspan Lane and Parkvale Road in the Rock Creek Manor neighborhood was scheduled to begin May 8, but residents were told last week that the project would be delayed.

Construction on sidewalks on Greenspan Lane and Parkvale Road in the Rock Creek Manor neighborhood in Montgomery County, Maryland, has been paused. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

“They sent an email that it had been pulled to reconsider options,” Josh Greenburg told WTOP. “I think it’s a shame that a multi-year publicly commented process that was approved based on overwhelming merit was killed at the last minute.”

The director of Montgomery County Department of Transportation told WTOP the project has not been canceled but pushed back a few weeks.

“We’re right now trying to figure out how to implement that project and reduce the impacts to trees and people’s property that have generated a lot of the concern there, and hope to have some findings on that in the next few weeks,” said MCDOT Director Christopher Conklin.

Sarah Locke is one of the property owners who said she’s concerned sidewalk construction would likely cause her to get rid of two cherry trees in her front yard.

“They just went, like, straight to, ‘Let’s tear out all these trees and put in 5-foot wide sidewalks in a quiet neighborhood,’” she told WTOP. “It feels like a little bit of overreach.”

A look at the area where sidewalks were scheduled to be constructed, via Google Street View

Greenburg said the presence of young children — especially his son — are a big reason he’s advocating for the sidewalk on their street.

“I have an autistic child who is not capable of basic life skills. He’s literally a genius, but he can’t figure out how to do things like get dressed or walk in the street safely,” said Greenburg. “We don’t get buses, there are no buses, there is no option to ride a bus, which is safer and off the street, but he can’t safely walk in a gutter to school.”

Will Horowitz, another father in the area, echoed Greenburg’s concern.

“We have residents who are disabled, we have a fourth-grader in a wheelchair who would benefit greatly from having sidewalks,” Horowitz told WTOP. “We just think that everybody would be a lot safer getting around to local amenities schools, shopping center, rec center, trailhead, parks, playgrounds, all types of these different amenities we have available to us that we can access safely.”

Locke responded: “I understand the desire for your kids to be safe. But you know, little kids like this shouldn’t be walking to school by themselves anyway.”

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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