Capital Crescent Trail/Little Falls Parkway Crossing – Planning Board rejects Parks Dept. plan

After listening to the testimony of a substantial number of community residents the Planning Board rejected the Parks Dept. proposed plan to make the road constriction permanent at the Little Falls Parkway/Capital Crescent Trail Crossing. The Planning Board vote was 4:1 against the plan.

The Parks Dept. was instructed to relocate the trail to the Arlington Road/Little Falls Parkway signal light, to restore Little Falls Parkway to four lanes, and to focus on building a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Little Falls Parkway as the long term goal.

The arguments against making the crossing permanent were principally as follows:

·       A signal is the safest crossing point, and if cyclists have to make two right angle turns from the trail at the light they will come to a stop or nearly so.  The ability of a cyclist to blow through an intersection is blocked.

·       The Parks Dept. traffic plan did not take into account future substantial growth in Bethesda (10 million sq. ft.) and the considerable growth in Westbard with construction expected to commence this fall.  The Parks Dept. planning is independent of County DOT.; it is autonomous.

·       The Parks Dept. plan increased traffic on Hillandale Rd. which is heavily populated whereas Arlington Rd. is not bordered by residences.  Hillandale residents safety was decreased.

·       The Parks plan did not take into account project costs incurred by DOT in order to implement traffic calming measures on Hillandale and the desired lane removals on Arlington Rd.

·       With traffic backups, the Parks plan did not take into account:

 o   Increased pollution due to increased traffic congestion.

o   Increased contribution of CO2 to global warming.

o   Waste of fossil fuel and of coal generated electricity.

o   Value of motorists’ time lost.

o   Cost of decreased safety to the victims of cut through traffic.

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