Multi-Faceted Project Moves to Design and Engineering Phase; Provides Safer Access for Montgomery Hills and Forest Glen Metro Station
(September 20, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has gained federal approvals to make major pedestrian and bicycle safety enhancements along MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) in the Montgomery Hills community of Montgomery County. MDOT SHA will redesign a nearly one-mile section of MD 97 between 16th Street (MD 390) and Forest Glen Road (MD 192), enhancing and prioritizing access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“The federal approvals we received this week clear the way for significant accessibility improvements in the Montgomery Hills community,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Gregory Slater. “At MDOT SHA, we are rethinking state roads in urbanized areas to enhance the safety for all users. We continue to work closely with Montgomery County and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, as well as the Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills and their respective communities.”

The selected alternative will significantly calm traffic by narrowing lanes, adding a raised landscaped median and installing ADA-compatible sidewalks on both sides of the road, as well as a two-way bicycle track on the west side of Georgia Avenue. Additionally, MDOT SHA will install a new traffic signal with pedestrian crossing capability to the MD 97/Flora Lane intersection.

MDOT SHA will remove the center left-turn reversible lane and provide three through lanes on MD 97 in the northbound and southbound directions, along with dedicated turn lanes. The interchange for Interstate-495 (Capital Beltway) and MD 97 will also be modified to reduce the traffic weave/merge and improve overall safety for pedestrians on MD 97. A double left turn will be added to the existing ramp for inner loop traffic heading to northbound MD 97, with a new traffic signal and median break along MD 97.

Finally, MDOT SHA will reconfigure the intersection of MD 97 and 16th Street by eliminating the southbound MD 97 free right turn onto 16th Street. This will help align pedestrian and bicycle movements. Motorists turning onto 16th Street from MD 97 will be guided to the signalized T-intersection.

The changes are part of a new comprehensive urban mobility-focused program tailored to central business districts with dense populations and multi-modal transportation demands.

Approximately 63,000 vehicles use Georgia Avenue between the Capital Beltway and Forest Glen Road every day, with nearly 39,000 vehicles using Georgia Avenue south of I-495 to 16th Street.
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