Pedestrian-and bicycle-involved collisions decline

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Source: gazette.net

The number of collisions in Montgomery County involving pedestrians and bicycles decreased in 2011, according to data compiled by CountyStat.

Between 2005 and 2009, pedestrian-involved collisions rose from 434 to 453, but then fell to a six-year low of 399 in 2011, according to a May 14 presentation by CountyStat on the county’s pedestrian safety initiative.

CountyStat is a component of Montgomery County’s accountability system.

Most collisions involving pedestrians are caused by drivers, according to the presentation. Drivers between ages 40 and 49 were responsible for the most accidents, while children ages 10 to 19 were the most frequently hit.

Reductions in pedestrian-involved collisions were most notable in the County’s High Incidence Areas — locations targeted as having the highest density of collisions — as well as areas around schools and locations where traffic calming measures have been completed, according to a county news release.

Since the first High Incidence Areas safety audit was conducted on Piney Branch Road in 2008, HIA collisions as a percentage of total pedestrian-involved collisions in the county decreased from 10 percent of the 444 total pedestrian-involved collisions, to 7 percent of the 399 reported in 2011.

Among the Safe Routes to School program areas, where 129 engineering improvements were completed at elementary and middle schools, pedestrian collisions dropped from 48 before improvements to 12 after completion

The report also looked at collisions involving bicycles. In 2011, there were 136 bicycle-involved collisions, down from 2010 when 139 were reported. Previously, collisions involving bicycles had been on a fairly steady decline, according to the presentation.

Fatalities resulting from both pedestrian- and bicycle-involved collisions also decreased. No bicycle collisions were fatal in 2011 and only 11 reported fatalities resulted from pedestrian collisions, according to the report.

Rebates still available for runoff-reduction projects

Rebates for Montgomery County businesses and residents who install rainscapes still are available for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, according to a county news release.

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection offers technical and financial assistance to encourage property owners to install eligible RainScapes techniques. RainScapes techniques include rain gardens, conservation landscapes, canopy trees, green roofs, permeable pavements, rain barrels, cisterns and dry wells. RainScapes projects create environmentally-friendly landscapes that reduce runoff to local streams and save money on maintenance, according to the release.

RainScapes is a component of the county’s watershed restoration efforts, which are required by law.

To qualify for rebate funds, techniques must be approved prior to installation, except for rain barrels, according to the release. Approved projects should be completed within six months.

The RainScapes Program educates property owners on ways to reduce the effects of stormwater pollution on local streams and waterways. The techniques help capture and hold rainfall and then release it in a way that simulates natural drainage. Most rainfall on urban surfaces such as roofs, driveways, roads, parking lots and patios ends up as stormwater runoff, which can carry pollutants into streams and damage stream banks and habitats.

RainScapes techniques allow rainfall to soak into the ground where it can replenish groundwater and recharge streams.

Online RainScapes manuals help property owners assess a property for rainscape project suitability; design, plan and install a rainscape; and estimate cost and maintenance requirements. The manuals are available at http://1.usa.gov/zfkYk8.

For more information about RainScapes and the rebates, contact the RainScapes office at rainscapes@montgomerycountymd.gov or check the county’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rainscapes.

Select county bus route schedules to change

Although bus routes will remain the same throughout Montgomery County, schedules for seven Ride On routes will be adjusted to better match the time it takes for the buses to complete their trip, according to a county news release.

The weekday schedules for routes 48, 49, 57, 58, 61, 64 and 74 have been changed to reflect actual timing. The adjusted routes run through Wheaton and Shady Grove.

Ride On periodically makes similar adjustments to account for traffic conditions, construction projects and other factors that can affect the time it takes for a bus to complete its route, the release said.

Timetables are available on www.rideonbus.com, or by calling call 311 — outside Montgomery County call 240-777-0311 — or TTY 240-773-3556.