Safer sidewalks on Carroll Avenue

PHOTO: Sidewalk on 7800 block of Carroll Avenue. Photo by Bill Brown.

BY DYSTANY MUSE

The State Highway Administration has a plan to make Carroll Avenue from Sligo Creek to Garland Avenue safer for Takoma Park pedestrians.

“The main purpose of this project is to improve pedestrian access,” said Jeremy Betz, project team manager of SHA, at meeting held to inform the public.

Proposed improvements include bicycle lanes, sidewalks reconstructed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, changes to the MD195/Flower Avenue traffic signal, realignment of the roadway, and new retaining walls.

The problem with the existing sidewalk is that utility poles prevent residents from using it.

“We’ve been getting complaints from the neighborhood that you can’t even push a stroller through this section,” said Myers.

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A utility pole and traffic-signal-request pole don’t leave much room to pass on the Carroll/Flower Avenue intersection sidewalk. Photo by Bill Brown.

Pushing a stroller is not the only complaint they’ve gotten.

“I never walk on Carroll Avenue sidewalk anymore but I have a personal reason not to,”said Carroll Avenue resident, Leslie Agro.

Agro said a few years ago she was hit by a car on Carroll Avenue.

An ambulance rushing by caused a taxi and police car to drive onto the sidewalk, hitting Agro.

“If I hadn’t run in the driveway, I would have been dead,” said Agro.

“When we first moved here,” said her husband, Dave Agro, “in front of our house there was a young woman who was actually hit by a car, hit and run. They had to scrape her up with a scraper,”

SHA is not seeking to change how pedestrians travel but make it safer and more accessible by reconstructing the sidewalk to make it ADA compliant.

Residents have been informed of the project proposal through newspapers, mailers, elected official alerts and various city organizations.

SHA has received calls about their project and how it will affect residents.

Claudine Myers, project team manager of SHA, said the purpose of the meeting was to share this information with citizens, especially those who have called.

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7800 block of Carroll Avenue, eastern side opposite Washington Adventist Hospital. Photo by Bill Brown.

SHA called the meeting “MD 195 (Carroll Avenue) from Bridge over Sligo Creek Parkway to Garland Avenue Roadway and Pedestrian Safety Improvement Study.” It took place at the Takoma Park Fire Department on October 15, 2015.

“This is only at the concept level,” said Erica Rigby, project team manager of SHA.

Rigby said once concept development is complete, additional funding must be established for project design.

“We’re only funded for concept development at this point,” said Myers.

SHA wanted to make it clear that the Sligo Creek Bridge construction is not their project.

Their project starts north of the bridge, extending to Garland.

“We’ve developed two options to see how we can fit the sidewalk in,” said Myers.

Both alternatives will incorporate the existing retaining wall on Carroll Avenue.

Betz said the first alternative plan widens the roadway from the bridge to Flower Avenue to allow bike lanes installation.

The bike lanes will continue from the Sligo Creek Bridge project.

The sidewalks will go from four to at least five feet wide.

Alternative two will realign the roadway from the Hospital Entrance to Flower Avenue.

It will still incorporate the wall, maintain a five foot sidewalk and install a landscape area (grass buffer).