Third Update: NPCA Application for Jones Lane Sidewalk

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MCDOT News Release for Montgomery County Maryland January 9, 2020

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, January 22, at 7 p.m. at Jones Lane Elementary School to provide residents with an opportunity to present oral and/or written comments concerning construction of a proposed sidewalk on Jones Lane.

The sidewalk is expected to enhance safety for those with disabilities, pedestrians and bicyclists as they travel to schools and nearby facilities. Public input helps determine whether or not to proceed with constructing all or a portion of the sidewalk.

Project files are available for examination at MCDOT’s Division of Transportation Engineering, located at 100 Edison Park Drive, 4th Floor, Gaithersburg. Schedule an appointment to review the files, obtain details and/or information related to the hearing, reserve a time to testify at the hearing and/or submit written comments by contacting:

Lori Jean Main, Annual Sidewalk Program Division of Transportation Engineering 100 Edison Park Drive, 4th Floor Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878

Email: lori.main@montgomerycountymd.gov Phone: 240-777-7271

Interpreter services will be provided upon request.  Please allow five business days advance notice when requesting interpreter services.  If special services or aids are needed, please call 240-777-7271.  The Jones Lane Elementary School, located at 15110 Jones Lane, Gaithersburg, is accessible.

Join the hearing online at montgomerycounty.adobeconnect.com/joneslanesidewalks. Audio and video of the hearing will be recorded and may be posted online at the conclusion of the hearing.

Release ID: 20-003 Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389

 

In May 2019 we learned that residents along Jones Lane were informed of the application and those impacted were invited to comment by June 21.  The proposal suggested installing a sidewalk from Route 28 to Doe Lane (see attached maps).

Next steps:

  • There will be a public hearing, open to all residents, in January 2020 (this is an approximate date).
  • Open comments will be accepted for 2-3 weeks following the public hearing.
  • Based on the feedback they will make a recommendation and the hearing officer and director must sign off on it.

If the sidewalk is approved, it is likely construction will begin in the summer of 2020.

We will keep you posted as we learn more.

 

In January 2019 NPCA formally requested the construction of a sidewalk along Jones Lane from Darnestown Road (Route 28) to High Meadows Lane, along with letters of support from the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board (UCAB), Fox Hills North HOA, and the High Meadows HOA.  It is currently under consideration.  

 

The NPCA held its annual meeting on June 20, 2017, at the North Potomac Community Center.   It addressed a request for the construction of sidewalks along Jones Lane made by residents in that part of North Potomac.  Those in attendance said walking along this two-lane road alone or with children, baby carriages, and/or dogs, etc., is hazardous, especially during winter months after a snow, since residents were forced to share the narrow roadway with motor vehicles.  They noted that after school activities at the Jones Lane Elementary School or on its playgrounds also attracted young pedestrians along this road. 

Mr. Bruce E. Johnston, Chief, Division of Transportation Engineering, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, discussed the procedure for citizens requesting the installation of sidewalks in their neighborhoods.  His division is responsible for designing and constructing sidewalks.  He said sidewalks must be requested; the county won’t survey neighborhoods for needed sidewalks.  The amount of citizen support matters in getting approval to install sidewalks and a public hearing is required.  The hearing officer issues a report of his/her findings on the matter.  In most cases they find for installing the sidewalks.  The sidewalks must be at least 5 feet wide to meet ADA requirements.  Jones Lane is an open section roadway, meaning that it has no curbs and gutters.  Therefore, sidewalks must be properly graded to avoid flooding.

Mr. Johnston advised us to go to the Montgomery County website/ government/transportation/ transportation engineering/sidewalks for a sidewalk application form.  The best approach, he said, is to organize a community petition, plus the endorsement of the local school principal would be an asset.  He said that there is no special benefit assessment for sidewalks, no extra taxes assessed to homeowners and the county will replace trees and work with homeowners regarding any shrubbery displaced by the sidewalk installation.  He also said that there’s no threshold requirement on the number of people who might use the sidewalk in relation to the merits of the application.

Mr. Johnston added that up to 12 miles of sidewalks are budgeted each fiscal year, and it takes about a year from submission of an application to the start of construction, assuming that the application is approved.

Catherine E. Mathews, Director of the Montgomery County Upcounty Regional Office, and Ian Westin of the UpCounty Citizens Advisory Board were in attendance and said that they could send a letter of support for a sidewalk application. 

Before the meeting adjourned, the current NPCA Board was re-elected for another year by acclamation.