Maryland State Highway Administration Opposes a Vital Matthew-Henson Trail Crossing
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) opposes the installation of a pedestrian traffic signal and other safety improvements on Veirs Mill Road (State Route 586) at Turkey Branch Parkway in Montgomery County. These safety improvements are integral to the successful enjoyment and use of the future Matthew-Henson hiker-biker trail. Even without the trail, many pedestrians and cyclists already cross the road at this location. The 4.5-mile trail is in the advance stages of construction planning and is being held up by the SHA's actions. There are numerous public and community facilities including churches, schools, local parks, shopping centers and a recreation center that connect to the trail. When the trail is constructed, a great many more pedestrians and cyclists will cross Veirs Mill Road where the trail meets the road.
A pedestrian traffic light and other safety improvements are needed to provide a safer crossing of Veirs Mill Road for users of the Mathew Henson trail. But the SHA insists that trail users make a 20-minute detour (1/3 mile) out of the park and up and down hills to cross the road at the closest existing traffic signal. Countless observations of existing pedestrian traffic at the trail location have shown that pedestrians will risk crossing Veirs Mill Road rather than make the detour that the SHA proposes. For wheelchair-bound park users, the detour is impossible.
Marylanders should urge their state senators and delegates to demand that the Maryland State Highway Administration install a pedestrian traffic signal and make other safety improvements where the Mathew-Henson trail crosses Veirs Mill Road (State Highway 586). The names, addresses, and phone numbers of Maryland elected officials can be found on Maryland's "Who Are Your Elected Officials" web page <a href="http://mdelect.net/electedofficials/">http://mdelect.net/electedofficials/</a>