BY JEFF LEMIEUX, Strong Towns
"Despite the fabulous mural in their conference room, SHA is dominated by highway engineers, not street engineers. Trying to make a neighborhood street function like a highway is dangerous and unproductive. I think Maryland needs to split SHA into two separate organizations: one to build and maintain the true highways, and a completely separate organization, a State Streets Administration, to re-build and maintain our major commercial and residential streets."
[B' Spokes: Don't get me wrong, Interstates are great, they let me vist relatives and go on vacations but during rush hour they are a miserable experience and catastrophically fail. Even worce, these behemoth of expense, fail when you need them most are idealized as the ultimate in road design. So why not try to get every rode to emulate some feature of the Interstate?
And this is where it all falls apart, high speeds, generous turning radius, no stopping whatsoever all make sense on roads that are grade separated from other roads so no conflict points as well as cyclists and pedestrians have no need to cross such a road with the cars but not any where else.
Local streets need to have a different character than the interstates, like sharper turning radius that is slower and safer for everyone. Not to mention SHA puts some local street designs on the interstates, like my pet peeve, I swear this is a conversation SHA has:"We just spent $40 million on this interchage and are over budget how can we save money? I know we can save money by not painting really bold visible crosswalks just two thin lines, you know the kind that look like spastic stop lines." (Ref: area around Eastpointe Mall) With a $2 billion budget that are "saving" money with a bit less paint while Maryland pedestrian fatality rate is the top ten worst?!?! And not to mention the percentage of traffic fatalities that are pedestrian, that's also really bad compared to everyone else.
There is something seriously wrong within MDOT. It seems to me that since 2000 we have been enacting more and more laws that basically say MDOT do your job right. Is this going to be the next topic we try to pass a law on? Like the current transportation scoring bill, or the not to distant past "Establish bicycle and pedestrian priority areas and we really mean it this time" law. (Ref: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20150418204955785 )]