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Vision Zero Program

Vision Zero Background

Montgomery County was the first county in the United States to adopt a Vision Zero policy, with the goal of reducing severe and fatal collisions for vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Montgomery Parks, in coordination with local stakeholders, is committed to working toward the County’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

Vision Zero originated in Sweden in 1997 and is credited with significant reductions in fatal and severe collisions. It consists of several common principles:

  1. Transportation–related deaths and severe injuries are preventable and unacceptable.
  2. Human life takes priority over mobility and other objectives of the road system. The road system should be safe for all users, for all modes of transportation, in all communities, and for people of all ages and abilities.
  3. Human error is inevitable; the transportation system should be designed to anticipate error so the consequences are not severe injury or death. Advancements in vehicle design and technology, roadway engineering, personal electronic devices, etc., are necessary components for avoiding the impacts of human errors.
  4. People are inherently vulnerable, and speed is a fundamental predictor of crash survival. The transportation system should be designed for speeds that protect human life.
  5. Safe human behaviors, education, and enforcement are essential contributors to a safe system.

Policies and practices at all levels of government need to align, making safety the highest priority for roadways.

Montgomery Parks Vision Zero projects are focused on three areas:

  • Trail crossing safety – Parks has over 200 locations where a Park trail crosses a public road.
  • Trail user safety – increasing safety of trail users where conflicts with vehicles are possible by providing dedicated space
  • Traffic calming – reducing vehicle speeds. Pedestrian survival rates in a collision with a vehicle drops from 95% at 20 mph to 15% at 40 mph. Montgomery Parks has jurisdiction over three Parkways in the County: Little Falls Parkway, Beach Drive, and Sligo Creek Parkway.

Project Selection and Design Process

Projects are prioritized based on study of several factors, including: speed studies, sight distance, number of lanes, estimated trail users, history of conflicts, presence (or lack) of a controlled crosswalk, existing pedestrian safety devices. Parks also utilizes feedback from Park Police, County Police, Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT), park users, and residents in selecting and prioritizing projects.

Typical design includes field survey, a sight distance assessment, traffic counts, and speed studies. Montgomery Parks coordinates with licensed traffic engineers and the traffic engineers at SHA and DOT to develop improvements and obtain necessary permit approvals. Safety improvements implemented are Vision Zero and traffic engineering best practices and specific for each project based upon engineering design.

Current Projects

*Timelines subject to change. Please contact the project manager for further information.

Hard Surface Trail Crossing Improvements 
Pending Construction
Long Branch TrailHaddon Dr
Sligo Creek TrailSligo Creek Parkway (Parking Area Near Md 193)
Clarksburg Greenway TrailLittle Seneca Parkway
Clarksburg Greenway TrailSkylark Rd (Near Walnut Haven Dr)
Clarksburg Greenway TrailSkylark Rd (Near Arora Hills Dr)
North Branch TrailOlney Mill Road
Black Hills TrailLake Ridge Dr (Black Hills)
Black Hills TrailBh Parking Lot (Black Hills)
Magruder Branch TrailCrosscut Way
Magruder Branch TrailJockey Club Terrace
Rock Creek TrailBaltimore Rd
Rock Creek TrailWexford Dr
Rock CreekTrailavery Rd
Natural Surface Trail Crossing Improvements 
Pending Construction
Hoyles MillTrailschaeffer Road
Northwest Branch TrailBonifant Lane
Upper Rock Creek TrailMuncaster Road
Upper Rock Creek TrailMuncaster Mill Road
Upper Rock Creek TrailMuncaster Road
Ten Mile Creek TrailClarksburg Road
Upper Rock Creek TrailNeedwood Road
Lower Magruder TrailWatkins Road
Seneca Greenway TrailWatkins Mill Road
Wheaton Loop TrailGlenallan Ave
Cloverly Loop TrailBriggs Chaney Dr
Seneca Creek Greenway TrailHuntmaster Road
Upper Paint Branch TrailPeach Orchard Road
Power Line TrailDufief Mill Road
Power Line TrailTravilah Road
Power Line TrailPotomac Riding Lane
Power Line TrailPiney Meetinghouse Road
Power Line TrailGlen Mill Road
Power Line TrailSt. James Road
Last Updated: April 8, 2024