Planners in Montgomery County this week presented early recommendations for a new vision of the Veirs Mill corridor, emphasizing a desire to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

The recommendations to the county planning board call for a “complete streets” approach that includes sidewalks along the entire four-mile stretch, and improved access for bicycles. It also calls for the Veirs Mills corridor to be a major thoroughfare for Bus Rapid Transit, with BRT stops integrated smartly with neighborhoods and shopping centers.

The plan is designed to mesh with the county’s “Vision Zero” traffic safety plan, which is designed to reduce traffic deaths and accidents.

The Veirs Mill corridor is one of the busiest in the region, carrying between 35,000 and 40,000 cars per day. Planners said that reconceptualizing Veirs Mill Road presents challenges, because it’s considered a major highway, but also a significant residential street.

“Veirs Mill Road severely lacks necessary infrastructure for people that walk, bike, and use transit,” planners said in the report outlining their recommendations. “The corridor lacks continuous sidewalks, safe crosswalks, bike paths, and walking routes to transit.”

The recommendations come after nearly a year of community engagement, which included community meetings, “pop-up” outreach events, and appearances at public gatherings.

Key recommendations for the corridor include:

  • Creating a safe, walkable and bicycle-friendly environment on Veirs Mill Road through the introduction of sidewalks with landscaped buffers, street trees and protected bicycle facilities along the entire corridor.
  • Promoting short and long-term improvements on commercial properties to create neighborhood serving centers that include open spaces for public use.
  • Creating connections to adjacent existing neighborhood streets to improve the walkability of the area.
  • Utilizing the future bus rapid transit station locations as opportunities to introduce elements to establish local neighborhood identity, and to build connections between the corridor and neighborhood amenities or public facilities.
  • Using landscaping to enhance local identity and make the area more pedestrian friendly.
  • Reducing the speed limits along Veirs Mill Road to between 25 and 35 miles per hour.
  • Eliminating right turn-only and bus lanes and bus-only lanes on Veirs Mill Road.

You can read the full list of recommendations here.

After receiving feedback from the county planning board, planners will create a broader master plan for the area and present it to the Montgomery County Council later this spring.

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