County Launches “20 is Plenty” Speed Limit Pilot Program

The county’s Department of Transportation yesterday launched a “20 is Plenty” pilot program that will lower speed limits to 20 miles per hour on certain urban roads.

“As we continue to reopen, traffic will increase, which will lead to more cars on the road and pedestrians crossing streets,” said County Executive Marc Elrich in a press release announcing the launch. “In 2019, Montgomery County saw 1,200 speed-induced crashes resulting in 32 lives lost, which is far too many. The 20 is Plenty effort is designed to engage residents and save more lives.”

The campaign was made possible when the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 562, sponsored by the Montgomery County House Delegation during the last General Assembly.

“The bill authorizes Montgomery County and its municipalities to decrease the maximum speed limit to not less than 15 miles per hour on highways, but only after performing an engineering and traffic investigation,” according to the release.

An urban road is defined in the county’s road code as “a road segment in or abutting a Metro Station Policy Area, Town Center Policy Area, or other urban area expressly identified in a Council resolution.”

Five roads have been designated for the pilot. Locally, Greenwood Avenue between Piney Branch Road and Dormer Avenue in Long Branch has been selected for the pilot.

The pilot program falls under the county’s Vision Zero action plan to eliminate serious and fatal collisions on county roadways for vehicle occupants, pedestrians and bicyclists by 2030. The program results will be used to determine how, where and if the program should be expanded. ​

“I’m hopeful that this program will be the beginning of a much larger push to slow speeds and save lives,” said Council President Tom Hucker (D-District 5), who also chairs the council’s Transportation and Environment Committee. “We are committed to improving safety on our roadways and taking sensible, repeated steps to meet our Vision Zero goals.”

Nationally, Montgomery County will be joining approximately six other locations, primarily on the West Coast, which have lowered speed limits to 20 M.P.H. on select streets.

Montgomery County graphics

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