The county’s Shared Streets program, a pandemic initiative allowing residents and businesses to use public spaces for in-street activities such as biking, walking, outdoor dining and retail activity, will continue through the summer, County Executive Marc Elrich announced.
The idea behind the program was to provide a safe outdoor environment for residents and to support businesses affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19.
“Throughout the pandemic, Shared Streets has been a creative solution that has changed the way we view gathering places and benefits residents and businesses alike,” Chris Conklin, director of the county’s Department of Transportation, said in a press release. “We are happy to be able to continue this initiative throughout the summer months.”
“The Shared Streets programs will allow restaurants to serve more tables while diners can enjoy summer weather and festive atmospheres,” Elrich added.
The DOT also had created temporary “neighborhood greenways” on some local streets during the pandemic to allow for the safe gathering of pedestrians and bicyclists while limiting vehicles to local traffic only.
Locally, those streets designated under the Shared Streets program included portions of Grove Street, Kennebec Avenue, Sudbury Road, Greenwood Avenue and Woodland Drive, which was added later.
However, many of the greenways will be changing or reopening to vehicles to allow for the increase in traffic as the county emerges from the pandemic.
In addition, DOT is working with the State Highway Administration to allow for bicycles and vehicles to share 1.35 miles of Maryland Route 193 (University Boulevard) between Amherst Avenue and Arcola Avenue in Wheaton.
The pilot program includes new traffic patterns and temporarily repurposed lanes, providing better access to and from commercial, residential and recreational centers in Wheaton from Four Corners and Sligo Creek Parkway.
Photo by MoCo Transportation via Flickr