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Very confusing intersection for both cyclists and motorists. Cyclists have a stop sign - but motorists have a yield sign. That always causes a bit of head scratching.

Little Falls Parkway is used by motorists as a high speed connector between Bradley Blvd and River Rd. Many of the drivers are in no mood to yield to cyclists (or pedestrians) ever.

Rode through this yesterday. It is better than the previous "straight through" intersection. There are loads of pedestrians on this section and especially at this crossing because of the pool. This new design slows the bikes down some.

There are something like 6 stop signs total for bikers/pedestrians. Ridiculous. The cars should have them and the bike/peds should have yield, but alas its not my world.

Now, slow the cars down some using similar techniques as they just did for the bikes! No reason for that road to be four-laned...

CAREFUL of the yellow "rumble strip" where the trail meets the road. If you are turning across it (as you almost have to do), you can slip. I had not realized this hazard until Friday when I almost did.

Otherwise, everything else about this is good. The multi stop signs are silly, but they were there before and the cars and peds have a good relationship.

With this intersection, and the new one on Conn Ave, you can see that that MoCo is taking the CCT more seriously.

Now, how about some snow removal?

Careful for the rumble strip! I was sliding on it as well, perfectly dry out!

I also must agree with SJE, the cars at that intersection are typically polite. I don't think its a racetrack except perhaps at rush hour (wouldn't know...). Nonetheless I don't understand why its a four-laned road.

The yellow strips look like standard yellow ADA sidewalk transitions. They shouldn't be slick... but then they weren't designed for cyclists, either.

It appears that they are most worried about a fast moving cyclist meeting up with a fast moving car. Neither has ample opportunity to see and react to the other.

They have added stop signs, rumbled strips and now have changed the approach that trail users take to cross the road.

A more even-handed approach may have been to install a bump to force the motorists to slow down to a speed appropriate for crossing such a busy intersection.

SJE & D are right - some cars do yield. But it is a 4 lane road and many do not and I think that can make crossing even more dangerous.

For example - you and the motorist in the lane closest to you make eye contact and the motorist clearly slows and yields. So you begin to cross.

But motorists in the other lane may not have seen you and may continue at full speed. I even have had instances where motorists will pull around yielding cars.

Motorist psychology is all based around the lane. Green Light -> Clear Lane -> Full Speed!

Very few drive seem to drive defensively and maintain any peripheral awareness.

Incidentally I wonder if these "improvements" are the related to this incident:

http://kateryanreports.blogspot.com/2011/04/collision-on-capital-crescent-trail.html

There is little detail here. About the only thing that can be said is that it appears to be the motorist's fault for failing to yield to a user in the crosswalk.

So the rational approach is to erect more barriers to trail users?

I'm not saying that trail users should be jetting across Little Falls Pkwy. But the most effective safety enhancement would be to do something to absolutely force motorists to cross the trail at a safe speed.

The "improvements" described here don't address that.

@JeffB: I know Greenbelt is putting in a whole bunch of those ADA-compliant yellow pads at every sidewalk-road transition.

I think ADA compliance can explain this entire change, and it doesn't require any deep thinking on the engineers nor any public notice.

My concern is that, in trying to prevent a possible accident, they have made minor accidents more likely.

The "ADA compliant" bumps may not have been designed for bikes or for turning cyclist, especially since you would expect them at the end of a sidewalk (i.e. straight and designed for pedestrians).

I had gone over them several times without a problem since they were installed a few weeks ago, but on a completely dry day almost came off. My attention is focused on the cars and pedestrians, and had assumed that these would be OK.

D:
"Ridiculous. The cars should have them and the bike/peds should have yield, but alas its not my world."

Considering the law says the crosswalk has the right of way, then your world = this world.

Perhaps when a collission is blamed on the signage, the city will be sued and they'll be removed (along with a nice $500,000 paycheck to someone with a broken leg)

Also, the "rumble strip" is for the blind. When using a cane, the bumps inform them of a road crossing. Theyve been in the books since 1990 and required by courts since 2004 on all new construction.


Finally, does the road have yield triangles painted where cars should stop?

@Ron Alford,

The trail already had rumble strips. I don't think ADA compliance explains realigning the trail/road intersection so that it is 90 degrees.

It's not a bad change - the approach on the trail from either side of the road is wooded and a cyclist can zone out and suddenly find themselves emerging onto a busy 4 lane road.

But MCDOT is notoriously car centric. So I find it typical that everything they are doing is to keep trail users from inconveniencing road traffic. To the point of putting invalid traffic control signs to discourage trail users from exercising their right to cross when their are cars (the law gives the crosswalk user the right of way not the cars).

All this does, in the end, is to continue to reinforce to motorists that pedestrians and trail users have an absolute duty never to appear in front of a car.

What I would do is:
1) replace the trail stop sign with a caution sign.

2) as suggested add big painted yield markers to the road surface.

3) Perhaps change the surface so that it is bricked or has a bump. Something to inform the motorist that moving through here at a high-speed is a very, very bad idea.

Agreed with JeffB entirely on 1, 2, 3. I would add, again if it was my world, pedestrian islands (not sure of the right word) on both sides reducing the road to 2 lanes at that point instead of 4. That alone should slow many.

JJJJJ, the law may say that, but the signage clearly puts automobile traffic as 'normal' and pedestrian/bike traffic as inconveniencing this normal. I would posit that on weekends it is often reverse in number/hour.

I don't disagree about having the rumble strips! No problem there, but someone will ride through there, paying attention to cars and pedestrians, at a slow rate, and slide off on them. They weren't made for turning bicycles.

Cyclists still do not stop on for the stop signs, although they don't blow by as quickly, which is safer for everyone.

The road has "State law STOP for pedestrians within sidewalk" which confuses lots of motorists because they stop for cyclists who are approaching at speed (now reduced) without stopping at their stop signs. Just going based upon the current state of signage.

Can someone clarify what constitutes "within" the crosswalk? I would assume someone on the trail, but not yet *in* the crosswalk would have to stop and yield to a car, correct?

Jake, cyclists using the crosswalk are to be treated like a pedestrian.

JJJJJ - shouldn't they walk the bike across the crosswalk if they want to be treated as pedestrians and not vehicles?

I think that someone on the trail approaching the crossing must stop and yield to cars approaching.

It gets a little messy if there are a series of cars. Technically, a yield means you're supposed to wait for an opening. But if you proceed into the crosswalk (seated or walking), I believe the cars have to stop if they can. So in practice the "opening" is the amount or distance you could reasonably expect a car to stop.

Maryland law is silent on the rights and duties of cyclists in crosswalks.

Pedestrians in the crosswalk have right of way, conditioned that they must not enter the roadway so suddenly that traffic is unable to yield. No where else in the vehicle code is there conditional right of way.

I think I basically agree. And I think that it makes for an awkward interchange, where no one really knows who has the right of way, and so everyone slows and proceeds with caution.

In Europe, they call this "traffic calming."

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