Federal grant money will make Rockville roads safer

Major safety improvements are slated for streets surrounding the Twinbrook and Rockville Metro stations.

The area is one of the busiest in Rockville during rush hour with drivers and pedestrians getting dangerously close.

Rockville resident Douglas Heffron said," I notice a lot of people come flying down this road right here."

"When the cars turn in, they sometimes get close sometimes and I have to hurry up and jump on the grass and on the curb and stuff," added Wendy Grela, who commutes in the area.

The improvements on Chapman Avenue will hopefully put the brakes on safety issues.

The project will be funded by a $827,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Matthew Folden, the Rockville Pedestrian & Bicycle Coordinator, explained,
"This is really going to allow us to do a large scale improvement in a very short amount of time."

Folden says crosswalks will be re-stripped, median refuge islands installed and sections of sidewalk will be widened.

Those traveling by bicycle will also see safety improvements at the Rockville station, located a few miles over.

Four lanes of traffic will shrink to two, paving the way for bike lanes in both directions.

Heffron said, "That's going to be huge for me. If I could ride my bike in this area, I would, but I'm too cautious about the drivers. It's just rough."

A start date for the project has not been established. The city is still finalizing plans and looking for a company to do the work.

Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulskui are thrilled the grant money was received.

A statement issued by Milkulski called the project " investment in jobs today and jobs tomorrow...It creates construction jobs today and when it's complete...will help people get to their jobs safely.