The first of the long-awaited Georgia Ave. improvements in Montgomery Hills was implemented recently when the State Highway Administration (SHA) lowered the speed limit to 30 mph (from 35 mph) on Georgia Ave. from Spring St. to Wheaton. This speed limit was recommended in the Planning Department’s Montgomery Hills/Forest Glen Sector Plan adopted a few years ago. The speed reduction was just one of the significant improvements proposed for the corridor, including a green median, removal of the unsafe reversible lanes, wider sidewalks, a cycle track on the west side of the road, pedestrian-safety enhancements, a reconfigured Beltway interchange, and a new traffic light at Flora Lane.
A completed SHA design is expected by the end of 2022. Funding has been allocated for most of the necessary right-of-way acquisitions, and the county and state are cooperating to secure funds for utility relocation and construction. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen secured one million dollars in federal funding for the project in the recent infrastructure bill that Congress approved. Utility relocation could start as early as January 2024. State Delegates Jared Solomon and Lorig Charkoudian have worked tirelessly on this project to ensure that it continues to move forward and to secure necessary funding.
The Maryland Department of Transportation has announced that it will fully fund the design phase of the Georgia Avenue improvement project.
Despite widespread support of the surrounding neighborhoods, the design and engineering plans for the Georgia Ave improvement project have been stuck at about 50% for almost two years. But due to the determined efforts of NWCA, Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills, other neighborhood associations, and our elected representatives in Annapolis (especially Delegates Jared Solomon and Lorig Charkoudian), MDOT Secretary Greg Slater agreed to include $1.6 million in the transportation budget to complete design of the project.
The funding could not have come at a better time. It is widely expected that the new Biden Administration will be looking to fund state and local infrastructure projects with an emphasis on projects that improve biking, walking, and transit access. The Georgia Avenue project does all of that.