May 3, 2023

Planning Board Approves Permanent ‘Road Diet’ to Reduce Number of Lanes on Little Falls Parkway

The Montgomery County Planning Board has approved the Little Falls Parkway pilot project that will reduce the number of lanes on the road between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue from four to two and incorporate turn lanes, shoulders, a median at the Capital Crescent Trail crossing and a median between the travel lanes where feasible. However, County Executive Marc Elrich has expressed concern about the plan based on feedback he has received and said he will further examine the proposal. 

The Planning Board approved the plan with four votes for the project and one abstention.

The Little Falls Parkway pilot project was initiated in 2022 to study whether two lanes between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue could accommodate vehicle traffic on the stretch of roadway.

To further the County’s Vision Zero goals to reduce traffic incidents leading to serious injuries along the parkway, traffic counts were conducted on Little Falls Parkway between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue during May, July, September and December of 2022. Montgomery Parks said the study showed the parkway functions well with two lanes of traffic and the traffic calming improves safety for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

Prior to the work session, Montgomery Parks conducted extensive outreach and held a public meeting in February 2023 before briefing the Planning Board at a public hearing on March 30.

Montgomery Parks will now begin work on the permanent design and then construct the roadway enhancements after obtaining all necessary approvals. Montgomery Parks also will create a temporary linear pilot park with activities and programming, including seating, games and events.

At a future date, the Parks Department will begin community outreach to seek input on repurposing the unused travel lanes before seeking Planning Board approval for that project.