Apparently, when money gets tight, pedestrian improvements are an easy line item to cross off around here.
Last week we wrote about D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s plan to cut $300,000 from DDOT’s pedestrian-and-bicycle safety funding to help close the city’s $188 million shortfall, a move that could potentially nix some new bike lanes and crosswalks. Now, as the TBD Neighborhood’s blog has reported, Montgomery County has proposed similar cuts from its transportation budgets.
County Executive Isiah Leggett’s savings plan calls for a 60% reduction in “pedestrian safety outreach” – that usually translates to public-awareness and media campaigns – to trim about $15,000 from the budget. But more significantly, the plan recommends cutting all the remaining money for road resurfacing (saving about $285,000), halting some planned work on traffic lights (saving around $150,000), and delaying the removal of 323 trees that need to go (saving $340,000).
So yes, it looks like we’re back in a budget climate where functioning traffic lights and the removal of dead trees are considered luxuries of a bygone era.