Keep the Green Mile Green
Sidewalk in the Press! Click HERE to read the latest!
Latest News! Click HERE to read about the Monday Night Meeting with SHA
Click HERE for graphic notes of the meeting.
The State Highway Administration has proposed a sidewalk for the east side of Wisconsin Avenue between Grafton Street and Bradley Lane in Chevy Chase. In the design shared with public at the April 26 meeting, all 53 trees along this three-quarter mile length of road will be removed to accommodate an 8 foot shared use path that would run along the Chevy Chase Club fence line. In the words of the engineer for the project - unfortunately, the stretch will remain treeless as there is no room to replant. There will be a 2 foot curb strip, but the State requires a 6 foot curb strip for street trees.
Funding and Projected Cost: As of December, 2012, "SHA has only funded the design phase of this project with a budget of $150,000. This is federally funded through SHA’s Pedestrian Access to Transit funds. The current construction estimate is $1.5 Million but the funding has not been committed at this time. We are anticipating the funding will come from the same Pedestrian Access to Transit funds." from Kate Mazzara, P.E., Assistant District Engineer - Project Development
Larger Bus Pads and a Shorter Sidewalk for an Environmentally Responsible Alternative
A Bay Friendly Solution for Wisconsin Avenue:
We propose that the State build larger bus pads and install a sidewalk on the short section of Wisconsin between Hesketh and Grafton as a Bay Friendly alternative to the proposed 3/4 mile sidewalk. This design will allow for safer mid-block bus stops and access to the Grafton Street bus stop by the residents of Hesketh Street while preserving most of the tree canopy.
Sidewalk between Hesketh and Grafton:
A five-foot wide sidewalk between Hesketh and Grafton (as shown on page one of the state plan) would necessitate removal of only three trees. It would greatly benefit the residents of Hesketh who now have only a dirt path to the bus stop and controlled intersection at Grafton.
Mid-block Bus Stop Pads:
The mid-block bus stops are used only by riders who must cross Wisconsin Avenue to or from the west side as the bus stops are adjacent to a golf course, not a residential area. We strongly recommend that all bus riders use the crosswalks and bus stops at the controlled intersections at Grafton or Bradley as the safest way to board or disembark from the northbound buses. However, upgrading the current mid-block bus stops will make them safer for those who are brave enough to cross six lanes of traffic on Wisconsin Avenue without a light or crosswalk. The mid-block bus stops need larger pads as the current pads are too small to wait safely and do not extend far enough back from the highway. We suggest that the State install 10' x 8' pads with benches much like there are on River Road and many other State highways where there are no sidewalks. This could be done with no or minimum loss of trees. Finally, it is not necessary to connect these bus stops with sidewalks as everyone using the bus stops must cross mid-block to and from the west side of Wisconsin Avenue. There are no houses on the east side, only the Chevy Chase Club golf course. Bus riders can use the bus stops at the controlled intersections if they do not wish to cross mid-block. By not connecting the bus stops, dozens of trees will be saved.
Environmental Impact too Great for our Fragile Watershed
The Little Falls Watershed Alliance opposes this sidewalk as the environmental impact is too great for our fragile watershed.
The sidewalk will add more than 31,680 square feet or almost 3/4 an acre of impervious surface to our already over-paved watershed.
The sidewalk would remove 53 mature trees - some more than 30 inches in diameter. The role of trees in our environment cannot be over-emphasized.
- Trees play an important part in stormwater management, preventing hundreds of gallons of polluted run-off from entering the creek every time it rains. For an excellent discussion the role of trees in stormwater management, visit the US Forest Service website - http://www.forestsforwatersheds.org/reduce-stormwater/
- Trees reduce the urban heat island effect, the shade cools the road surfaces and saves us energy in our homes.
- Trees provide oxygen and clean pollutants out of the air. We breath clean air because of the work that trees do.
- Trees filter polluted water with their root systems so that the ground water is clean
- Trees reduce noise pollution and muffle traffic sounds.
- and finally, it is shown that trees increase property values!
Click HERE for a great article from the State of Michigan's website listing 22 reasons to have street trees. One important benefit is that they tend to reduce traffic speeds as well as road rage.
FIght to Save the Green Mile
A number of years ago, communities in Chevy Chase fought to keep this stretch of Wisconsin Avenue as a residential area. They called it the Green Mile and successfully fought to keep the tree canopy intact and the type of impervious surfaces businesses require out. Almost 3/4 of an acre would be paved over by the proposed sidewalk. 53 trees would be removed along with dozens of bushes and small shrubs. Not one bit of vegetation would be replanted, not one tree. The Green Mile needs our help again.
Write to our Elected Officials and the State Highway Department;
Ask Them to Make Trees a Priority, Save the Green Mile!
The only way to stop the sidewalk is to let our elected officials know that we would rather have trees than a sidewalk on Wisconsin Avenue. Our County Executive and State Elected officials can ask the State Highway Department to focus on other projects. So, please write to our officials and ask them to save the trees and adopt a Bay Friendly Solution.
The State needs to know that we care about our trees.
Write to our State Delegates:
MD State Senator Brian Frosh lives in our watershed. Write him to ask to save these trees. Brian.Frosh@senate.state.md.us
Ike Leggett, our County Executive, has said he needs to hear from people who don't want the sidewalk. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Council representative is Roger Berliner. He is on record for trying to keep the Green Mile green. Write him to remind him of his committment to an urban canopy. There are ways to make the bus stops safe and keep the trees. Councilmember.email@example.com
Governor O'Malley has made trees a priority for Maryland. On the Marylanders Plant Trees website, he writes:
As Marylanders, we take pride in our State and our natural world. We understand the value of stewardship and the importance of a sustainable future, and are committed to working together to create a smarter, greener State....
... Trees provide ecological, economic and quality of life benefits – protecting air and water quality, reducing energy costs, increasing property values and beautifying neighborhoods and highways.
Write to the Governor and ask him to make saving the trees a priority for the Wisconsin Avenue project. http://www.governor.maryland.gov/mail/
The State Highway said they are still looking for input, contact Project Engineers, Mr. Uong, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ms Mazzara, email@example.com,and ask them to make trees a priority for the Wisconsin Ave sidewalk. Brian Young is the District 3 project engineer charged with approving the final design. Let him know your views - BYoung@sha.state.md.us
Make Trees a Priority for Wisconsin Ave and Keep the Green Mile Green.