Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

28 Lanes, 8.5 Minutes to Cross — Is This America’s Worst Intersection?

Earlier this month, two pedestrians were severely injured trying to cross Route 355 and Shady Grove Road in Rockville, Maryland. So Ben Ross at Greater Greater Washington went out to investigate.

false

It ended up being quite the adventure. Ross documented his attempt to cross this monstrosity on foot, and it took him a remarkable eight-and-a-half minutes:

There is no crosswalk across the south side of the intersection (because there's a traffic light here, there's no unmarked crosswalk). Therefore, I had to wait for the walk signal to cross the 9 lanes of Shady Grove Road. The wait was substantial, because this is a slow light; the signal cycle is 2½ minutes.

When I reached the next traffic island at D, I found a "beg button"—a button that you press to get a walk signal. Cars made left turns for a little while, the through lanes began to move, and I got my signal to proceed across the 8 lanes of Route 355. The walk and flashing don't-walk phases, together, lasted 23 seconds.

I walk briskly, so I was able to finish the 104-foot crossing before the signal became a solid don't-walk. But a slower, and strictly law-abiding, pedestrian would have had to stop in the median. There is no beg button in the median, so they would have had to wait—who knows how long—until another pedestrian came along who follows traffic rules so punctiliously that they bother to push beg buttons.

Having finally reached point E, I had to wait again for a walk signal. This time I had 10 lanes to cross, but here there is a long green that gives you plenty of time. Finally, I walked along the sidewalk from F to G, and after 8½ minutes I arrived at the southbound bus stop.

What do you think? Got any other contenders for America's worst intersection? Send them our way.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Copenhagenize relays how the city's conscientious snow removal efforts make winter bike commuting a low-stress affair. Streets.mn offers three ways to improve pedestrian safety without changing street design. And Urban Cincy reports that Cincinnati's transit system has seen a 4.2 percent jump in ridership in part because of successful partnerships with local universities.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Komanoff: A ‘Noise Tax’ Can Ground NYC Helicopters

A proposed $400 “noise tax” on “nonessential” flights is a start — and it will work.

April 18, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: Welcome to the War on Cars, Scientific American

Our favorite story yesterday was this editorial in an unexpected place. Plus other news.

April 18, 2024

Meet the MTA Board Member and Congestion Pricing Foe Who Uses Bridges and Tunnels For Free Every Day

Mack drives over the transportation authority's bridges and tunnels thanks to a rare perk of which he is the primary beneficent.

April 18, 2024

Randy Mastro Aspires to Join Mayor’s Inner Circle of Congestion Pricing Foes

The mayor's reported pick to run the city Law Department is former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and notorious foe of bike lanes and congestion pricing.

April 18, 2024

Donald Shoup: Here’s a Parking Policy That Works for the People

Free parking has a veneer of equality, but it is unfair. Here's a proposal from America's leading parking academic that could make it more equitable.

April 18, 2024
See all posts