Dear City of Rockville
I’m writing to alert you to a HAZARD on the Millennium Trail that has resulted in at least two SERIOUS BICYCLE CRASHES in the past year, most recently this past Saturday August 29th. The hazard is located on the part of the trail between West Montgomery Avenue and Oak Knolls Terrace in Falls Grove. As the Trail proceeds towards Oak Knolls Terrace, it descends a steep hill towards a bridge crossing a creek. The descent passes through several curves, the last of which dives at a steep tight right angle towards the bridge. The turn is unbanked and in fact the width of the Trail actually slopes down and away from the turning/descending rider. Worse, the Trail surface is covered with silt here, washed down from the hill, which turns to mud after a rain, as occurred last Saturday. This triple threat: steep hill, sharp unbanked turn, and slippery surface, is a recipe for disaster, particularly since there are no warning signs for descending riders. One year ago, I crashed into the woods at the last second after I realized I could not make the final turn without hitting the bridge. Fortunately I escaped serious injury. Saturday, my friend Paul Triolo was not so lucky when he crashed hard at the same location, sliding out on mud just before the bridge resulting in a fractured hip. He was taken by ambulance to Shady Grove Hospital and had surgery the same day. I should emphasize that we are both experienced riders who have been on all sorts of roads under all kinds of conditions in the US , Asia, South America and Europe, including the Alps, but have never experienced anything this dangerous, right here in Rockville in our own backyards.
At the very least, appropriate signage needs to be installed up both sides of this creek to warn riders of the danger. A speed limit of 5 mph down this hill would be reasonable. In addition, the Trail should be outfitted with a drainage system to prevent buildup of silt, and banked to facilitate the turn onto the bridge.
Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to your reply.
Philip M. Murphy, M. D.
10 Hastings CircleRockville, MD 20850