Initiative Protects Valued Scenery While Ensuring Safety Along Roadways
FREDERICK, Md. – To ensure Frederick County’s scenic rural roadways are preserved for future generations, County Executive Jan Gardner today announced the creation of a new Rustic Roads Program. The program’s goal is to balance the sometimes competing interests of ensuring safe travel with protecting and enhancing the roadways’ unique appeal. Implementing the new program was recommended in the final report of the Scenic and Rural Roads Advisory Committee, which Executive Gardner appointed in 2020.
“We know that preservation is crucial to maintaining our community’s unique characteristics,” Executive Gardner said. “By launching this Rustic Roads Program, we can preserve Frederick County’s rustic roads in their natural and historic settings so future generations can understand and appreciate our rich agricultural history.”
The Rustic Roads Program incorporates all 80 miles of lanes that are currently in the 20-year-old Rural Roads Program, designating them as “Exceptionally Rustic.” An additional 287 miles are identified as “Candidate Roads.” To be listed as a Candidate Road, a roadway must: have a posted speed limit of no more than 35 miles per hour, or have no posted limit at all; average fewer than 1,000 vehicle trips per day; and be located outside Community Growth Areas and outside major subdivisions. Roads also may be eligible if there are scenic or natural features along them, or if they have historical or cultural significance.
Special signs will be designed and posted on Exceptionally Rustic roads. The signs will be part of a larger branding effort to market the scenic roadways to tourists and to educate the public on the significance of this network of roads and the cultural and historic value they offer.
Until legislation is passed to establish a new Rustic Roads Commission, roads that are part of the existing Rural Roads Program will continue to be maintained following existing guidelines. Roads will keep the same width, alignment, and surface type, and vegetation in the right-of-way will be maintained.