As part of the County’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety in areas with the highest densities of collisions, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has launched a campaign aimed at high school students in the Four Corners area of Silver Spring. Collision data from Four Corners show that those under 20 years of age and those over 50 have been involved in the most collisions, usually during daylight hours. A group of Blair students was involved in developing the public education campaign.
A professional photographer took pictures of competing teens’ eyes at Montgomery Blair High School and two students are now featured on posters that urge pedestrians to establish eye contact with drivers and look both ways before crossing the street. The theme? “See Them See You!” Participating students received rubber wristbands -- reminders of safe behaviors.
Montgomery Blair students also participated in a contest to answer text message questions about pedestrian safety to win prizes, while learning to be safe walkers.
Street Smart is a regional public safety campaign that has addressed the challenges of pedestrian and bicyclist safety since 2002. The campaign urges pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to stay safe by following the law and sharing the road safely.
The Street Smart program is coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) and supported by federal funds, made available through state governments, and funding from some TPB member jurisdictions, including Montgomery County.
According to Street Smart, the Washington region ranks 20th out of the 52 largest metropolitan areas in pedestrian deaths per capita. On average, over 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured in the region every year and 89 are killed. Pedestrians and bicyclists account for 30 percent of the region’s traffic fatalities.
In Montgomery County, pedestrian collisions continue to decrease as a result of Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative to improve pedestrian safety. Since 2005, pedestrian collisions per 100,000 residents have fallen from 46.7 in 2005 to 40.5 in 2011, and the severity of those collisions decreased.
Visit the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Street Smart website to learn more about the campaign. For other information about pedestrian safety in Montgomery County, visit the Department of Transportation’s website.
Street Smart is a regional public safety campaign that has addressed the challenges of pedestrian and bicyclist safety since 2002. According to Street Smart, the Washington region ranks 20th out of the 52 largest metropolitan areas in pedestrian deaths per capita. On average, more than 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured in the region every year and 89 are killed. Pedestrians and bicyclists account for 30 percent of the region’s traffic fatalities.
Street Smart urges pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to stay safe by following the law and sharing the road safely. The Street Smart program is coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) and is supported by federal funds made available through state governments, plus funding from some TPB member jurisdictions. Visit the Street Smart website to learn more about the campaign.
Teens to Compete in “See Them See You!” Best Eyes and Texting Contests
As part of Montgomery County’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety in areas with the highest densities of collisions, the County has launched a campaign aimed at high school students in the Four Corners area of Silver Spring. Photos of the eyes of two teen winners from Montgomery Blair High School will be featured on posters that urge pedestrians to establish eye contact with drivers and look both ways before crossing the street. The poster theme is “See Them See You!” and will feature messages, such as: “Hey you, I’m looking at you!”, “Hey driver, I’m looking at you!”, or “Can you see me now?”
A group of Montgomery Blair high school students was involved in developing the public education campaign aimed at teens. Collision data from the Four Corners area shows that those under 20 years of age and those over 50 have been involved in the most collisions, mostly during daylight hours.
Montgomery Blair students also can participate in a text message quiz about pedestrian safety to win gift cards and other prizes.
Participating students receive rubber wristbands that reinforce pedestrian safety, featuring messages that include “Make Eye Contact. SWAG,” “Use Crosswalks. SWAG,” “Look Both Ways. SWAG,” “Text + Walk = FAIL” and “Get Hit by a Bus. FAIL.” (SWAG and FAIL are slang for good and bad, respectively.) In addition, SWAG is used as an acronym for See them see you, Wait for the walk, Always use crosswalks, and Go reflective (especially at night). The wristbands are reminders of safe pedestrian behaviors for the teen wearers, as well as other students.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Engineering and Operations, installed a median fence along Randolph Road, between Veirs Mill Road and Colie Drive, to improve pedestrian safety. This section of Randolph Road is located in an area of the County targeted for pedestrian improvements because it experiences a higher number of collisions.
The fence provides a barrier that discourages people from crossing the road in the middle of the block, encouraging them instead to cross at intersections with traffic signals. A similar median barrier was installed late last year on Randolph Road, west of Veirs Mill Road near Selfridge Road.
Installation of the new fence was coordinated with the Division of Highway Services’ Tree Maintenance Section. Staff removed several trees from the median that were in poor health and replaced them with a dozen new trees.
This spring, work will begin to rehabilitate the pedestrian bridge over Old Georgetown Road, between Woodmont Avenue and Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda. Built in 1999, the bridge is about 90 feet long. It connects the Bethesda Place Development to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, the Metropolitan Apartments, an 1,100 space public parking garage, and other facilities.
The bridge will be cleaned and painted and needed structural modifications will be made.
Work to the approach portion of the bridge will include repairing the fascia girders and replacing the cladding and railing support system. The connection to the concrete building at the east end of the approach bridge will also be replaced. On the truss bridge portion, a new drainage system will be installed; concrete pavers will be replaced with stamped lightweight concrete; and the expansion joint at the interface between the truss bridge and the approach bridge will also be replaced.
The project is expected to take eight months to complete. Pedestrian access will be available at all times during construction.
Serious injuries sustained by pedestrians while listening to headphones have more than tripled in six years according to ConsumerReports.org, January 17, 2012, as reported in the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety. The study was published in “Injury Prevention.”
Between January 2004 and June 2011, pedestrians wearing headphones experienced 116 deaths or injuries. Most of the incidents occurred in urban areas, and the average age of the victims was 21. About two-thirds of the victims were male (68 percent) and under 30 years old (67 percent).
As reported on WTOP.com on March 12, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study that found that seniors over 75 years of age are some of the safest drivers on the road.
In the three-year study, the IIHS found drivers over the age of 75 posted a 45 percent drop in fatal accidents per miles traveled – more than any other age group. However, according to the study, drivers over 85 years of age had a higher rate of deadly accidents than any other age group, except teenagers.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School recently released “How Children Get to School: School Travel Patterns from 1969 to 2009,” a research report that provides insight into national trends in U.S. school travel. The report describes how student school travel in the United States changed in the past 40 years..
Among the findings:
From 1995 to 2009, there were no significant changes in school travel trends for students living within one mile of school -- a distance often considered easily walkable and bikeable.
When all students are considered, regardless of their distance from school, the percentage of students driven to school in personal vehicles increased while walking and school bus use dipped slightly and bicycle use stabilized.
Parents driving students and teens driving themselves to school accounted for 10-14 percent of all the personal vehicle trips made during mornings of the school year.
Montgomery County Executive Leggett joined State, local, and regional leaders for a biannual Street Smart effort to promote pedestrian safety. Leggett announced the installation of curb markings along a segment of Piney Branch Road, the first of its kind in Maryland. The markers indicate where it is and is not safe for pedestrians to cross the street in both English and Spanish, reminding pedestrians to think twice before crossing mid-block and risking injury or death. In addition to engineering enhancements, education teams on the street are intervening when they see unsafe behaviors, and County Police are issuing tickets to drivers and pedestrians who are not obeying the law.
The County has moved aggressively since 2007 -- when the Executive introduced his Pedestrian Safety Initiative -- to reduce pedestrian collisions and to make the community safer for walkers, bikers, and motorists. In eight areas of the County with the highest rates of pedestrian collisions – including this Piney Branch corridor -- there was a 56 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions in 2010, when compared to the preceding five-year average. The severity of the collisions also declined.
Visit the County’s website for more information on safe walking.
Our clocks are scheduled to “fall back” to Eastern Standard Time on November 6 and unfortunately, with this change can come an increase in pedestrian collisions. Fewer hours of daylight and people in dark-colored coats can make it even more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians crossing at night or in bad weather.
Motorists are urged to slow down and watch for pedestrians. In any collision between a car and a pedestrian, it’s the pedestrian who will bear the brunt of the impact, regardless of who is at fault.
Pedestrians are urged to remember:
When you’re in the street, you’re in the danger zone!
Stay on guard even when you’re doing everything right.
Don’t expect drivers to see you or react in time.
Before you step off the curb look left-right- and then left again.
Get off the cell phone and stop texting so you’re not distracted.
While crossing, keep looking around for cars.
The County’s aggressive pedestrian safety program has invested millions of dollars in improvements – and the investment is making a difference. In cooperation with the State Highway Administration, the County is working to address engineering improvements to reduce collisions on both State and County roads. Police are also doing their part through enhanced enforcement to ensure that motorists obey the law.
The message to pedestrians is: Stay alert to stay alive in the danger zone.
Additional analysis of data on pedestrian safety released during last month’s CountyStat meeting shows that County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative is working to reduce the number and severity of pedestrian collisions. The data shows improvements in the areas targeted by the County with engineering, enforcement and education efforts.
A decline in severe pedestrian injuries to 24 percent for the first six months of 2011. This percentage has been declining since 2007. Prior to 2007, severe injuries - - where pedestrians were either killed or incapacitated - - exceeded 30 percent of all pedestrian collisions.
In the County’s eight High Incidence Areas (locations with the highest number of pedestrian collisions) there was a 56 percent decline in pedestrian collisions in 2010, as compared to the preceding five-year average of collisions (18 in 2010 and 42 for the preceding five-year average).
As of June 2011, there was a 70 percent decline in pedestrian collision at schools where engineering, education and enforcement actions were completed. Data compared incidents from the three years preceding improvements to the three years afterwards.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro joined community members earlier this month to celebrate pedestrian and traffic safety improvements installed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) along Castle Boulevard from Briggs Chaney Road to Castle Terrace.
On behalf of the community, Navarro had asked MCDOT to study what could be done to address concerns about speeding and safe walking. Nine collisions occurred on the road over a three year period, including two pedestrian crashes. A speed study conducted by MCDOT found that 21 percent of drivers were driving 10 miles or more over the speed limit of 30 miles an hour.
The traffic calming measures installed on Castle Boulevard included new concrete bump-outs and pedestrian refuge islands; modified curbs, gutters and sidewalks to ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; relocated bus stops to improve safety for transit users; enhanced crossings at bus stops; new traffic signs and pavement markings; and additional minor roadway repairs. Engineers ensured that the traffic calming design would not impede biking. The construction company for the project was D&F Construction Company Inc.
See the County’s website for more information on pedestrian safety in Montgomery County.
Looking for a healthy way to start the day? Join thousands of students, parents and community members throughout Montgomery County in celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, October 5. Last year, about 30 schools participated in events designed to promote health, identify safer routes for walking, and improve air quality.
International Walk to School Day was founded in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and children together to promote more walkable communities, safer streets, healthier habits and cleaner air. For those who live too far from school to walk, drive part of the distance, park and then walk the rest of the way.
This year, the focus school in the County will be Captain James Daly Elementary School in Germantown.
For more information about Walk to School Day or organizing an event at your child’s school, visit the County’s website.
The County’s departments of Transportation and Police met with CountyStat to review the progress of County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative, launched in late 2007. CountyStat conducts periodic reviews to analyze the effectiveness of the program.
Data indicates pedestrian collisions and their severity are trending downward where engineering, enforcement or education strategies have been implemented. One of the biggest successes has been the Safe Routes to School program that has significantly reduced pedestrian collisions at more than 50 schools.
At the meeting, Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Arthur Holmes described how the department’s traffic calming efforts have reduced speeds and reduced the number of collisions. Slowing traffic can significantly reduce the severity of collisions. He also reported that one-third of the County’s traffic signals now allow pedestrians more time to cross. County Police Chief Thomas Manger discussed how his department will be enacting a new zero tolerance pedestrian safety strategy with greater emphasis on issuing citations to both drivers and pedestrians who violate pedestrian safety laws.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recently completed several projects as part of the County Executive’s pedestrian safety initiative. Such investments are intended to reduce the more than 400 pedestrian collisions that currently occur each year.
To enhance safety for students on Bethesda Church Road at Damascus High School, MCDOT installed bump-outs and relocated a crosswalk to make a retail center across the street more accessible. Bump-outs narrow the crossing distance on a road and slow motorists through the area.
On Scenery Drive between Golden Meadow Drive and Sceptre Ridge Terrace, MCDOT installed bump-outs and pedestrian refuge and traffic calming islands.
At the Germantown Transit Center on Aircraft Drive, the traffic lanes were modified to install a new crosswalk and refuge island and additional sidewalk connections were completed.
At the Lake Forest Transit Center on Lost Knife Drive, MCDOT installed a new marked crosswalk and median crossing. A decorative fence was added in the median to discourage jaywalking.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill four public member vacancies on the Montgomery County Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee. Three incumbents are eligible to apply for reappointment.
The 17-member Advisory Committee includes six government representatives, one public school representative, one Maryland Municipal League representative and nine general public members who represent various regions of Montgomery County, including one representative of the bicycle advocacy community.
This committee advises the County Executive, County Council, and elected officials on implementation of the County’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative, priorities and needs in the area of pedestrian and bicycle safety and access, gathers information on pedestrian and bicycle safety, and identifies any new issues that may emerge.
Members serve three-year terms without compensation but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. Meetings generally are held every other month on weekday evenings. All members are also expected to serve on various sub-committees, and these meetings will be held as needed.
For more information about pedestrian safety in the County, see the MCDOT website. For information about these committee vacancies, see the County Executive’s website or call Beth Gochrach at 240-777-2528.
On March 29, the Washington region launched its spring Street Smart pedestrian and bicyclist safety campaign. Sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments ( COG ) and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), the Street Smart public awareness and enforcement campaign is in its ninth year. Aimed at reducing the number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths in the Washington metropolitan area, the campaign uses creative radio and television advertising in English and Spanish to reach drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, while targeting them through outdoor and transit advertising on bus shelters and bus sides. In addition, law enforcement and local, county and state agencies will be distributing handouts and tip cards to further spread awareness and educate drivers and pedestrians.
The Street Smart campaign materials and more information about Street Smart are available online, or follow the campaign on Twitter.
As part of an ongoing partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Division of Traffic Engineering and the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA), MCDOT staff replaced traditional signals with pedestrian countdown signals at five intersections on Wisconsin Avenue . The intersections are Leland Street , Willow Lane/ Bethesda Avenue, Elm Street , Elm Street/Waverly Street and Old Georgetown Road .
This area of Wisconsin Avenue experienced 17 pedestrian collisions from 2005 to 2009. The Federal Highway Administration has reported that a conversion to countdown pedestrian signals in urban areas may reduce pedestrian-related crashes by as much as 25 percent. (Source: Desktop Reference for Crash Reduction Factors, Report No. FHWA-SA-08-001, Sept. 2008)
For more information about Montgomery County ’s pedestrian safety program, go to the County’s website.
According to a December 5, 2010 article in the Washington Examiner by Christie Findlay, a study recently released by the Royal Holloway University in London found that primary school children cannot accurately gauge the speed of a vehicle traveling faster than 20 miles per hour. Researchers found that adults can usually judge speeds for vehicles traveling up to 50 miles per hour. The study noted that the problem wasn’t that children weren’t paying attention, but rather with their visual perception.
According to Safe Kids USA, motor vehicle crashes and pedestrian-related incidents are among the leading causes of death to children. That’s why it is so important to educate children about the safest ways to cross the street.
For information on pedestrian safety, go to the County’s website. The website also includes a StreetSmart demonstration about the importance of stopping distances that include a child mannequin named “Bobby.”
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) recently completed pedestrian improvements on Hewitt Avenue in Silver Spring that will enhance safety for transit users and the entire community.
Following a request from a resident, MCDOT installed three pedestrian refuge islands (an area between lanes of traffic where pedestrians may safely wait) along the nearly one-mile stretch of Hewitt Avenue between Georgia Avenue and Blue Spruce Lane.
The refuge islands not only help calm traffic, but also reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians. The improvement project narrowed the travel lanes on the roadway to reduce vehicle speeds. MCDOT also installed marked crosswalks, “State Law: Stop for Pedestrians” signs, lane markings, and raised pavement markers. In addition, staff modified the parking restrictions on Hewitt around the refuge islands and adjusted bus stop locations.
MCDOT analyzed traffic volumes and speeds along Hewitt Avenue and found that 85 percent of vehicles were traveling 37 mph or less. The speed limit is 30 mph. A review of the crash data for five years between 2004 and 2008 revealed a total of 35 non-intersection related crashes. Of these, two involved pedestrians.
This fall’s Street Smart kick-off took place in Arlington, one of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) partners in promoting pedestrian safety throughout the region. The goal of the Street Smart public awareness and enforcement campaign, now in its eighth year, is to reduce the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths in the Washington metropolitan area.
Enforcement of traffic safety laws is a focus of the month-long campaign. In 2009, pedestrian and cyclist deaths accounted for more than one quarter (27 percent) of the region’s traffic-related fatalities. A total of 79 area walkers and bikers lost their lives in traffic crashes, averaging one death every five days. Overall, the region experienced an eight percent decrease in fatalities over the past year.
In response to a request from the South Bradley Hills Civic Association for greater pedestrian access along Bradley Boulevard, MCDOT held a public workshop on November 10 and presented three new alternatives for public input. The proposed project extends from Wilson Lane to Goldsboro Road and includes the following options:
Sidewalk on the north side of Bradley Boulevard with consistent bikeable shoulders
Sidewalk on both sides of Bradley Boulevard with consistent bikeable shoulders
Eight-foot shared use path (reduced from 12 feet) on the north side and a sidewalk on the south side of Bradley Boulevard with consistent bikeable shoulders.
Comments on these latest alternatives will be accepted from the community until December 8. Email or call 240-777-7231. For more information on the project, go to the County’s website.
Earlier this month, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined parents, teachers, and children around the world in celebrating International Walk to School Day. This year’s focus school was East Silver Spring Elementary School (ESS) where Leggett walked with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, and other dignitaries. The annual event promotes safer streets, healthier lifestyles, and cleaner air. Thirty schools across the County participated with various Walk to School Day commemorations.
ESS is one of the most diverse schools in the County and was the first to hold a Walk to School Day celebration in 1999. A legally blind parent at the school, William Smith, was the impetus behind this event, as well as Maryland’s designation of walking as the State exercise. Smith is a tireless advocate for pedestrian safety and was a guest of honor at the Walk to School Day event.
Supporters of the event included Takoma Park Safe Routes to School; Safe Kids Montgomery County; AAA Mid-Atlantic's Foundation for Safety & Education; Federal Express; Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Police Department 3rd District, Department of Transportation, and Public Schools Division of Food and Nutrition Services; and East Silver Spring Elementary School.
Montgomery County is upgrading safety at schools thanks, in part, to the federal Safe Routes to School program created in 2005. The program provides resources to communities to retrofit roads and create sidewalks and bike paths that allow children to safely walk or bike to school. Funding also supports enforcement and education campaigns.
October proved to be a tragic month with four pedestrian fatalities. The County averages about 450 pedestrian collisions a year, and each one is a tragedy.
Motorists are urged to slow down and watch for pedestrians. However, in any collision between a car and a pedestrian, it’s the pedestrian who will bear the brunt of the impact, regardless of who is at fault. Pedestrians are urged to remember:
When you’re in the street, you’re in the danger zone!
Stay on guard even when you’re doing everything right.
Don’t expect drivers to see you or react in time.
Before you step off the curb look left-right- and then left again.
Get off the cell phone so you’re not distracted.
While crossing, keep looking around for cars.
The County has an aggressive pedestrian safety program that has invested millions of dollars in improvements – and they’re making a difference. In cooperation with the State Highway Administration, the County is working to address engineering improvements to reduce collisions on both State and County roads. Police are also doing their part through enhanced enforcement to ensure that motorists obey the law.
The message to pedestrians is: Stay alert to stay alive in the danger zone.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett celebrated the completion of a pedestrian refuge island on Grubb Road that is enhancing safety, not only for children at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School (ES), but for the entire community. This innovative improvement has successfully been used by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) in other locations and has proven to be effective in reducing motorist speeds and making it safer for pedestrians to cross. The project was initiated by a request from two members of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. The school is located across Grubb Road from the Rock Creek Shopping Center, which is a popular destination for students and residents.
The pedestrian refuge island located between lanes of traffic provides pedestrians a safe place to wait for traffic to clear, reduces the crossing distance for pedestrians, and narrows travel lanes on the roadway to reduce vehicle speeds. MCDOT also installed a marked crosswalk, school crossing signs, “State Law: Stop for Pedestrians” signs, lane markings and raised pavement markers.
Before deciding to install the refuge island, MCDOT analyzed traffic volumes and speeds along Grubb Road. It found a high volume of traffic using the road, with 38 percent of vehicles traveling at 30 mph or more on the 25 mph road, and seven percent of vehicles traveling 35 mph or more. MCDOT will conduct a re-evaluation of traffic speeds this fall.
Announces Installation of New Permanent Speed Camera at White Oak Middle School
To promote pedestrian safety before school began for nearly 142,000 local children on Monday, August 30, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the installation of a new permanent speed camera at White Oak Middle School. This is the County’s 61st speed camera and the first new permanent one to be installed since 2009.White Oak Middle School was selected because traditional enforcement practices have not been successful in slowing traffic and reducing collisions at this location. Police also announced that they will be enhancing traffic enforcement activities in school zones during the first few weeks of school.
For decades, Police have combated persistent speeding on New Hampshire Avenue near the school, an area that has a history of serious personal injury collisions. However, they have been unable to change driver behavior using traditional traffic enforcement methods. The new speed camera is expected to help reduce speeds not only near White Oak Middle School, but to have an impact at St Johns Catholic School, Jackson Road Elementary, the Martin Luther King Recreational Park and Swim Center and Springbrook High School, all of which are located within three-quarters of a mile of the camera.
First installed in Montgomery County in 2007, permanent speed cameras have proven to be a deterrent to unsafe driving by reducing speeding. Montgomery County also uses mobile and portable cameras in residential areas and school zones with speed limits of 35 mph or less. All locations are marked with “Photo Enforced” signs. A list of the speed enforcement areas is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safespeed.
Staying safe while crossing the street is the responsibility of both pedestrians and drivers. As Fall approaches and daylight hours shorten, the danger of being involved in a pedestrian collision increases. The following advice will help you stay safe:
Myth: A green light means that it is safe to cross.
Fact: A green light or pedestrian walk signal means that crossing is allowed. But, to be safe, first stop and look for cars. Before stepping off the curb, look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT. When it is safe to cross, continue looking left and right. Be especially alert for vehicles making a right turn on red.
Myth: You are safe in a crosswalk.
Fact: Before crossing in a crosswalk, stop at the curb and look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for cars. When it is clear, cross and keep looking left and right.
Myth: If you see the driver, the driver sees you.
Fact: The driver may not see you. Make certain the driver sees you and stops before you cross in front of the car. Try to make eye contact with the driver.
Myth: The driver will stop if you are in a crosswalk, at a green light or a pedestrian walk signal.
Fact: The driver may not see you. The driver’s view may be blocked. The driver may run a traffic light illegally. The driver may turn without looking for pedestrians.
Myth: Wearing white at night makes you visible to drivers.
Fact: Even if pedestrians wear white clothes, drivers will have a difficult time seeing them at night. Carry a flashlight. Wear retro-reflective clothing. Walk facing traffic.
The street is a danger zone. Remember, when crossing a street always:
Stop at the edge of parked cars, the curb, or other vehicles.
Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for moving cars.
Cross when clear, and keep looking left and right.
Walk, don’t run or dart, into the street.
Look for signs that a car is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of motor, wheels turning).
Children and teens should be reminded that there are different rules for exiting public transit buses, like Ride On and Metrobus, as compared to school buses. When school bus riders exit the bus, they should cross in front of waiting school buses. Passengers exiting Ride On or Metro buses should wait to cross the street until the bus has departed.
Motorists are urged to watch for children traveling to and from school. It is difficult to predict their actions, but it is the driver’s responsibility to be extra cautious, anticipate the unexpected and be prepared to stop.
Motorists should also know the school bus law and understand the flashing light system that school bus drivers use:
Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload children. Motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean the bus has stopped and children are boarding or exiting the bus. Motorists must come to a complete stop a safe distance from the bus and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the arm is retracted, and the bus begins moving before they start driving again.
Beginning the week of August 23, residents and employees in the vicinity of the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) site – bordered by Colesville Road, the Metro Red Line Station, Wayne Avenue and Ramsey Avenue – are advised that crews will begin nighttime concrete deliveries and work between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every other week through January. Working at night will keep the public’s exposure to truck traffic at a minimum and increase safety for transit users near the site.
The concrete work is expected to take place during the following weeks: September 7 and 21; October 5 and 19; November 2, 16 and 30; December 14 and 28; and January 11 and 25. The concrete work is weather dependent, so dates may vary.
Each weekly concrete “pour” will deliver about 600 cubic yards of concrete – equivalent to about 65 loads. Twenty trucks will go back and forth between the concrete plant and the SSTC to deliver the concrete.
The Montgomery County Police Department is once again participating in the regional “Smooth Operator” campaign, which began Sunday, June 6, and will take place one week out of each of the summer months and two weeks in September.
The campaign targets aggressive drivers in Maryland, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania. Aggressive driving behaviors include: speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changing, failing to yield the right-of-way, and running red lights and stop signs.
The 2010 campaign will take place during the following weeks:
July 4 – 10
August 1 – 7
September 5 – 18
During these waves, Montgomery County Police will be especially committed to enforcing aggressive driving laws and traffic violations.
On March 23, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett welcomed regional leaders to Silver Spring for the launch of the spring Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign. This year’s campaign focuses on the message “speed kills,” which was graphically demonstrated using a foam-padded, child-sized dummy. A pick-up truck operator driving at 25 mph and was able to stop in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian dummy. However, at 35 mph, the vehicle collided with the dummy.
Leggett explained that speeding on residential streets and in school zones is unacceptable. A recent study of areas in the County where traffic calming measures were implemented showed they reduced speeds by as much as 10 mph – which has translated into a 70 to 100 percent reduction in collisions.
The direct connection between speed and collisions is why speed cameras are so effective in improving safety. A study has shown the cameras are effectively slowing traffic, by as much as 70 percent – and reducing collisions.
Winter, unfortunately, is not over yet so the next time it snows, residents and business owners are asked to assist disabled and elderly residents who may need help in clearing snow and ice from their sidewalks.
County law requires all residential and commercial property owners to clear their public sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. All residents or property owners are strongly encouraged to be good neighbors by clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses, as well as assisting those who may not be physically able to do so.
The South Silver Spring Pedestrian Linkages Project was completed in December when officials opened Bottleworks Lane, a one-way street connecting East-West Highway and Kennett Street. The roadway runs beside Gramax Towers, a 15-story former office building that stood vacant for 15 years before being converted into 182 housing units. This key County project is designed to enhance pedestrian safety, business development and overall livability in an emerging South Silver Spring community.
Developed by the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs over ten years, the project consists of eight segments of convenient, safe and attractive pedestrian walkway links through South Silver Spring. The links help overcome the inconvenience and isolation created by the unusually large block pattern in the area.
The name “Bottleworks Lane” was selected for the final segment in recognition of the former Canada Dry Factory that was located near this link. Bottleworks Lane includes pedestrian lighting, parking meters and a bifiltration structure that collects runoff before it enters the storm water management system.
In 2006, Montgomery County received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for the Silver Spring Pedestrian Linkages Project.
More information about the project is available on the County website.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett launched a new pedestrian education program along Piney Branch Road between Flower Avenue and the Prince George’s County line, as part of the County’s overall strategy to make pedestrian safety improvements where the most pedestrian collisions in the County occur. Between January 2003 and December 2007, the 1.6 mile Piney Branch corridor had 26 pedestrian-or bicycle-related crashes, one of which was a fatality.
Pedestrian safety promotion teams are intercepting pedestrians who are engaged in risky behaviors and providing them with information about safe walking practices. The teams are working several days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas and distributing information on safe walking, driving and biking in both English and Spanish. They are also providing reflective items to help pedestrians be more visible in the dark. In addition to on-street interventions, the teams are conducting pedestrian safety education at stores, apartment complexes, organized community events, and religious institutions.
The education initiative also includes ads at local movie theaters and on Ride On buses and bus shelters.
Go to the County’s website for more information about engineering and enforcement efforts to increase pedestrian safety along Piney Branch Road.
To raise awareness about this fall’s regional Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign, Montgomery County Police challenged drivers to see what it would take to get them to pay attention to pedestrians and yield to those in crosswalks. Using the full-size costumed characters McGruff and Sparky, Police conducted an enforcement effort in Silver Spring. Despite the undisputed visibility of the “dogs,” some motorists still failed to yield to them in the crosswalk, especially as they turned right or left into the path of the oncoming pedestrians. Police officers issued tickets to motorists who failed to yield and they also distributed educational materials to pedestrians who did not observe safe walking rules.
To see Sparky and McGruff in action, go to the County’s website.
The State Highway Administration, along with local officials, recently celebrated the completion of a $7 million project to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue. The area, known as the Takoma-Langley Crossroads, handles 95,000 vehicles daily and a very high number of pedestrians, including some 3,500 bus passengers.
The investments involved reconstructing the medians and installing barriers to discourage jaywalking and channel pedestrian to the crosswalks. Additional streetscape improvements were made throughout the vicinity, such as contrasting colored crosswalks and walkways, extensive signage, countdown signals, and ramps to meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Sidewalk gaps were constructed and other sidewalk segments were widened to meet ADA standards where needed.
The State resurfaced the roadways and reconstructed curbs, gutters, and the storm water maintenance system. Phase Two of the project will be the construction of the Takoma-Langley Park Transit Center at the location currently occupied by a local restaurant. This Center will serve transit riders with bus bays and raised platforms. Eventually the Center will be a part of the Purple Line which will serve this area with an east-west light rail connection.
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation recently completed a project in Friendship Heights with private sector developers that significantly enhances pedestrian, transit and traffic access in this dense, urban center.
The improvements include reconstructing the median on Wisconsin Avenue between Willard and Western avenues; adding pedestrian and streetscape features; resurfacing pavement; and adding new lane markings to create an additional left turn lane for southbound traffic at Western Avenue.
As a condition of their site plan, New England Development Company reconstructed curbing and installed streetscaping features on the west side of Wisconsin, as called for in the Friendship Heights Sector Plan. The Chevy Chase Land Company did similar work on the east side.
For more information on other infrastructure projects, visit the County’s website.
On October 7, County Executive Isiah Leggett, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and other dignitaries joined Bethesda Elementary School students, staff and parents on their walk to school to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Bethesda Elementary is weaving this year’s safe walking campaign into their Green Schools curriculum, with a special emphasis on fitness and wellness. Fire engines and “Sparky” the fire dog were special attractions for the students. Officials also celebrated a new sidewalk built by Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation next to the school at the corner of Arlington Road and Wilson Lane. The new walkway improves pedestrian access and safety.
This year, Walk to School Day was celebrated by 5,000 schools throughout the U.S. and 40 countries around the world. More than 22 schools in the county participated. Events focused on the need for safer routes for walking or bicycling and emphasized increased physical activity among children.
For more information about pedestrian safety and the County’s Safe Routes to School program, go to the County’s website.
Pedestrian safety becomes an even greater concern during the annual change from Daylight Savings Time to Eastern Standard Time, which occurs this year on November 1. Pedestrian collisions spike during the winter months and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal pedestrian/motor vehicle collisions occur most often between 6 p.m. and midnight.
To stay safe, pedestrians are encouraged to wear reflective materials at dusk and night. They should never assume drivers can see them, even when in the beam of a vehicle’s headlights. Drivers should slow down and be aware that pedestrians can be virtually invisible at night or in bad weather.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett launched a public education campaign at the Leisure World Plaza Shopping Center to raise awareness about pedestrian safety in parking lots, especially for seniors. Over the last three and one-half years, there have been 1,496 pedestrian collisions in the county, and of those, about 22 percent, or 324 collisions, have occurred in parking lots. Pedestrian safety in parking lots has received little attention, either regionally or nationally.
Drivers 45 years of age and older and pedestrians ages 18 to 29 were disproportionately involved in parking lot collisions compared to the percentage of these age groups in the general population and among licensed Maryland drivers.
The County has prepared an online toolkit to facilitate conversations with neighbors, civic associations, community groups, religious organizations, service groups and others about staying safe in parking lots. The kit includes a 10-minute downloadable PowerPoint presentation, an article for civic or school newsletters or online list serves, a tip sheet for drivers and pedestrians about how to stay safe, and ways to get neighbors and friends involved.
For the online materials or more information, go to the County’s website.
With school back in session, residents are encouraged to make the safety of children a top priority. All drivers should be on the lookout for young pedestrians walking to and from school. Parents can help by reminding their children to:
Cross streets at marked crosswalks, look both ways before crossing the street, and avoid crossing the street between parked cars;
Walk on the left side facing traffic if there is no sidewalk and it is necessary to walk in the street;
Follow the directions of crossing guards at schools, who are there to assist and protect students; and
Wear helmets if they are riding bicycles to school. Riders should also follow all traffic rules and signs.
Drivers are reminded to:
Stop at least 20 feet from school buses that are stopped with flashing red lights. Passing a school bus with flashing red lights incurs a fine of $570 and three points.
Slow down and obey speed limits. Automated speed enforcement cameras are operating in some school zones where speeding has been documented. If stopped by an officer for speeding in a school zone, drivers may incur a fine of up to $1,000 and five points.
Parents can help if they:
Accompany young children to bus stops and remain with them until the bus arrives; and
Obey the “No Parking, No Stopping, and No Standing” signs in a School Zone when dropping off or picking up students. A violation incurs a fine of $50.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently announced the completion of pedestrian and traffic safety improvements along an approximately two-mile stretch of Fairland Road between Randolph Road and Old Columbia Pike. Last year, on his way to an event on Randolph Road announcing the use of speed camera revenues for pedestrian safety improvements, Leggett came upon a collision scene where a pedestrian died near the intersection of Fairland Road and Cedar Creek Lane.
The County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) worked with neighborhood residents to develop and implement enhanced safety measures. The changes included increasing police enforcement of speed limits; installing more speed limit signs and larger replacements for existing signs; installing on-pavement speed limit markings; and trimming overgrown foliage. In addition, MCDOT installed:
Bus stop improvements near Colefair Drive, Fairridge Drive, and Westwind Drive that included bump-outs to calm traffic, bus pads with kneewalls, sidewalk connections, crosswalks, and signing;
Bump-outs with a crosswalk and signing near the Twin Farms Swim Club;
Bump-outs at Partridge Drive; and
Traffic signals at Tamarack and Serpentine roads.
The net results of these efforts are:
Average travel speeds have been reduced from nearly 50 miles per hour (MPH) to about 40 MPH;
Well-signed and marked bus stop crossings enhance safety for transit passengers;
Signalized crossings at Tamarack Road and Serpentine Way enhance safety for both pedestrians and motorists; and
Traffic signals provide gaps in traffic, giving motorists traveling into or out of neighborhoods at non-signalized locations more opportunity to turn onto Fairland Road.