Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro today joined community members 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.
“Just last month at a CountyStat meeting, we learned about the successes of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative I introduced in 2007 – and its results in reducing the number and severity of pedestrian collisions,” said Leggett. “The traffic calming measures that MCDOT has installed on Castle Boulevard are part of this overall effort. Over three years, we’ve seen an 18 percent decline in pedestrian collisions and reductions in speeding where traffic calming and enhanced pedestrian facilities were constructed. It’s very encouraging that incremental changes really are making a difference in improving safety and walkability throughout the County.”
On behalf of the community, Navarro had asked MCDOT to study what could be done on Castle Boulevard to address concerns about speeding and safe walking. The area has a significant transit ridership. Nine collisions occurred on Castle Boulevard 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.
“These pedestrian safety enhancements on Castle Blvd. are an important step toward improving the quality of life in the Briggs Chaney neighborhood,” said Councilmember Nancy Navarro. “Parents should be confident that their children are safe from speeding cars when they are walking home from school and these improvements will provide that peace of mind.”
Last month, CountyStat looked at the Pedestrian Safety Initiative and its impact on reducing pedestrian collisions. The analysis found that:
• Prior to 2007, severe injuries - - where pedestrians were either killed or incapacitated from their collisions - - exceeded 30 percent of all pedestrian collisions. This percentage has been declining since 2007 to the current rate of 24 percent for the first six months of 2011.
• 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 compared to 42 for the preceding five-year average).
• As of June 2011, there was a 70 percent decline in pedestrian collision from the three years preceding engineering, education and enforcement actions at the first schools addressed under the Safe Routes to Schools program.
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; installed new traffic signs and pavement markings; and made 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.
For more information about pedestrian safety in Montgomery County, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk.
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