Friday, February 22, 2013

Dangerous conditions in Montgomery County should be improved

I have been taking photos and mentally preparing posts all week, but haven't had a chance to write them up.

One thing I do want to do is join Greater Greater Washington in writing about the sad, preventable traffic deaths of three adults in our county in the past three weeks. These collisions happened near Wheaton -- one in Aspen Hill and two in White Oak. These two other communities are similar to Wheaton in many ways, with large fast roads running through them and too much traffic, but dissimilar in that Wheaton has more stores and restaurants and has a metro station.

There needs to be some public outrage about these deaths and the lack of response to them. In the Wheaton Patch story about this, the police person interviewed gave a totally inappropriate response almost blaming the victims of this crash for the accidents. I hope some motion can start in our community to show the police that they need to hold drivers responsible for creating conditions that are conducive to other life existing on the streets.

The problem is that traffic regularly travels on Georgia Avenue at completely unsafe speeds. We need some speed limit enforcement on Georgia at least from Silver Spring downtown north through Aspen Hill. Drivers should also be pulled over and cited by police for not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

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This topic resonates with me strongly and I was thinking of it this morning when I snapped the photo below of the landscape walking along Georgia Avenue in Wheaton. The traffic was going past very fast and the sidewalk was positioned directly alongside the road.

Society could really improve life by making it easier and more pleasant to walk.
Traffic on Georgia Ave in Wheaton at 9:15am on a weekday.

8 comments:

  1. You are 100 percent right about this. Unfortunately, our Department of Transportation (and the State Highway Administration) think their most important job is to move as many cars as quickly as possible. The results compromise not only our safety but our quality of life.

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    Replies
    1. That is a problem! How do we get them to believe that their job is also to make Wheaton a nice place to walk around?

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  2. Completely agree with you. One of the biggest problem areas I've noticed is Amherst at Reedie, just by the metro. Anyone heading West on University Blvd who wants to turn onto Georgia Ave. South has to divert onto Amherst. It goes from about 40 mph on University to what SHOULD be a neighborhood speed of 20mph or less. I have been tapped as a pedestrian twice now (and I'm a safe walker). After the second time, I contacted local political representatives, MDoT, etc. and nothing has been done. When the Safeway is done and new residents move into the new high rise, hopefully more voices get involved. No matter what, Wheaton needs help with pedestrian safety.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that is a big problem. Thanks for your description of it as I had not thought of that as a cause for the rude drivers on Amherst.

      The whole intersection of Amherst and University is a problem from a non-car perspective. To get a walk signal to cross University requires pedestrians to press a button on a pole. The pole on the southeast corner is impossible to reach without walking behind a huge metal traffic barrier onto sometimes muddy ground, on a slope. It is SO inconvenient.

      I emailed the State Highway Administration about this recently and got a response back that they will change the intersection "to be compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The project is scheduled to be in construction by December 2014, weather and scheduling permitting." So maybe that will help. I'll blog about this whole situation soon, thanks for the idea.

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  3. I just discovered your blog through a reference on Wheaton Patch. Great!
    It has occurred to me that when the planned interchange between Randolph and Georgia is completed, it's intended purpose, to eliminate the bottleneck at this intersection, may also have the unintended result of speeding and more pedestrian accidents.

    Kathryn Fabrizio Eszeki

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