Riemer Asks State Highway Administration To Implement Pedestrian Safety Changes

Fixes include making lanes narrower and lowering speed limits

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Hans Riemer

DAN SCHERE

Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer Friday asked the state to implement a series of reforms aimed at reducing the number of vehicle-pedestrian collisions.

Fourteen pedestrians have been fatally struck this year in Montgomery County, with the latest occurring last Thursday when Rockville resident Dona Cicy H Amarasekara was hit while crossing Old Georgetown Road.

In a letter to Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) head Greg Slater, Riemer pointed to a Nov. 13 public hearing between the SHA administrator and the council, in which several suggestions for reducing the number of pedestrian collisions were discussed.

One of those suggestions was reducing the lane width on state roads to 10 feet in urban areas, which Riemer noted has been the standard for county roads since 2014. Riemer also wrote that the speed limit on those roads should be capped at 25 miles per hour, which is also consistent with current county road regulations in urban areas.

In addition, Riemer recommended reducing the speed limit on Georgia Avenue in Aspen Hill from the current rate of 45 miles per hour. It was in that stretch that four John F. Kennedy High School students were hit on Oct. 9 while waiting for their bus, seriously injuring 15-year-old Devin Garcia.

The recommendations in the letter also include reconfiguring state roads to conform with the county’s bicycle master plan, which the council passed last Tuesday.

Riemer wrote that he had included a list of individual locations that were of most concern to council members, following the discussion between the council and Slater last month. At that hearing, council member Craig Rice had asked Slater to make sure that SHA undertakes a comprehensive study of all state highway pedestrian crossings in the county that are frequently used by students

“These are kids that are being forced into dangerous situations because we’re not taking those next steps,” Rice said.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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