A group of pedestrian safety advocates want Montgomery County leaders to change traffic laws and improve intersections in an effort they say will improve safety for students walking to schools.
The letter, issued by the Action Committee for Transit, Washington Area Bicycle Association, and a group of parents seeking traffic changes around Bethesda Elementary School, lists 10 steps for improving unsafe walking conditions the group says costs Montgomery residents millions of dollars a year.
Those steps include expanding school zones, establishing a maximum speed limit of 20 miles per hour during school hours in school zones, doubling fines for speeding in school zones, giving pedestrians an exclusive window to cross and prohibiting right turns on red during school hours.
The group cited the Dec. 11 pedestrian incident on River Road and the Feb. 27 collision near Bethesda Elementary (in which a baby in a stroller was struck by a car but not injured) as two countywide examples of why the changes should be made.
The letter was sent to Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Art Holmes.
Since the rash of reported pedestrian collisions in the first half of 2013, police have ratcheted up enforcement. Today, Montgomery County Police started a series of pedestrian enforcement “stings” that will continue throughout May. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today, plain clothes police in bright clothing will cross a busy intersection in Aspen Hill in marked crosswalks, issuing citations to drivers that do not yield.