Resident Talks Troubled Crosswalk

by BethesdaNow.com — November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am 2,083 4 Comments


Some residents use a shopping cart from a nearby grocery store as protection, others splash a cup of coffee on cars with drivers who don’t follow the rules, but almost everyone has their own method for maneuvering the crosswalk on Wisconsin Avenue at Stanford Street.

The crossing, on a busy stretch of Wisconsin Avenue between Bradley Boulevard and Leland Street, has no traffic light. State law says drivers must yield to pedestrians, but residents say they rarely do in the hustle and bustle of a daily commute.

“People do drive it like a highway,” said Chevy Chase resident Tracey Johnstone. “Cars start charging and they just want to keep going. I know the county knows it’s a problem.”

Johnstone, an officer of the Action Committee for Transit, will speak about the crosswalk at the monthly meeting of the transportation advocacy group. The meeting is titled “Montgomery County Doesn’t Want You to Cross the Street,” and includes two other examples of what residents say are dangerous crosswalks.

Another ACT officer will talk about the Gaithersburg crossing at Route 118 and Wisteria Drive, where a Seneca Valley High School student was struck and killed while walking to school on Oct. 31.

Pedestrians at Wisconsin Avenue, many walking to the Post Office on the west side or the popular Trader Joe’s grocery store on the east side, typically wait for no traffic to cross, though it can be difficult to find a gap in southbound traffic during rush hour.

Johnstone said she had a near incident on Sunday. Two of three drivers stopped their cars and allowed her to cross, as nearby signs warn is the law. Johnstone said a third driver kept going, almost running her over, despite making eye contact.

He made it another roughly 30 feet before having to stop at the red light at Bradley Boulevard, Johnstone said.

“It’s part of a larger problem of no traffic or speeding enforcement around Bethesda,” Johnstone said. “Now that we have construction and Woodmont is cut off, I think cars are all the more irritable now in Bethesda.”

Johnstone suggested an overhead crosswalk light similar to other cities, where pedestrians could hit a cross button and the lights would flash to alert drivers.

The ACT meeting for November is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the DHHS Silver Spring Center (8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.)


  • http://www.merujo.com Melissa Jordan

    Yes!! I stop for pedestrians at this scary spot all the time, and I’m sincerely appalled – and sometimes horrified – by the behavior of so many drivers that barrel through. I always flinch when I approach the spot, hoping no one gets hurt.

    VERY glad someone is talking about this *before* someone gets injured badly or killed there!!

  • Dan

    I use this crosswalk all the time. It really is bizarre, and unacceptable, that drivers do not stop – the police could make a MINT writing tickets there.

  • william

    i agree cars need to be stop but i also think people in bethesda cross the street as if they think they will win if struck by a car. i was taught to look both way before crossing the street. i drive there all the time and i do yield for pedestrians, but they will walk in front of cars as if the cars have no right being on the road. with that being said cars need to slow down and always yield to your neighbors, they deserve to make it home safe just like you.

  • Ben

    What “right of way” means is precisely that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right to step in front of the car. The car must stop and wait for the pedestrian to cross if a pedestrian is in the roadway (on the same side of the road, or in the left-hand lane on the other side), even if the pedestrian has not yet reached the lane the car is in.

    Only if the car is so close to the crosswalk that it cannot stop in time is the pedestrian required to yield.


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