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County Lauds Targeted Pedestrian Safety Program

by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 9:30 am 651 0

Montgomery County says pedestrian collisions have decreased 12 percent since 2009, when County Executive Isiah Leggett’s 2007 Pedestrian Safety Initiative was first funded.

Leggett (D) and others celebrated the five-year anniversary of the program at a press conference yesterday in Silver Spring. Within the 12 percent decrease, county officials say there has been a 21 percent drop in severe collisions when pedestrians are incapacitated or killed.

“In 2007, we charted a course to dramatically improve pedestrian safety and accessibility inMontgomery County – a course that is proving to be successful,” Leggett said in a prepared release. “We are seeing significant reductions in pedestrian collisions in areas where we have taken a comprehensive and targeted approach.  Every resident deserves a truly walkable community where pedestrians can safely cross the street.  Our challenge in the future is to continually reassess what we are doing, keep what’s working well and find new and creative ways to significantly expand our pedestrian safety efforts.”

The county identified 10 High Incidence Areas (HIAs) in which it says collisions have dropped by 45 percent since education, engineering and enforcement strategies first got almost $5 million of funding in July 2009.

Wisconsin Avenue, between Montgomery Avenue and Leland Avenue, was one of the HIAs as well as Old Georgetown Road between Fairmont Avenue and Edgemoor Lane.

Almost $2.2 million has been dedicated in the last three years to audits of those areas. Leggett said more emphasis has been put on street lighting, upgrading pedestrian signals, completing traffic calming projects and enforcing traffic laws in the HIAs, resulting in nearly 3,000 citations and about 1,000 warnings to pedestrians and motorists.

This year there have been six pedestrian fatalities in the county, down from 11 last year and a high of 19 in 2008.

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