Rising Death Toll Inspires Pedestrian Safety Initiative

<p>After a string of pedestrian fatalities, Montgomery County, Maryland, is pushing a broad plan to improve pedestrian safety.</p>
December 7, 2007, 10am PST | Nate Berg
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"Montgomery County would give pedestrians more time to cross busy intersections, build 10.5 miles of sidewalks each year and aggressively ticket jaywalkers and reckless drivers under a $32.4 million initiative announced yesterday by County Executive Isiah Leggett to address what officials called an epidemic of pedestrian fatalities."

"In the past two weeks, four Montgomery pedestrians have been killed, including a 38-year-old Rockville man who died Monday night after being struck in a crosswalk by a Metrobus. Overall, 16 pedestrians have died in collisions this year."

"The far-reaching initiative, which needs County Council approval for funding, would target business districts in neighborhoods such as Silver Spring and Bethesda that have become increasingly congested as parts of the county have evolved from suburban to urban."

"Under the plan -- inspired by recommendations from the county's Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, council member Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) and a group of Silver Spring civic associations -- the county would streamline the process for building sidewalks, increase street lighting, add engineering staff, step up enforcement of traffic safety measures in areas where there have been a high number of collisions and seek to reduce the number of incidents in those areas by 20 percent."

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Published on Thursday, December 6, 2007 in The Washington Post
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