Day of Action Set for Nov. 3rd Following Traffic Fatalities
This event is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. at the Little Falls Library near the communities along Massachusetts Avenue and River Road in Bethesda that have been the scenes of fatal traffic accidents in recent weeks.
On Aug. 28, Tim Holden, a bicyclist, was killed in a crash on Massachusetts Avenue. On Oct. 21, Marge Wydro, a pedestrian, was killed trying to cross River Road.
“In the wake of these two tragedies, residents have been asking, ‘What can we do now?’ And my answer in this moment is this: We have to mobilize. We have to show the State how important getting these two roads right is for our community,” said Berliner, who is the Council’s representative on the countywide Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.
The Day of Action will allow local residents and elected officials to gather and to raise awareness about the traffic issues on this corridor. The Maryland Secretary of Transportation, the State Highway Administrator and the District 16 representatives to the Maryland General Assembly have been invited. Berliner reached out to Secretary Pete Rahn personally. Berliner and Delegate Marc Korman had previously jointly asked the State Highway Administration (SHA) to perform a traffic safety study on Massachusetts Avenue. That study that is currently underway.
“The loss of even one life as a result of a pedestrian or auto accident along River Road is unacceptable and we have to show the State Highway Administration how we feel,” said Phyllis Edelman, president of the Springfield Civic Association. “The SHA appears more concerned with following old-school engineering guidelines than the safety of our community members.”
“For the hundreds of families living in the neighborhoods around River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, traffic issues and road safety are of the utmost importance,” said Nicky Goraya, president of the Glen Mar Park Community Association. “These arteries not only serve a huge volume of cars, but also are navigated by many bikers and pedestrians without proper safeguards, such as bike lanes, lights, sidewalks and crosswalks. It is essential that Montgomery County and the State of Maryland take the necessary action immediately to make these roads safe for all who use them.”
Darrel Drobnich, chair of the County’s Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee said: “As road users, everyone needs to be worried about safety whether in a motor vehicle, on a bike or walking. It is essential that local communities, the County and State work together to see that there is good communication and seamless implementation of engineering upgrades and comprehensive education and enforcement programs to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Montgomery County Police also have increased their efforts on traffic safety. On Tuesday, police officers conducted distracted driving stings on River Road, citing dozens of drivers for being on their phones. Distracted driving is responsible for 80 percent of crashes in Montgomery County.
“I want to commend the Police for their commitment to enforcing traffic laws effectively,” said Berliner, “But safe roads come from being committed to the three E’s: education, enforcement and engineering. We need everyone to work together to make safer streets a reality, and we need the state to be a partner.”