All-Pedestrian Traffic Signal Improves Pedestrian Safety in Downtown Bethesda

A new traffic signal in downtown Bethesda stops car traffic on all sides so pedestrians can cross in all directions at once.

The all-pedestrian traffic signal was installed this month at the intersection of Arlington Rd. and Bethesda Ave. 

It is part of a larger plan to make the entire Arlington Rd. corridor more pedestrian-friendly, said MCDOT spokeswoman Esther Bowring.  

After three reported pedestrian-car accidents in under two months, parents of Bethesda Elementary School students started a petition in 2013 to make Arlington Rd. safer for pedestrians.  

The petition called for “No Turn on Red” signs at high-traffic pedestrian areas, more visible crosswalk markings, and speed cameras on Arlington Rd., among other actions.   

Following the petition, “MCDOT conducted a comprehensive study of the Arlington Rd. corridor in Bethesda, and that study made a number of recommendations to improve pedestrian and traffic safety,” Bowring said.  

The county has already re-striped crosswalks, installed new pedestrian signs, school crossing signs and “Speed Limit 25, School Days” signs, and deployed a speed monitoring awareness radar trailer, all on Arlington Rd.  

The traffic signal at the Elm St. intersection will be reconstructed to make space for a wider sidewalk in fiscal year 2019.  

Bowring says MCDOT is actively assessing the impact of these changes on pedestrian safety. 

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About Marisa Fried

Marisa Fried graduated with an Associate's Degree in Communications from Montgomery College in May 2018. She is excited to have her first reporting job at Montgomery Community Media, and looks forward to being a community builder and watchdog for Montgomery County.

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