SHA Says River Road Can’t Be Made into School Zone at Whitman High (VIDEO)

The State Highway Administration wrote Montgomery County officials last week that River Road near Walt Whitman High School cannot be made a school zone, which was sought in an effort to decrease speed limits along the road.

Several members of a family died in a traffic accident on River Road driving to an event at the high school. In August, Ogulcan Atakoglu pleaded guilty to three counts of vehicular manslaughter in the February 2016 crash. In December, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Council President Roger Berliner and others wrote SHA in March asking for an update to improvements on the road.

In the SHA’s response to the letter, the agency said River Road — a state-maintained highway — does not meet the criteria for a school zone because Whitman High does not front on the road; rather, the school fronts on Braeburn Parkway.

Berliner told reporters Monday that he would follow up with SHA about the school zone issue.

“We are told that in Prince George’s County, there was a school very similarly situated that did receive a school zone approval … No one debates the fact that Whitman High School is not on River Road, But it’s also true, half the people who enter, enter onto Braeburn, from River Road,” Berliner said.

In its letter, SHA said it was making $300,000 in improvements to River Road, including a restriction that Braeburn Parkway traffic must turn right onto River Road. The agency also said it was studying a community request that the intersection be moved east where there is an existing marked crosswalk.



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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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