SEABROOK – Pedestrian improvements are coming to the Addison Road Metro Station in the wake of advocacy by local delegates. The State Highway Administration (SHA) announced last Tuesday its plans to install pedestrian safety measures at two intersections, MD 586 and Turkey Branch Parkway in Montgomery County and MD 214 (Central Avenue) and Addison Road […]
SEABROOK – Pedestrian improvements are coming to the Addison Road Metro Station in the wake of advocacy by local delegates.
The State Highway Administration (SHA) announced last Tuesday its plans to install pedestrian safety measures at two intersections, MD 586 and Turkey Branch Parkway in Montgomery County and MD 214 (Central Avenue) and Addison Road Metro Station in Seat Pleasant. Although a light with a crosswalk exists just east of the Metro station at Addison Road, pedestrians frequently cross right in front of the station, where there are curb cuts and a median for standing. Last summer, an 18-year-old teacher and 17-year-old musician were struck and killed at the crossing in separate incidents.
SHA attributes the fatal accidents to driver error, but local advocates say the crossing is extremely dangerous. According to Maryland Del. Erek Barron (D-24), the area is an “attractive nuisance” because it appears to be a safe area to cross when it actually is not.
SHA has now decided to add a full-color signal at the intersection with a button for pedestrians to push to bring vehicles to a stop, along with a countdown for pedestrians to know how long they have until the light turns green again. Design planning for the signal has already begun, and installation is expected mid-spring, according to SHA.
“Pedestrians and bicyclists make up one-fifth of the 500 traffic fatalities in Maryland every year, which is disproportionate when compared to how much we drive,’ said SHA Administrator Gregory Slater. “SHA is continually seeking engineering solutions to help protect our most vulnerable travelers and influence behavior to enhance safety.”
Barron said the traffic signal is long overdue, and said he and Sen. Joanne Benson have pushed for improvements to the crossing for a long time. Barron met with various SHA personnel as well as officials, most recently Gov. Larry Hogan to plead his case.
“Less than two weeks ago, I met with the governor and took the opportunity to discuss the need for attention to our inner beltway communities, transit oriented development around our Metro stations and along MD 214, and the crosswalk at Addison Road Metro,” Barron said. “I have to give the governor credit for his prompt response and I know the community appreciates it.”
SHA said it will also be sending “safety ambassadors” to the area to educate pedestrians and bicyclists about the new signal. According to the agency, about 1,500 people cross at the intersection daily, and nearly 53,000 vehicles travel along that stretch of 214.
While Barron lauds the state’s decision, he said he and constituents had to push extremely hard to see results, including reaching out to news media outlets and starting a coordinated social media campaign.
“This is just an example of how the community and its elected representatives can work together to keep an issue alive and push for an appropriate solution. Things don’t always happen when they should but we shouldn’t give up, and I look forward to continuing the fight on this issue and others on behalf of my constituents,” he said.