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City Council Asks SHA to Improve Pedestrian Safety on Route 1

At last night’s Council meeting, the City Council discussed a number of ideas to improve the pedestrian safety on Route 1, especially in light of last weekend’s tragic accident at the Knox Road intersection. Here is the text of that letter we decided to send to the SHA.

April 15, 2014

Ms. Melinda B. Peters, Administrator
State Highway Administration
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Dear Ms. Peters:

On behalf of our residents, students, and visitors, I would like to convey to you our strongest request that SHA implement—in the most expeditious time possible—significant pedestrian safety improvements along Baltimore Avenue in the City of College Park. On April 11, 2014 we suffered the second pedestrian fatality this year when 23-year-old Carlos Pacanins was killed on Baltimore Avenue in downtown College Park. Cory Hubbard, a 22-year-old student, was killed in January in the same area.

Over the years, the State, the County, and the City have conducted studies and have implemented some safety improvements. SHA is currently finishing a Pedestrian Road Safety Audit for Baltimore Avenue, and a County working group involving State, City, and University stakeholders has convened to identify solutions. We appreciate these important efforts.

Without pre-judging the current processes or additional recommendations that may come from these activities, the City Council and I urge you to designate the area a pedestrian zone, and implement the following steps within the Pedestrian Road Safety Audit area (Berwyn Road to Guilford Road):

• Install pedestrian count-down lights for all sides of Baltimore Avenue intersections
• Use automatic flashing “walk” signals with a green light
• Install better lighting along Baltimore Avenue and at the intersections
• Lower the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour
• At the soonest opportunity, present the final Pedestrian Road Safety Audit report to the City Council and include a timeline to implement the recommended safety improvements.

The City of College Park will examine its pedestrian lighting and other aspects of pedestrian safety that it can influence, including increased policing, education and outreach activities. However, we need SHA to address the items above so that we significantly and permanently reduce the risk of auto-pedestrian incidents in the shortest time period possible.

Thank you for your attention to this issue, and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Andrew M. Fellows
Mayor

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