College Park residents push for safety improvements along Route 1

(WJLA) - The Maryland State Highway Administration is making safety improvements along a College Park road where three pedestrians have died this year, but some in the area aren't sure if they are enough.

Early Sunday morning, 21-year old Janelle Oni, a recent graduate of Salisbury University, was hit and killed near as she was trying to cross Rt. 1 near Hartwick Road. Police have since charged 33-year old Jacky Luangraj of Manassas in Oni's death.

Oni was the third pedestrian in their 20s to die within a one block section of Rt. 1 this year.

In January, University of Maryland student Cory Hubbard was hit and killed. In April, George Washington University student Carlos Pacanins was also hit and killed.

The State Highway Administration says in May, it began making safety improvements to Rt. 1. Among the things the state says it has already done: repainted crosswalks, added signs to warn drivers about the crosswalks, and added signs to warn pedestrians not to cross in areas where there are no crosswalks.

The SHA says it has also changed signal timing to decrease the wait time for pedestrians to legally cross.

During the summer and fall, the state plans to add more signs plus flashing warning lights. The plan is also to install a barrier in the median to prevent people from crossing where there isn't a crosswalk. But some say one of the biggest issues on the stretch of road isn't being addressed At the intersection close to where Oni died, there is a crosswalk -- but no traffic light.

Locals say it can be very dangerous to cross all five lanes of Rt. 1 there.

"I think a stoplight would be great," said UMD graduate student Teddy Levine.

"Even if it's just one of those pedestrian lights where it just changes when people push the button, something needs to be put right there," added College Park resident Sam Cook.

The state has no current plans to put a light there, but an SHA spokesperson said a study of Rt. 1 is still going on, and it is possible more safety recommendations will eventually be made.