Makeshift crosswalks pop up overnight in Olney

OLNEY, Md. (WJLA) -- It may be hard to tell at first exactly what it is – you walk by it, and might need to take a second look.

"Both of us looked at each other and went, 'Is this a real crosswalk?'" said Mary Lou Prince.

Neighborhood friends Mary Lou Prince and Jennie Brand were out walking Brand’s dog, Buddy. Prince has been in the neighborhood for 18 years.

"We were just commenting on it as we were walking across the street," she said.

"It's pretty nicely done," added Brand. "All the lines are straight. They are straight."

But as it happens, the paint isn’t even.

"Half of the developments weren't even here when we moved in," explained Prince. "So it's gotten very busy."

So busy, apparently, that some residents decided that a crosswalk was desperately needed. And they didn’t call upon traffic engineers for help, and instead took the law into their own hands.

"How can anybody have the time to put a fake crosswalk on a busy road?" asked Prince.

Two fake crosswalks popped up overnight – one on Route 108 and Homeland, the other less than a block up the street from it.

A Maryland State Highway Administration official calls the fake crosswalks “illegal and dangerous,” telling ABC7 that a year ago, a resident asked that engineers look at the nearby intersections.

They did, and after a thorough study, found that pedestrian traffic was extremely light and no changes were needed.

In a statement, a spokesperson tells ABC7 that “they don’t want people taking it upon themselves, creating a safety hazard, which could end up causing someone else to get hurt."

For a Maryland State Highway worker, a pressure washer wasn’t enough to get rid of these crosswalks – they brought out a grinder, which workers say will remove the top layer of asphalt, along with the confusion that comes with these makeshift crosswalks.

Rosana Marcial was walking with her son, Justin. She recently moved into the neighborhood, and thinks the crosswalk would come in handy – especially because there is a school right at one of the intersections.

A few of her neighbors agree with her.