Montgomery County still faces pedestrian challenges

Less than two months ago, Christina Morris-Ward, 15, was struck and killed on her way to Seneca Valley High School.

The incident is evidence Montgomery County still faces pedestrian safety challenges.

“There is no one single solution,” says Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. He says education, engineering and enforcement are lowering accidents involving pedestrians.

A fence outside Westfield Shopping Center is an example of engineering. It was built to keep people away from the median and direct them toward the cross walk.

A bus is what Guillermo Rodriguez uses to get around so he uses the crosswalk often. He says the fence makes a difference and most of all, it helps people get rid of bad habits.

“Sometimes you’re in a rush,” he says. “Sometimes just trying to cross the street real quick and I just try and cross in the middle when you don’t see no cars.”

“There are senior citizens, there are children walking. The time is not conducive to people actually walking,” says Sophiea Dickerson.

Dickerson says walkers like her need more time to cross, but it’s gotten better.
County officials say the numbers prove it. In 2008, 19 people were killed while crossing a county road. This year only six have been killed.

Leggett says more signs help with education and cameras help with enforcement.

Every year, the county is spending about $4 million just on pedestrian projects.

“It sounds like an awful lot in the tight budget, but it’s well worth it because you see the number of incidents, the number of collisions and number of deaths actually significantly reduced,” he says.

Leggett says he’d be more satisfied if the numbers dropped to zero.