Road safety concerns in Silver Spring after 71-year-old woman struck, killed in crash

Road safety concerns in Silver Spring after 71-year-old woman struck, killed in crash (ABC7)

The death of a 71-year-old pedestrian Thursday night has renewed long-running concerns about the safety of Route 29 in Silver Spring.

On Friday, police identified the victim as Elaine Rowena Allen. They say she was hit by a Ford E250 van driven by a 75-year-old man who stayed on the scene, and she may have been hit by another vehicle as well.

Allen was hit in the southbound lanes as she was trying to cross near Hillwood Drive, which is just south of Lockwood Drive.

"It [was] terrible. It just broke my heart," said Ken Thompson of seeing Allen lying in the road.

Thompson says the stretch of road where Allen was hit is very dangerous.

"The cars are going so fast here -- 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 miles an hour sometimes," he said. "So if anybody's crossing the street here, they're going to get hit, and they're going to get killed."

Fifth District Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker has the entire length of Rt. 29 in the county as part of his district. He says because it's a state road, it's the state that's in charge of all safety improvements.

"I have requests going back years now for crosswalks, pedestrians refuges, overhead flashers," Hucker told ABC7. "They're still too focused on getting commuters from Baltimore and Howard County into D.C. very quickly. And that's not our priority."

A state highway administration spokesperson told ABC7 Friday night that although moving commuters is a priority, safety is their priority as well.

He says after traffic incidents like Thursday's engineers examine where it happened to see if safety improvements can be made.

Hucker points out that Route 29 has a lot of interchanges and feels more like a fast-moving highway around Burtonsville and areas just to the south of it, but by the time drivers get to where the pedestrian was hit it's in a much more dense, urban area.

Montgomery County Police say Thursday's death is still under investigation. At this time no charges have been filed.

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