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Bethesda Elementary Parents Start Pedestrian Safety Petition

By Aaron Kraut

Monday - 4/8/2013, 12:15pm  ET

Crosswalk at Wisconsin Avenue and Stanford StreetParents of students at Bethesda Elementary School today started an online petition for pedestrian improvements in the area around the school, after a February incident in which a three-month old child in a stroller was hit and dragged from a crosswalk on Arlington Road.

Wendy Leibowitz said the parents started the petition because of that incident and a number of others along Arlington Road. The child in the stroller collision on Feb. 27 was not hurt after a car turning on to Arlington from Edgemoor Lane failed to yield.

It was one of three reported pedestrian-car collisions in Bethesda since February.

“As you know, there have been a series of accidents and near-accidents in downtown Bethesda along Arlington Road and some of us are concerned that the pedestrian crossings and speed limits are poorly marked,” Leibowitz said. “There are no speed cameras or enforcement of traffic rules and people drive very aggressively near Bethesda Elementary School.”

The petition has 27 supporters so far and asks the Montgomery County Council, Police Department and Department of Transportation for more “No Turn On Red” restrictions, more visible crosswalk markings, speed cameras on Arlington Road and police patrols when children are going to and leaving school.

Read the full petition after the jump.

We, the parents of students attending Bethesda Elementary School, are horrified by the number of traffic accidents and near-accidents in and around downtown Bethesda, particularly around Bethesda Elementary School. For example, in February 2013, a motorist struck a mother pushing her 3-month old child in a stroller at the intersection of Arlington Road and Edgemoor Lane. Bethesda is a community of people who are largely drawn here because of its walkable urban setting. However, as the area has grown and continues to grow with many new development projects underway, which will bring more cars and more pedestrians, the safety of this walkable haven is at risk. We encourage the following actions to be taken immediately:

• “No Turn on Red” in high-traffic pedestrian areas, particularly those near and around a school or playground.
• Better, more visible markings of pedestrian crosswalks on Arlington Road and Edgemoor Lane, and other streets around the school, similar to the excellent crosswalk on Little Falls Parkway, along the Capitol Crescent Trail
• Installation of speed cameras on Arlington Road and a police presence when children are coming to and going from school.
• Installation of radar signs on Arlington Road to alert drivers to their rate of speed, and better signage indicating the legal speed within the school zone.

The requested changes are meant to improve safety for all: residents and visitors, drivers and pedestrians alike. It is our opinion that these changes would have an immediate and positive effect.