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County Wants To Form Volunteer Group Of Pedestrian Safety Advocates

By Aaron Kraut

Thursday - 8/22/2013, 1:05pm  ET

Crosswalk at Wisconsin Avenue and Stanford StreetMontgomery County wants to put together a group of volunteers to spread the word about pedestrian safety in Bethesda.

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 18, the county will host a volunteer training session at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).

The group will be modeled after a similar program in Wheaton, where 30 community members got together to do outreach and education about pedestrian safety in some of that area’s most dangerous intersections.

Earlier this month, County Executive Isiah Leggett credited the group with getting the State Highway Administration to install a new signal. The group represented a number of neighborhood civic associations and made a big effort toward educating the Hispanic community about problem pedestrian areas.

Volunteers set up booths at fairs and festivals, manned tables at shopping centers and gave out bags with a pedestrian safety message.

A group of what the county calls “safety advocates” will be doing outreach at the Taste of Bethesda on Oct. 5.

The county says the Pedestrian Safety Initiative, unveiled by Leggett in 2007, is working despite an increase in pedestrian-vehicle collisions last year.

For many, the issue in Bethesda has been around Bethesda Elementary School, where a group of pedestrian activists and Bethesda Elementary School parents joined together to ask the county to lower speed limits, increase fines and install crossing signals that allow pedestrians an exclusive window to cross in school zones.