County Launching Outreach Program On Parking Lot Pedestrian Collisions

Elm Street Garage crosswalkMontgomery County on Thursday will launch an educational campaign in an attempt to stop pedestrian collisions in parking lots and garages.

The county attributed an overall increase of pedestrian collisions in 2012 to 121 collisions in parking lots and garages, a bump of 31 parking lot/garage collisions compared to 2011. The parking lot and garage collisions made up 29 percent of the 423 total collisions in 2012.

County Executive Isiah Leggett, Councilmember Phil Andrews, Police Chief Thomas Manger, Fire Chief Steven Lohr, owners of major shopping developments and others will gather on Thursday at Rockville’s Dawson’s Market to announce the initiative.

In August, AAA Mid-Atlantic said Montgomery County was the “the exception to the rule,” when it came to recording pedestrian accidents in parking lots. Most jurisdictions don’t.

According to a CountyStat review of the 2012 pedestrian collision numbers, none of the parking lot collisions were fatal. Nineteen percent resulted in debilitating injuries.

Two serious pedestrian collisions earlier this year in Montgomery County, one that resulted in a death, made the issue a hot topic within pedestrian safety.

In June, an 81-year-old Potomac woman died after being hit by a car in front of the Giant grocery store in the Cabin John Shopping Center. In July, a driver hit someone in the parking lot of the Sam’s Club in Gaithersburg before plowing into the building and injuring two more people.

In a report that came out of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s 2007 Pedestrian Safety Initiative, the county found that police and the Department of Transportation are restricted in what they can do to make private parking lots safer for pedestrians:

Reducing the volume of collisions occurring in parking lots/garages is challenging because MCPD and DOT do not have jurisdiction to implement enforcement and engineering methods which they would normally use in County-owned roadways. They are restricted to education efforts and rely significantly on business owners and developers to address engineering and enforcement.

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