WASHINGTON — Walt Whitman High School students are the most frequent users of a River Road intersection where three family members were killed last February. Residents say the crossing is too dangerous and they want it closed to create a new intersection.
The crash took the lives of Michael Buarque De Macedo; his wife, Alessandra, and their 18-year-old son Thomas, and seriously injured their 15-year-old daughter.
“The wisdom of the community really verifies that something needs to be done,” said Richard Boltuck, a member of the Bannockburn Civic Association.
For years, the group has been asking the State Highway Administration to install a traffic light at the River Road intersection with Braeburn Parkway.
This stretch of roadway is unusual; about 1,000 feet east of the site of the fatal crash is a crosswalk that students use to dart across River Road.
“It’s an unprotected, stand-alone crosswalk,” Boltuck said.
SHA has shown the community four alternatives for improving safety at the Braeburn Parkway intersection that include median redesigns that would limit turns.
But the community has rejected all four, instead asking the SHA to close the intersection and redesign a new one at the crosswalk. The goal is to significantly boost safety for both pedestrians and vehicles crossing River Road toward Whitman High School.
“I’m very optimistic. This is our position. We aren’t going in with fallback positions and we aren’t going in to negotiate this,” Boltuck said.
The community hopes to have a second meeting this summer with SHA.