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Montgomery Co. leaders urge lower speed limits after teens struck waiting for bus

Four Kennedy High School students waiting for a school bus in Aspen Hill, Maryland, Oct. 9 were struck by a car that careened onto the sidewalk off Georgia Avenue. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers in Montgomery County are calling on Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and state officials to lower speed limits on Georgia Avenue and to take other “immediate” steps to improve pedestrian safety after several high school students waiting for a bus were struck by a car last week.

In a letter to Hogan and Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, members of the Montgomery County Council say the speed limit along Georgia Avenue/Maryland Route 97 — 45 mph — “is much too high” for the suburban area and want it lowered.

The appeal from the county comes the week after a car crashed into a group of high school students waiting for a bus along Georgia Avenue in Aspen Hill, Maryland. Five people were hospitalized after the crash and one student, who remains in the hospital, suffered life-threatening injuries.

“While we do not have the police report on this incident yet, this section of MD 97 has always been considered hostile to pedestrians and bicyclists … We want immediate action to make this section of upper Georgia Avenue safe for all,” the letter stated.

The letter was signed by all nine members of the council, including Vice President Nancy Navarro. The letter calls on the State Highway Administration to speed up the process for implementing pedestrian safety improvements, citing a “steady climb” in car crashes involving pedestrians.

So far in 2018, 11 pedestrians have been killed along Montgomery County roadways — nine of them along state highways, according to the letter. The total number of pedestrians killed this year compares to 11 all of last year and eight in 2016.

The council plans to hold a meeting with state officials Nov. 13 to discuss pedestrian safety in the county.


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