A call to boost pedestrian safety on a major Montgomery Co. commuting route

Photo of Montgomery County Council member Natali Fani-Gonzalez
Montgomery County Council member Natali Fani-Gonzalez speaks to a crowd gathered in Wheaton, Maryland, about the dangers pedestrians face when crossing a portion of Georgia Avenue in the county. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Photo of the crowd in Wheaton, Maryland.
A crowd for a meeting about pedestrian safety, homing in on a dangerous stretch of Georgia Avenue from Aspen Hill to Wheaton in Montgomery County, Maryland, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)
Photo of Montgomery County Council member Natali Fani-Gonzalez
Photo of the crowd in Wheaton, Maryland.

Pedestrian fatalities have been rising across the region, and a public meeting in Wheaton Wednesday night put a spotlight on a hazardous stretch of road in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“Right now, Georgia Avenue, which is owned by the state, is extremely dangerous. People are dying just by crossing the street,” said county council member Natali Fani-Gonzalez, District 6.

Fani-Gonzalez said her recent campaign for the council revealed that pedestrian safety is the number one issue of residents of District six — Wheaton, Forest Glen, Glenmont, Kemp Mill and Aspen Hill.

Two weeks ago, a 23-year-old woman was killed while attempting to cross Georgia Avenue near Hewitt Street in Aspen Hill.

“I went to her funeral last week. She left behind her daughter who is only seven years old. These are real people who are literally dying just because they’re crossing the street — a street that was designed for cars to go fast instead of people moving around, Fani-Gonzalez said.

“Since 2015, over 30 crashes have happened on Georgia Avenue where people have either died or been seriously injured,” Fani-Gonzalez said.

Residents heard presentations from the Montgomery County transportation department and planning department about plans to improve safety for people walking, bicycling and scooting.

Because Georgia Avenue is a state road, Fani-Gonzalez said she is reaching out to Gov. Wes Moore to find more state money for safety improvements.

Residents were told that the future could include rebuilding the commuter route in the Aspen Hill area, shrinking the road from six travel lanes to four and creating protected space for pedestrians.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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