The following excerpts are from the Final Report of the Montgomery County Blue Ribbon Panel on Pedestrian Safety, completed last January.
In 2001, there were 14 pedestrian fatalities in Montgomery County.
"Crossing the street should not be a death-defying act," according to Del. William A. Bronrott (D-16), chair of the Montgomery County Blue Ribbon Panel on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety.
County Executive Douglas M. Duncan appointed the 40-member Blue Ribbon panel in June of 2000 to develop a set of recommendations to significantly reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries and to address ways to create pedestrian friendly walkable communities in Montgomery County.
The panel met from June 2000 to October 2001, concentrating on a "Three E's approach to focus on pedestrian safety — Education, Enforcement and Engineering."
The following is a partial listing of recommendations the Blue Ribbon Panel made that the County will be advocating for in the future.
Visit the County Web site at www.co.mo.md.us and click on the pedestrian safety icon for the complete report.
<lst>* Montgomery County must undertake a comprehensive, ongoing public awareness/social-marketing campaign.
* A pedestrian-safety curriculum should be included as a mandatory unit in school health programs/classes in grades K through 8.
* Pedestrian safety segments should be included in all ESOL classes.
* The state of Maryland should expand pedestrian-safety material in the Motor Vehicle Administration handbook and in the curriculum of private driver training schools.
* The MVA's driver's examination should include mandatory questions about pedestrian safety.
* A pedestrian safety segment should be included in driver improvement classes.
<lst>Law enforcement agencies must maintain an ongoing and visible pedestrian and traffic safety enforcement effort to combat dangerous driver and pedestrian behavior, such as aggressive driving, drunk driving, red light running, excessive speeding and jaywalking.
* Reduce excessive speeding through increased enforcement.
* Increase enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way in crosswalks.
* Increase resources and revenues to support Montgomery County's traffic safety enforcement.
* Pedestrian traffic safety law violations must be aggressively adjudicated by the court system.
* Improve the collection and publication of data concerning traffic safety law enforcement.
* Law enforcement agencies in the County should analyze the location of pedestrian deaths and injuries in cooperation with the Department of Public Works and Transportation.
* Expand the human and technological resources available to the County Police Department to enforce traffic safety laws. School crossing guards, bus drivers, County Transportation and Ride-On staff should be encouraged to report traffic violations of offending drivers by phone or by letter. Law enforcement technology should be routinely used throughout the County to step up traffic enforcement efforts, including red light cameras and speed monitoring devices.
* Involve the public in traffic safety enforcement efforts. A central phone number should be posted on all county vehicles for citizens to call to report unsafe driving by noting the vehicle's license plate number.
* Continue an aggressive recruitment campaign to fill all County Police vacancies.
* The County and state should embrace and productively implement a Pedestrian Safety Engineering Tool Box that contains many of the most effective and innovative engineering options available, including countdown pedestrian signals, in-pavement crosswalk lights, traffic channelization, and traffic calming techniques
* The tool box solutions should address three primary needs of pedestrians: adequate pedestrian access parallel to roadways, the ability of all pedestrians to safely cross roadways, and safe walking routes that connect communities to schools, transit, recreational facilities, commercial and retail areas and other communities
* Bring the county's roadway, intersection, sidewalk and streetscape design standards into full conformity with the most innovative, pedestrian-friendly national design guidelines.
* Park and Planning should include a section addressing pedestrian access and safety in all Master Plans and Sector Plans.
* The County should require that all public and private construction projects include a "Pedestrian Impact Statement," including a process for review by the County to maximize pedestrian safety and access.
* Enhance the County's collection and use of pedestrian and vehicular crash data.
* Carry out a countywide "Safe Routes to Schools" program to maximize safety and access for students at all schools.
* Reassess the adequacy of all pedestrian signal timings.
* Relocate inconveniently placed and mid-block bus stops closer to intersections to encourage transit-using pedestrians to use crosswalks.
* Provide safe Americans with Disabilities Act compatible crossings at all bus stops.
* Locate public and major private building entrances, especially for schools and other facilities serving the youth and aged, with reference to safe ADA-compatible street crossings.
* Install additional traffic signals in Central Business Districts and other high activity locations to give pedestrians more locations to cross streets safely by controlling traffic flow and speed.
* Reduce the number of right-turns-on-red, or limit them to off-peak hours, at intersections within Central Business Districts, other high-density areas and frequent crash "hot spot" locations.
*Review speed limits on County and state roads to ensure that speed limits are realistic and reflect operating conditions and adjacent development patterns.
* Include public compliance with posted speed limits as measures of both the Police Department and the Department of Public Works and Transportation.
* Road widening projects should anticipate potential speeding problems that often develop during non-peak hours, and include a plan to control speeds as part of their design.
* Replace all pedestrian crossing signs with the new florescent yellow/green signs in all school zones by end of calendar year 2002.
* Fully fund the County's crosswalk re-striping program, shorten the current five-year re-striping cycle to every two years along major highways and arterials, and annually in school and transit zones.
* Assess the existing lighting levels of all state roads and all major highways and arterials once the Department of Public Works and Transportation's lighting policy revision has been finalized.
* Locate ADA-compliant handicap ramps to provide the safest and shortest crossing for pedestrians.
* Designate the pedestrian safety coordinator as the staff person responsible for disseminating ADA information within the Department of Transportation.
* Provide adequate funding to DPWT for necessary pedestrian traffic safety engineering changes to meet the current challenges.