Saving Pedestrian Lives
My heart goes out to the family of 12-year-old Luke Carter-Schelp, who was killed last week while trying to cross Strathmore Avenue in Montgomery County ["In Garrett Park, Sad News Travels Fast," Metro, Nov. 15]. Unfortunately, we can expect to see more such tragedies unless the Maryland State Highway Administration gets serious about pedestrian safety.
Here in Silver Spring, on a street lined with residences that leads to the Metro and downtown, there are frequent accidents caused by excessive speed and unsafe left turns. Numerous requests to highway officials -- to reduce the speed limit to a clearly posted 25 mph, to change the 16th Street-East West Highway intersection to "left-turn on signal only" and to lengthen the pedestrian crossing time from 16 seconds to one that would allow someone to actually cross six lanes of traffic -- have been ignored or brushed aside by traffic engineers who claim such measures have been shown not to work.
Perhaps the problem is that traffic engineers are trained only to consider "roadway level of service," a vehicle-centered approach that makes ease of travel the paramount -- indeed, the sole -- priority of road administration. I hope the highway administration will take notice of the human element before more tragedies occur.