Traffic Signals, Crosswalks Added on Fairland Road in Montgomery County

By Robert Dongu
Gazette Staff Writer
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last year, County Executive Isiah Leggett witnessed the aftermath of a crash that left a pedestrian dead on Fairland Road in eastern Montgomery.

But traffic signals and crosswalks installed along the roadway since then have made the area safer, Leggett (D) announced last week.

"In this case, we're acting, but unfortunately we're acting after the fact," Leggett said at a news conference Aug. 5 near Fairland Road and Serpentine Way.

Leggett was on his way to make a speech on pedestrian safety in September when he happened on the crash scene near Fairland Road and Cedar Creek Lane. He saw Flavia D'Cunha, 29, as she lay dying after attempting to cross the road. Leggett, who lives nearby in Burtonsville, said the incident renewed his commitment to pedestrian safety, and he apologized for the roads not being improved sooner.

"Cars were literally flying down this road," Leggett said.

After the tragedy, the Fairland Estates Homeowners Association met with county officials to discuss traffic problems in their community.

Residents said it was hard to turn or see pedestrians at Fairland and Cedar Creek because the turn is on a hill. Visibility is poor on sunny days, they said.

Arthur Holmes Jr., the county's transportation director, said the new measures "make the street safer for pedestrians" and show that the county followed through on its promises.

As part of the road improvements, traffic signals are in place at Tamarack Road and Serpentine Way. Bus stop improvements include sidewalk connections, crosswalks and signs, the county reported. Tamarack and Serpentine also feature crossing signals.

K.B. Bilgrami, a traffic engineer for the county Transportation Department who worked on the project, said speed-reducing measures, including crosswalks and speed limits painted on the road, were put in place along Fairland Road.

Mary Depenbrock, a member of the Fairland Estates Homeowners Association, who helped push the county to make the improvements, said at the news conference that the changes will make the community safer.

"I definitely think it will save lives, which was our ultimate goal," Depenbrock said.

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