After two recent accidents involving pedestrians and autos, Kemp Mill residents and Montgomery County officials have been discussing how to make a busy intersection safer.
The residents are asking the county to install a stop sign, a traffic light or a crosswalk at the intersection of Arcola Avenue and Hoyt Street in Silver Spring. But county officials, after checking out the traffic patterns, said the street is not congested enough to warrant additional traffic signs or lights.
The intersection was the site of a fatal accident Dec. 9. Frank Robert Dandrea, 30, was hit by an automobile as he crossed four-lane Arcola Avenue at about 6:30 a.m. The car that hit him was traveling east on Arcola Avenue toward Hoyt Street from Lamberton Drive, Montgomery County police spokeswoman Ann Evans said. Dandrea was taken to Suburban Hospital, where he died Dec. 19.
During the last weeks of 1987, a 78-year-old woman was seriously hurt when she walked into the side of a vehicle while crossing Arcola Avenue to get to a bus stop.
Peter Miller, who lives at 915 Arcola Ave., is among those who have been lobbying officials to install a light or stop sign.
"The issue here is not only that two people have been hurt, but on innumerable occasions, pedestrians have had a hard time crossing the street. This is a highly dangerous highway," Miller said. He said the main hazard to pedestrians is the high volume of traffic, which often moves at an "excessive rate of speed."
Gerald Pasternak, president of the Kemp Mill Civic Association, said that long before the two recent accidents, there had been "a lot of effort by the community to get traffic signs, lights and crosswalks installed on Arcola Avenue."
He has met with Robert McGarry, director of the Department of Transportation and Ray Trout, chief of the Montgomery County Traffic Planning section, to discuss the problem and possible solutions.
Trout observed traffic patterns on Arcola during peak and off-peak hours over several days, according to Ron Welke, chief of the Division of Traffic Engineering for Montgomery County. Trout concluded that there were adequate gaps for pedestrians to cross safely at Arcola and Hoyt, and that elderly residents crossing to the bus stops along Arcola could cross safely at nearby traffic signals.
Montgomery County Council member Rose Crenca, after receiving complaints from the residents, asked McGarry on Dec. 9 to look into the situation. According to Blanca Poteat, an aide to Crenca, the transportation department responded by saying, "concern regarding the speed and volume of traffic on Arcola Avenue has not been taken lightly. Traffic studies conducted by our staff have failed to substantiate the magnitude of traffic congestion that has been expressed."
The department said there have been only four accidents over the past two years, all of them over in recent four-month period. "However, it added, "We do intend to take some actions to improve visibility from the southwest side of Arcola Avenue by trimming the street trees."