MARYLAND

Jones Bridge Road median has residents concerned

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Frustration is mounting in a Montgomery County neighborhood over new medians in a traffic hot spot.

The medians were installed to narrow Jones Bridge Road and slow speeders near North Chevy Chase Elementary School. However, some people say they're creating even bigger problems.

One of the controversial traffic islands is covered in tire tracks, and it's only been in place for two weeks.

Residents believe someone may get seriously hurt.

Eric Peek, with the Coquelin Run Citizens Association, says of the area before the medians were installed, "There were some pretty bad traffic accidents. There was some head-on collisions. There was one car that was run up on one resident's front lawn."

Peek, whose two children attend North Chevy Chase Elementary School, is one of the residents who called for the safety improvements.

Earlier this month, the county installed the concrete medians and marked crosswalks. But, it's the small island median that has residents scratching their heads.

North Chevy Chase Village Manager Robert Weesner says,"I've seen six tow trucks in less than two weeks...It's a very difficult job seeing this little island. It's not expected."

"Now it's a beautiful sunny time of year. What happens when it snows and you don't see it? What's going to happen to snow plows trying to get through or ambulances trying to get through?," resident Fern Lapidus asks.

County officials say they're monitoring the concerns but add "a recent county state review found that these tools are significantly slowing down traffic in residential neighborhoods by up to 11 miles per hour in areas with speed limits of 25 to 40 miles per hour."

Weesner has lived on Jones Bridge Road for 13 years and says the main median is smart, but he worries the county will face all sorts of long-term problems if its sister island stays put.

Residents are also concerned about the possibility of a head-on collision brought on by people trying to swerve around Metro buses that stopped nearby.

The county counters that the project is only 90 percent complete, and engineers will place additional markings to guide drivers through the medians safely.

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