MARYLAND

Reedie Drive in Wheaton dangerous for pedestrians

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WHEATON, Md. (WJLA) -- Reedie Drive in Maryland is said to be one of the most dangerous roadways for pedestrians in Montgomery County. Located between Veirs Mill Road and Georgia Avenue, Reedie Drive sits near the Wheaton Metro station.

It attracts a lot of vehicular and foot traffic, and has been the site of several crashes. Now, the county, police, and volunteers say they are working together to keep pedestrians safe.

County officials say it’s a three-prong strategy – the three “E’s” as they say. And it isn’t just changing up the roadway engineering. Police say they’re also focused on enforcement, while volunteers are focused on education.

“They do speed down the street,” says pedestrian Belinda Howard.

Those who cross Reedie Drive by foot to access the Wheaton Metro station or nearby businesses say they have to be extra cautious because drivers turning off of Viers Mill Road and Georgia Avenue are so aggressive.

"For them, they think they own the street sometimes,” says another pedestrian named Isis Morales.

The county has designated a stretch of Reedie Drive as a high-incidence area. Between 2004 and 2012, county officials say there were 20 different pedestrian crashes here – including one fatality. And according to Montgomery County Chief Executive Ike Leggett, that is far, far too many.

In all, Montgomery County officials say they have spent about $300,000 making improvements to Reedie Drive, including more visible crosswalks, barriers to prevent jaywalking, and curb extensions for pedestrians.

"Shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians and also slow vehicles down,” recommends Transportation Engineer, William Haynes.

Police say they’re also ticketing drivers and pedestrians. Meanwhile, a group of English and Spanish-speaking volunteers have launched a street safety campaign.

Carolyn Gupta is one of them, and says: “We have to constantly say, don't use your cell phone whether you're walking or you're in the car. I see people texting while driving, you know?"

Pedestrians say that while they appreciate the effort and improvements so far at Reedie Drive, it still feels dangerous. Many say they’d like to see even more aggressive ticketing by police, because drivers might pay more attention if they have to pay up.

Executive Leggett says that since 2007, the county has spent about $7 million on traffic improvements. Transportation planners say their next focus will be in downtown Silver Spring: Fenton Street between Cameron Street and Wayne Avenue.

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