Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Leggett Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of His Pedestrian Safety Initiative; Efforts are Reducing Collisions and Saving Lives

Event to celebrate five-year anniversary of Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's Pedestrian Safety Initiative

On December 17, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett celebrated the five-year anniversary of his December 2007 Pedestrian Safety Initiative, which for the first time provided a blueprint for action to improve pedestrian safety based on measurable strategies. Since 2009, pedestrian collisions have decreased 12 percent and the most severe collisions, those where pedestrians are incapacitated or killed, has declined 21 percent.

“In 2007, we charted a course to dramatically improve pedestrian safety and accessibility in Montgomery County – a course that is proving to be successful,” said Leggett. “We are seeing significant reductions in pedestrian collisions in areas where we have taken a comprehensive and targeted approach. Every resident deserves a truly walkable community where pedestrians can safely cross the street. Our challenge in the future is to continually reassess what we are doing, keep what’s working well and find new and creative ways to significantly expand our pedestrian safety efforts.”

The Initiative outlined an approach to pedestrian and traffic safety that focused on three essential components: education, engineering and enforcement. The Initiative significantly enhanced the County’s investment in educating motorists and pedestrians, keeping enforcement efforts visible and intensive and aggressively applying the most innovative and pedestrian-friendly road engineering designs.

To fulfill Leggett’s vision for increased pedestrian mobility and safety, the Initiative established goals to:
• Reduce pedestrian-related crashes, injuries, fatalities, and their associated social and economic costs; and
• Ensure that all areas of the County provide safe and convenient travel options for pedestrians.

Some of the achievements of the Initiative include:
• Reducing pedestrian fatalities from a high of 19 fatalities in 2008 to 11 last year and six so far this year.
• Reducing pedestrian collisions 12 percent since 2009.
• Reducing the most severe collisions that incapacitate or kill pedestrians 21 percent since 2009.
• Reducing collisions 35 percent in areas where traffic calming measures have been installed.
• Reducing collisions by 45 percent In High Incidence Areas (HIAs), locations with the highest concentrations of collisions.
• Reducing collisions by 72 percent within a quarter mile of schools targeted for engineering, education and enforcement activities under the Safe Routes to Schools program.
 Graphic showing results of County Executive Leggett's Pedestrian Safety Initiative
Mr. Leggett was joined at the event by County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, County Councilmember Hans Riemer, Department of Transportation Director Arthur Holmes, Police Chief Thomas Manger, Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Scott Graham, and PBTSAC Chair Erwin Mack. 
Click here for the press release, including additional statistics on the results of the initiative.  Click here to view the Transportation Update on the event. 
For articles about the event, please click below:
The Gazette
Bethesda Now

Thursday, November 29, 2012

County Releases PRSA Report for Colesville Road High Incidence Area

In November 2011, MCDOT led a team of transportation and enforcement professionals from Montgomery County, the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA), and the Maryland Highway Safety Office in a two-day pedestrian road safety audit along Colesville Road in the “heart” of the Silver Spring Central Business District (CBD). This segment of Colesville Road was particularly notable because of the density of unique “traffic generators”, including entertainment (i.e., Fillmore Music Hall, movie theater), dining, and shopping, bisected by a major regional corridor Colesville Road PRSA Report Cover - click here to view report

The study area is an approximately 0.3-mile segment of Colesville Road located in a relatively densely developed, urban corridor between Fenton Street and North Noyes Drive. This stretch of Colesville Road was identified as one of Montgomery County’s High Incidence Areas (HIA) for pedestrian collisions. Based on collision data provided by Montgomery County and the Maryland State Highway Administration, 29 pedestrian collisions occurred in the study area from January 2004 through February 2011.

The audit team noted the role of the existing character of Colesville Road, vehicle speeds, the unsignalized mid-block crosswalk, and the reversible lane configurations, as potentially contributing to pedestrian safety issues. Based on the team’s field observations and an examination of available data, the team developed various suggestions to address these issues. Moving forward, there will be an ongoing vetting of the audit suggestions with collaboration among agencies and stakeholders to implement short and intermediate-term recommendations and assess the feasibility and constructability of long-term projects.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pedestrian Safety Volunteers March in Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

Photo of pedestrian safety volunteer team and Silver Spring Fire Rescue ambulance at 2012 Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade
Montgomery County’s Pedestrian Safety Volunteers – the “Protectores del Camino” and “SWAG Team” – joined forces with Montgomery County Fire Rescue at the Annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade on November 17 to keep pedestrians safe.  The County is working to improve pedestrian safety and the walkability of our communities.  400 pedestrians aPhoto of volunteers handing out reflective materials to the crowd at the 2012 Thanksgiving Paradere struck by vehicles each year in Montgomery County, and this time of year is the most dangerous for pedestrians since there are so many dark hours per day.  For this reason, volunteers handed out reflective zipper pulls to the crowd - as a reminder to wear bright or reflective clothing during dark hours so drivers can see you.  When accidents occur in Silver Spring, Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department rescue vehicles, like the one driven in the parade by Firefighter/EMT Darian Unger, rush to help.  Banners were posted on the ambulance warning parade goers, "Let's not meet by accident.  Keep Pedestrians Safe.  Be Safe.  Be Seen."  It's far better to have careful drivers and thoughtful pedestrians to help avoid collisions in the first place.  Slow down...share the road...think about a life. 

Leggett, Manger, Bowers Announce Campaigns to Keep Residents Safe This Holiday Season

“Eyes” Campaign and “Shop With a Cop” Promote Safety for Pedestrians, Drivers and Shoppers

Photo of "Best Eyes" press event participantsOn November 20, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, and Fire Chief Richard Bowers launched two public education campaigns to improve public safety – both focused on looking out for each other during the busy holiday shopping season. 
The seasonal change back to standard time is typically associated with an uptick in pedestrian collisions.   A new Montgomery County Department of Transportation pedestrian safety campaign focuses attention on one of the most important factors in reducing crashes – visibility – by featuring ads that show the eyes of two County students with the slogan, “Hey You, I’m Looking at You.”  
Police also announced their annual “Shop With a Cop” promotion, where officers in all six of Montgomery County’s police districts patrol retail areas during the height of the shopping season to provide extra security and remind shoppers to drive and walk safe -- especially in parking lots.
Joining Leggett, Manger, and Bowers were Montgomery Blair High School Principal Renay Johnson and the parents of John Parsley, whose eyes are featured in one of the ads. Parsley graduated from Montgomery Blair High School last year.
For additional articles on the event, please click the links below:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MCDOT Urges Caution as Halloween and Time Change Ushers in "Scary Season" for Pedestrians and Drivers

Montgomery County Best Eyes Campaign
County Launches "Eyes" Campaign to Reinforce "See and Be Seen" Message

This week, Halloween and the change back to standard time mark the start of the “scary season” for pedestrians and drivers, when an uptick in pedestrian collisions is typical.   According to a recent report released by State Farm, children are more than twice as likely to be fatally injured by a vehicle on Halloween.

The County has launched a new pedestrian safety public education campaign picturing eyes and the slogan, "Hey You, I'm Looking at You."  The education campaign focuses attention on one of the most important factors in reducing crashes – visibility.  The campaign was developed by Montgomery Blair High School students participating in the Blair Walk Project in an effort to reduce pedestrian collisions.  The new "Eyes" posters will be appearing on Ride On buses throughout the County in the coming weeks. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Walk to School Day 2012

Picture of kids at Walk to School Day 2012

Group photo Walk to School Day 2012

Montgomery County Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Craig Rice; Department of Transportation Director Art Holmes, Fire Chief Richard Bowers, local officials and other dignitaries joined Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School students, staff and parents celebrating International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 3rd.  Over 40 other schools across the county celebrated the day with various activities.
Also joining the walkers at Dr. Charles Drew were Montgomery County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent for the Office of Teaching, Learning and Programs Dr. Kimberly A. Statham; Principal Gail Scott-Parizer and Assistant Principal Emmanuel Jean-Philippe.
Following the walk, AAA Mid-Atlantic sponsored two assemblies featuring the robot Otto the Auto, who taught children safe walking tips.
Walk to School Day is expected to include 5,000 schools throughout the United States and 40 countries around the world. Walking to school helps promote:
• Healthier students            
• Safer streets 
• Stronger communities      
• A cleaner environment

Sponsors of this year’s event at Drew Elementary School include Safe Kids Montgomery County, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Foundation for Safety and Education, Federal Express, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Montgomery County Police, Maryland Safe Routes Network, Maryland Highway Safety Office, Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Clif Kid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

County Releases PRSA Report for Connecticut Avenue High Incidence Area (HIA)

The County has released the Pedestrian Road Safety Audit (PRSA) report for the Connecticut Avenue High Incidence Area (HIA).  HIAs are areas of the County that have been identified through crash data analysis to have the highest densities of pedestrian collisions.  The report summarizes crash data, field observations, and suggested safety improvements along segments of Connecticut Avenue (MD Route 185) between Independence Street and Georgia Avenue (MD Route 97).  It is the eighth PRSA report to be published, and has undergone review and approval by MCDOT and MDSHA. It can be viewed by clicking the link below.  Read More about these Pedestrian Road Safety Audits and how they are used to improve pedestrian safety.

Connecticut Avenue PRSA Report Cover - click here to view report

Friday, July 20, 2012

Community Groups Dedicate New Pedestrian Signal at Veirs Mill Road and Claridge Road

Over the past several months, the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and police Department (MCD), in coordination with the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO), have been working with several members of the Wheaton community who are interested in participating in pedestrian safety community outreach efforts.

The community members represent neighborhood civic associations (Connecticut Avenue Estates, Montclair Manor, Rock Creek Palisades), as well as representatives from the Hispanic/Latino community. The three neighborhood civic associations organized a public/press event on July 20 to commemorate activation of the new traffic signal at Veirs Mill Road and Claridge Road. In attendance were County Councilmembers Ervin, Navarro, and Floreen; State delegates Carr and Gutierrez; as well as County Officials, Father Salah from St. Catherine Labouré Church, and members of the community. Click here to see news coverage of the event. 

The community members then took the opportunity to distribute pedestrian safety information to St. Catherine Labouré parishioners the weekend immediately following the activation of the new signal. The outreach effort was initiated by the community groups, and is an indication of the potential for this group to successfully reach thousands of members of the walking and driving public in an effort to educate them about keeping pedestrians safe. 
Veirs Mill and Claridge Signal Dedication Event

Volunteers handing out pedestrian safety bags to parishioners at St. Catherine's Church

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Springtime Sees Many Activities that Make Montgomery County Safer for Pedestrians

Pedestrian Safety Campaign Targets Blair High School Students: Teens Compete in "Hey You, I'm Looking at You!" Best Eyes and Texting Contests

                      Best Eyes Poster

Photographer shooting best eyes contest participant

As part of Montgomery County’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety in areas with the highest densities of collisions, the County recently launched a campaign aimed at high school students in the Four Corners area of Silver Spring. An event was held at the school with a professional photographer taking pictures of competing teens’ eyes. The eyes of two winners, Hillary Yeboah and John Parsley, were featured on posters that urge pedestrians to establish eye contact with drivers and look both ways before crossing the street with the theme “Hey You, I’m Looking at You!”



SWAG bracelets


  A group of Montgomery Blair high school students was involved in developing the public education campaign aimed at teens. Collision data from the Four Corners area shows that those under 20 years of age and those over 50 have been involved in all collisions, mostly during daylight hours.



Text message contest winner with Dr. Coleman and Principal Johnson at Blair High School

Also, during the month of May, Montgomery Blair students had the opportunity to answer text message questions about pedestrian safety to win gift cards and other prizes, while learning to be safe pedestrians. Students could access the correct responses to the questions by visiting the website Participating students received silicone wristbands – called SWAG Bracelets - that feature pedestrian safety messages that are either SWAG or FAIL. While to “Make Eye Contact,” “Use Crosswalks,” and “Look Both Ways,” are clearly SWAG behaviors, to “Text + Walk,” or “Get Hit by a Bus,” are clearly FAILS! SWAG and FAIL are slang for good and bad, respectively. In addition, SWAG was used as the campaign acronym, and stands for:

See them see you
Wait for the walk
Always use crosswalks
Go reflective

Mr. Arthur Holmes, Director of MCDOT speaking at event
The bracelets serve as reminders of safe pedestrian behaviors to the teen wearers, as well as other students.
The winner of the pedestrian safety text messaging contest, freshman Cullen Morris, was presented the grand prize at a ceremony on June 7.
MCDOT Director Art Holmes and Montgomery Blair High School Principal Renay Johnson and Assistant Principal Andrew Coleman presented Morris with a new iPad. Morris was chosen in a random drawing out of more than 1,300 correct student entries to win the grand prize. In addition, 12 students received gift certificates to Chipotle during the month of May for correctly answering pedestrian-safety related questions. Pedestrian safety efforts will continue at Blair High School next year.
Click here to see the Transportation Update on the Blair Walk Project. 

                          Second best eyes poster

Monday, May 14, 2012

CountyStat Reviews Pedestrian Safety Initiative

The CountyStat program conducted its ninth review of progress on the County Executive’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative on Monday, May 14, 2012. The results indicate the decline in county-wide pedestrian collisions and fatalities continued in 2011. Not only have there been fewer pedestrian collisions but also a decline in the severity of injuries resulting from collisions.
  • 8% County-wide Reduction in Pedestrian Collisions in 2011
  • Reduction in Severity of Pedestrian Collisions
  • Decline in Pedestrian Fatalities for Third Year
  • 72% Decline of Collisions for Safe Routes to School
  • 45% Decline of Collisions in High Incidence Areas
  • 35% Decline of Collisions Where Traffic Calming Employed
Montgomery County is committed to achieving data-driven results to reduce the frequency and severity of pedestrian collisions. These periodic reviews have become a critical and valuable part of implementing the County Executive’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative. By reviewing data and information from the program, the County works to assure that effective strategies are being employed to improve pedestrian safety. Information evaluated in these reviews provides vital direction on how best to target activities that are reducing the number of pedestrian collisions in the County. A press release has been issued on the conclusions of this most recent CountyStat review.
Click here to view the presentation:
Previous CountyStat Review Presentations can be seen on the County’s CountyStat web site and are listed by dates of the review. Click on the dates to review the presentation:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Silver Spring Students Make Street Smarts Cool - Maryland Community News - May 2, 2012
To keep their fellow classmates safe and street smart, a group of Montgomery Blair High School students are using words they say adults do not fully understand.
To get hit by a bus is a “fail,” they said, but to use a crosswalk, that is “swag.”
It’s a public safety campaign that neither the county — nor any adults — could have thought of, according to Jeff Dunckel, pedestrian safety coordinator of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation.