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This discussion has been exhausted at many levels and on several media outlets. First thing, Poolesville does not own the road, the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) does, which means that they have full jurisdiction and control. However, this does not mean that the Commissioners are sitting back idly. Pedestrian safety is an issue that affects the entire community and is taken seriously.
Several years ago, the Commissioners lobbied the MSHA for permission to install the brick patterned crosswalks at our cost. This was done to increase crosswalk awareness and as part of the streetscape plan. In conjunction with the crosswalk installation, overhead lights were added and police presence was requested. Still, pedestrian safety concerns and stories of near misses continued to be reported.
The Commissioners began another quest for crosswalk awareness and pedestrian safety. Unfortunately, the concerns raised and proposed improvements such as blinking electronic signage, traffic calming islands and the standard center road mounted pedestrian crossing sign, were all denied for a variety of reasons…….even though we offered to pay for and install! I should also note that it took over a year to receive the denial.
So, with the lack of MSHA’s interest in assisting in pedestrian safety, our Montgomery County State Delegation was contacted to assist. After 6 to 8 months of our Delegation pursuing improvements, MSHA installed the signage and stop lines on Fisher Avenue. However, many citizen complaints and pedestrian safety concerns are still being reported.
The Commissioners are now weighing the benefits of taking over Fisher Avenue from the MSHA. Although Poolesville would have autonomy over crosswalks, signage etc., we would also accept the burden of maintenance costs.
MSHA is in the process of reviewing alternative crosswalk awareness signage, they are being tested in certain areas, but this must be approved by the legislation. That’s where you come in. The Commissioners will continue to lobby the Delegation for assistance, but often, individual citizens making contact will achieve results more than just the local government’s call for action.
If you have pedestrian safety concerns or want to voice your opinion regarding needed improvements on Fisher Avenue, please use the following contact information.
SENATOR BRIAN J. FELDMANDemocrat, District 15, Montgomery Countye-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
DELEGATE ARUNA MILLERDemocrat, District 15, Montgomery Countye-mail: email@example.com
DELEGATE KATHLEEN M. DUMAISDemocrat, District 15, Montgomery Countye-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
DELEGATE DAVID V. FRASER-HIDALGODemocrat, District 15, Montgomery Countye-mail: email@example.com