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More highways and bridges would destroy more farmland and livability by creating more automobile traffic in more places. By contrast, smart growth conserves open space and creates more active communities. Technology continues to specialize our economy, making efficient access to our jobs, homes, and recreation increasingly important. We cannot remain competitive if all of our citizens do not have accessibility.
Our region's expected population growth and the exploding market for walkable communities creates an incredible opportunity to revolutionize the way we use space. Walking creates strong communities which are sustainable socially, environmentally, and economically. Now is our chance to lead the way by creating a diverse transportation system which is accessible to all of our citizens and visitors.
To create safe, comfortable, diverse, and lively neighborhoods we must not only legalize but also encourage mixed-use density at a human-scale rather than single-use high-rises or sprawling development. The diversity of small-scale density makes walking and using a wheelchair efficient for people of all ages and physical abilities. This is called smart growth.
Walkability is good for children, the handicapped, the increasingly elderly population, as well as for able-bodied people. New highways and bridges would increase automobile dependency and should be precluded from the Potomac Master Plan.
Walk DC is a regional organization which is affiliated with America Walks.
America Walks is a national coalition of over 20 pedestrian advocacy groups.
Crossing a Dangerous Line
Accidents Spur Efforts to Make Roads Safer for Pedestrians
By Phuong Ly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 5, 2001
On the good days, Anthony Christopher Dearmas can still recite his multiplication tables. On the bad days, the 9-year-old loses his balance or becomes confused and cries.
Anthony was hit by a car in March when he tried to cross against the light at Darnestown Road, just east of Quince Orchard Road in Gaithersburg, as he headed to McDonald's with a friend. He received severe head injuries. His father said that he taught his son the rules of crossing the street, but that maybe he was overzealous or excited and forgot to look both ways.
"I thank God that he didn't break anything," Tony Dearmas said. "I thank God that I still have him. Cars can hurt you; a lot of people don't realize that."
Pedestrian accidents have become one of the biggest public safety concerns in Montgomery County, prompting police, county officials and legislators to try to find ways to make roadways safer.
In the past two years, more people in the county have died from pedestrian accidents than from homicides. Last year, 16 people were struck and killed by cars -- six of them in hit-and-run accidents -- one more than the number of murder victims.
So far this year, one pedestrian has died. A 19-year-old woman was struck by a car and killed Feb. 12 when she was crossing University Boulevard in Silver Spring, headed to her night-school class at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School at Northwood Center.
Hundreds have been injured: 371 pedestrians in 1999; 350 last year, according to police statistics.
For the next fiscal year, County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has recommended funding several pedestrian and traffic-safety initiatives, including more cameras to catch red-light runners and the hiring of a traffic analyst who could help police identify problem intersections and spot traffic trends more quickly and efficiently.
Montgomery representatives in the General Assembly have pushed for bills this session such as increasing the penalties for drivers guilty of hit-and-runs and creating a fund for municipalities to start pedestrian and traffic-safety awareness programs. The hit-and-run bill died in a surprising vote by a Senate committee; the bill on program funding is still under consideration.
And police have stepped up patrols at well-traveled intersections. Traffic officers in the Silver Spring area target a specific problem spot one day a week, passing out fliers with safety tips to jaywalkers and ticketing offending drivers.
Most accidents are occurring in the inner suburbs such as Silver Spring, Wheaton and Bethesda. Many
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