Last May the College Park Trolley Trail crossing of Paint Branch Parkway made the news because a cyclist was injured after they were hit while crossing it. County Councilman Eric Olson (D–Dist. 3) of College Park and College Park City Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich (Dist. 3) wanted to add a red light at the intersection but the Prince George's Department of Public Works and Transportation, said the crossing does not have sufficient traffic volume to warrant a light.
Since then a pedestrian has been hit there as well. The Diamondback, which thinks cyclists are pedestrians (try telling that to pedestrians), has the story.
This year, on two separate occasions, vehicles moving along the parkway struck two pedestrians, according to state motor vehicle accident records. Both collisions resulted in injuries. Ambulances transported a 51-year-old male bicyclist in May and a 75-year-old female pedestrian in August to the Prince George’s Hospital Center.
District 3 City Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich wants to treat the area around UMd as a school zone enabling them to install speed cameras in the area.
Stullich brought the issue up at city council meetings earlier this month, saying beyond the cameras, which would only function from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, the Paint Branch Parkway intersection would likely need a regular traffic light instead of the blinking yellow one it has now.
Every day, joggers, bicyclists and riders of the Shuttle-UM College Park Metro bus use the Paint Branch Parkway crosswalk, which the city equipped in 2008 with a four-foot-long median and button to activate flashing yellow lights.
There is also a large neon-yellow sign warning drivers to come to a full stop at the light. But this sign does not seem to deter drivers from speeding past pedestrians, some students said.
“Well, I believe that we need a red light there. You know drivers usually stop for red lights. Drivers see a flashing yellow light and they don’t think that means stop,” Stullich said during the presentation. “I’m really afraid we’re going to have someone killed there. I dread that it’s not safe. The two people who were hurt could have easily been killed.”
It's not a done deal yet.
Before speed-monitoring cameras could be installed, the city council would have to approve its use by ordinance or resolution upon a public hearing.
But for Robert Stumpff, the city’s director of public works, the question remains as to whether the university qualifies as a school zone, as the law was initially aimed to safeguard roads near elementary, middle and high schools, but did not explicitly exempt public universities from its scope.
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