Pushing for Pedestrian Safety in Chevy Chase Village, MD after Chevy Chase, DC Puts Pedestrians First

Residents of Chevy Chase Village, MD want pedestrian safety to be a priority in their town, and a recent petition to the Maryland Department of Transportation for a traffic signal and better-marked crosswalk near the town hall on Connecticut Avenue was denied.

Across the Maryland-Washington, DC border, however, a similar story has had a much better ending. Pedestrians trying to cross Connecticut Avenue at Northampton Street, near the Chevy Chase Community Center and library, now have a new traffic signal that is designed especially for pedestrian safety.

The new signal is pedestrian activated, and action to put it in place intensified following an accident in October 2012 in which a pedestrian was struck and seriously injured at the same intersection. The signal—called a HAWK, or High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk—was installed in late April after several years of effort by the Chevy Chase Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

The HAWK is a highly visible signal that stops cars with a red traffic light when a pedestrian pushes a button at the crosswalk. Some HAWKs can even sense pedestrians that are waiting to cross and will stop traffic automatically. While there has been some resistance by motorists in the area, complaining of traffic back ups along Connecticut Avenue, the reaction by the community has been an overall positive response.

Pedestrian accidents are, unfortunately, becoming a regular occurrence in the DC area. Many neighborhood commissions fight hard for years with no response from the state DOT for even the smallest change. Chevy Chase’s victory, no matter how seemingly small, has set an example for other towns throughout the Washington, DC area to continue pushing for community improvements.

The Bethesda auto accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins commend the Chevy Chase Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the success in securing the HAWK following their dedication and hard work.

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