Transportation Advocacy Group To Discuss Death of Germantown Teen

Broader discussion of pedestrian safety in Montgomery County on the agenda for Action Committee for Transit’s meeting 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Silver Spring

The death of a Germantown teen who was struck by a car while walking to school Halloween morning will be part of a Montgomery County transit advocacy group’s broader discussion Tuesday about pedestrian safety.

The Action Committee for Transit (ACT) is scheduled to meet 7:30 p.m. at the Department of Health and Human Services Silver Spring Center. Miriam Schoenbaum, ACT vice president, is expected to discuss the death of Christina Morris-Ward

Morris-Ward, 15, of Germantown, was in the process of crossing Germantown Road when she was struck by a vehicle travelling north on a green signal. Police said she died at the hospital.

Morris-Ward's school, Seneca Valley High School, is bordered by Middlebrook Road and Great Seneca Highway, two of Germantown’s busiest streets. Seneca Valley Principal Marc Cohen said the route Morris-Ward took across Germantown Road — another major thoroughfare — was a common path for students who walked to school, Patch has reported.

"Designing and building the landscape for people in cars kills pedestrians," Schoenbaum said in an email to Patch on Monday.

Schoenbaum described her own experience crossing the intersection on foot and said she observed a mother and a small child unable to make it through the intersection before the light changed.

During a vigil for Morris-Ward, parents circulated a petition calling for improved safety measures at the intersection. Montgomery County Councilman Craig Rice (D-Dist. 2), who represents Germantown, said a meeting had been convened with Montgomery County police and Montgomery County Public Schools administrators to discuss ways to improve pedestrian safety for students.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said during the vigil that Morris-Ward's death was “tragic” and that it was his hope to reduce the number of car collisions with pedestrians to “zero.”

Morris-Ward’s death also framed the discussion of the county’s pedestrian safety program during joint meeting of the Montgomery County Council’s transportation and public safety committees. Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Dist. 3), of Gaithersburg, said her death was a “tragic reminder of the additional work necessary,” The Gazette reports.

The transit advocacy group also plans to discuss other problem areas in the county.

Ed Rothblum, vice president of Gateway Commons Homeowners Association, is expected to talk about unmarked crosswalks on Observation Drive in Clarksburg.

Tracey Johnstone, ACT secretary, is expected to talk about the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Stanford Street in Bethesda, in front of Trader Joe's.

If you go …

WHAT:  Action Committee Transit meeting: Pedestrian safety, death of Germantown teen on the agenda
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13
WHERE: Department of Health and Human Services Silver Spring Center, 8818 Georgia Ave.
MORE: Visit ACT’s website, ACTForTransit.org.

l November 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Unmarked crosswalks on Gateway Commons are the least of anyone's worries. It is an office park, not a major thoroughfare.
l November 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM
If ACT were serious about improving transportation in the Upcounty area or in Clarksburg, ACT would be strongly advocating for M83 or the CCT connection in Clarksburg. And if it were serious about intersection issues in Clarksburg, how about discussing the lack of sidewalk connectivity to and from Clarksburg High School and Rocky Hill Middle School?
Cyclone November 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM
ACT is 85% made up of Older (50yrs +) citizens from Bethesda and Silver Spring. If you want any advocacy for Clarksburg, you should join the group yourself and represent it. I drive through 118 & Wisteria daily. The other morning after a Ride On bus unloaded there, there where three people making the dash across the road while the traffic had a green light. The third of which (an older hispanic lady) was crossing at mid-block and was no where near the cross walk. I guess my point is that ACT can protest all they want, but if the pedestrians are out right dis-obeying all traffic control devices, accidents are going to happen, no matter what new improvements are made.
Deb Sullivan November 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Students cross 118 at 3 different locations and many must also cross Middlebrook Rd. Lets put some crossing guards out there to stop all traffic for the students. Surely the life of a student is worth the cost.
Barbara November 13, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Driving on Great Seneca a bit after noon one day last week, about 5 car lengths before Dawson Farm road with green light ahead, here came two teen aged boys deliberately right through all the cars of traffic. There is no crosswalk, warning sign that's gonna save these nuts who can't abide by the rules. Plus, trying to avoid them can put drivers and their passengers in grave danger...just saying
Cyclone November 13, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Further down Great Seneca Hwy is North West High School. The had to put up a 7' high fence about 300yards long next to the hwy to keep the students from walking into the road. Of course that fence was response to a kid getting hit.
Joe Thomas November 14, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Its not that hard. Don't cross the road when the red light is facing you. This girl tried to run across the road when the light was red.
werzmecoffee November 14, 2012 at 02:42 PM
That fence was genius! I am so happy to see the kids walking safely on the other side away from traffic...away from my bumper. I do see kids running into the street all the time, which puts responsibility on drivers to drive with more awareness. Do these kids parents not teach them to run across Great Seneca with cars going 50mph+ ?!?!
Deb Sullivan November 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM
The problem still is that when the light is green for students to cross, there are still cars turning on red (legally) and the width of the road means kids are running to beat the light. No child should be put in that danger. Seneca students on that side of town MUST cross Rt 118 (and some must cross Father Hurley) at one of three locations. It is a danger for all involved. Again...we need crossing guards for kids.


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