students will soon have a safer option to cross the six-lane Democracy Boulevard.
A new crosswalk is in the works to get students from a paved pathway that runs behind the football field across the busy Democracy Boulevard near Davis Library.
Although students already have a marked crosswalk and caution flashers at another spot along the road near Bells Mill Road, school officials said many students were crossing where this path ended along Democracy Boulevard.
Walter Johnson Principal Jennifer Baker said a parent noted the safety concern on the school’s listserv, which prompted others to also voice their concerns. Baker discussed the safety concerns on a Bethesda Magazine blog.
School officials meet with MCDOT and school transportation officials in September and a traffic study was completed in November, according to Esther Bowring, Montgomery County spokeswoman.
The study indicated the need to install ADA ramps near the new crosswalk area and provide a pedestrian refuge area in the median between the east and westbound lanes of Democracy Boulevard, she said. Those improvements are expected to happen in the next couple of weeks.
MCDOT will then determine where to move the flashing light that already indicates the crosswalk in place along Democracy Boulevard further east. The flashing lights will then serve to warn drivers of both crosswalk locations. Because the light is solar powered, officials are still determining the best spot to put it, Bowring said.
After the light is moved, MCDOT will then complete the striping for the new crosswalk, Bowring said.
Baker said the Montgomery County Police responded to the crossing concerns by posting temporary signs warning drivers to be cautious. She also said officials will be trimming trees along Democracy Boulevard to make the signs already in place easier to read.
“You can never put in place enough measures to alert people including distracted drivers and distracted kids walking across the street,” Baker said.