|Pedestrians walk into oncoming|
traffic in front of the Apex Buildin
Friday, August 25, 2017
Wheelchair-bound man is first pedestrian victim of Apex Building sidewalk closure
To be clear, if a pedestrian is struck walking on the side of the road, or that intersection where the sidewalk and crosswalk are closed, they almost certainly will be the one at fault in a crash. Indeed, the elderly man was determined by police to be at fault in the August 4 incident, even though he was reportedly in a crosswalk area when he was struck. Jaywalking (or jayriding) is against the law, and unlike the County Council, most of us accept that we must follow existing laws or work to change them.
But County and State officials know that impatient pedestrians are going to enter the road along closures like this (as we've seen on Fairmont Avenue years ago), rather than cross the street and cross back again later. Traffic engineers know human behavior, and that is often factored into pedestrian design decisions.
Yet the closure was allowed to happen anyway, rather than requiring a covered pedestrian walkway along Wisconsin Avenue. If you think it's inconvenient to cross Wisconsin Avenue twice to get around this closure, imagine how difficult it is for a disabled person, such as the man struck in this case. Such walkways are specifically utilized to avoid discriminating against the disabled in construction zones.
The very few apologists out there for the Council (the majority of whom work for the Council) will grasp at the straw of noting this is a state road. In reality, the County has not enforced its so-called sidewalk closure law on its own roads such as Fairmont. Numerous sidewalks along County roads in downtown Bethesda have been closed this year, with no action by the County. Many have not even displayed the required sign displaying the term of the closure.
The County Council has utterly failed to protect pedestrians in construction zones.