Walking along Rockville Pike last weekend with the Coalition for Smarter Growth’s walking tour of White Flint, you couldn’t help but be scared. Cars were racing along the Pike, as they always do. The road’s a deathtrap. Drivers don’t notice pedestrians. Don’t even see them. They’re too busy keeping up with traffic.
On average, a pedestrian is struck by a car in Montgomery County every day. Every day, some family cries. More than 400 last year.
And early this morning tragedy struck again.
25-year-old Alejandro Roman, of Rockville, was driving his black Acura TSX north on Rockville Pike at Marinelli, right by the White Flint Metro Station. 26-year-olds Adam Hosinski and Rory Weichbrod, both of Silver Spring, had just left the Metro Station and were crossing the Pike, possibly to visit the all-night McDonalds (in the picture above).
Police found the two men in the street. Hosinski died at the scene, while Weichbrod was pronounced dead upon arrival at Suburban Hospital.
Our hearts go out to all three families.
So far the investigation has focused on whether alcohol was involved. But there’s also something else at work on Rockville Pike: Speed.
At higher speeds, drivers focus further away; at slower speeds, drivers focus closer.
And the faster the car, the worse the chances for the pedestrian. Collisions at 40 mph result in 80% of pedestrian victims dying; at 20mph only 5% die.
The speed limit on the Pike now? 40.
The speed limit on the Pike when it’s renovated under the White Flint Plan? 25.
And traffic will still move through White Flint, because we’re adding six new north-south lanes; just not on the Pike.
(Mobility expert Ian Lockwood explaining the old White Flint street grid (L) and the planned new “robust” street grid, which adds six new north-south lanes while slowing Rockville Pike and adding pedestrian medians in the middle.)
Yes, we know traffic’s bad on the Pike, and we know drivers just want to get home. But people live here now, and walk on Rockville Pike.
And we’ve already waited too long to start fixing Rockville Pike.