Parents with children at Wilson Wims Elementary School in Clarksburg finally got what they wanted after years of campaigning for a traffic light and crosswalk across Snowden Farm Parkway.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation announced in a March 13 letter that it will install a traffic signal at Snowden Farm Road and Grand Elm Street by the fall of 2015.
“The new traffic signal will include audible pedestrian warnings and countdown pedestrian indications in addition to marked crosswalks across Snowden Farm Parkway,” wrote Acting Director Al Roshdieh in the letter to the Coalition for Smarter Growth, based in Washington, D.C.
The county Department of Transportation did a traffic study of the area and concluded that “a traffic signal at this location will improve pedestrian and traffic safety and operations,” Roshdieh wrote.
The coalition, which advocates for pedestrian-friendly conditions, supported a group of Wilson Wims parents in their campaign to have traffic controls installed.
Wilson Wims is bounded on one side by the new four-lane Snowden Farm Parkway, which has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour.
County transportation planners initially said that a 40-mile-per-hour limit is typical for a through road such as Snowden Farm Parkway. Drivers expect to ride at that speed or higher on the road, and imposing controls to accommodate a relatively few number of students could be potentially hazardous, because drivers don’t expect the controls, planners said last fall during interviews for a Gazette report.
Aware of the speed limit, the school system provided free busing for students in the neighborhoods east of Snowden Farm Parkway, even though the students were not normally eligible for bus service because they lived close to the school.
Some parents appreciated the service, but others said the ride adds 20 to 30 minutes to the end of their child’s school day and that they were personally walking or driving their children to school instead, according to an Oct. 1 Gazette article.
“We’re glad to see that persistence and dedication can succeed in making an intersection safe before [something bad] happens,” said Wilson Wims parent Seenu Suvarna, in a news release from the coalition.
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