$300,000 Dale Drive pedestrian safety study to begin in July

An example of the aftermath of an accident on Dale Drive. Photo by Julie Englund.

A $300,000 study on potential long-term pedestrian safety enhancements to Dale Drive will begin in July following the County Council’s final budget approval yesterday.

The funding for the Department of Transportation work was proposed in March by Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-District 5) during a hearing on the Capital Improvements Program and was agreed to by Al Roshdieh, DOT’s director.

“I moved that, the [Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee] approved and now the full council has approved [the funding] twice, so it’s final,” Hucker said. “That was in addition to the county executive’s budget.”

The funds will go toward a study on long-term improvements, including topographical changes and possible regrading.

“It will be a way to consider the impact of sidewalks as well,” Hucker said. “I confirmed from DOT [yesterday] that they’ll begin that study in July.”

At the same time, work will be started on other improvements, using money from the DOT’s FY18 budget, Hucker said.

“They agreed to bump-outs from the side, pedestrian refuges, enhanced crosswalks, markings and new paint, new signs—they told me that changing the wording on the signs that refer to state law has a better impact on driving and driver behavior—and also shoulder enhancements so that regardless of the cars, people that are walking on the shoulders aren’t walking on potholes and broken asphalt,” he said.

He added that the council has also urged the police department to purchase additional Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailers, which are deployed by request around the county and tell motorists how fast they’re traveling on roads like Dale Drive.

“There are not enough of those around the county and we’ve urged the police to order more of them,” Hucker said.

Hucker also was one of about 90-100 participants in a Dale Drive safety walk held last Sunday.

“I was really impressed by the turnout. It’s a real credit to the Dale Drive Safety Coalition, Corinne Hart, the lead organizer, and all the groups they reached out to,” Hucker said.

The walkers included DOT representatives, representatives of the Action Committee for Transit and other pedestrian safety advocates, county police, the Parks Department, Planning Board Chair Casey Andersen, other elected officials and candidates running for office.

Perhaps fittingly, shortly before the group got started on the walk, there was an accident at a crosswalk.

A car stopped for a pedestrian and was hit from behind by another driver.