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Stop Building New Roads Until Old Ones Are Safe

Joint Letter of 6 Transit Groups to Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn
November 4, 2015

We are deeply concerned about the recent epidemic of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on Maryland's highways. Our highways are not designed for safe cycling and walking, and the toleration of these dangers by state and local agencies over many years demonstrates a lack of proper safety culture. We call on you to direct the State Highway Administration to devote all its energies to remedying these unsafe conditions and halt construction of new and expanded highways until they are fixed.

In last Sunday's Washington Post, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx wrote that “Metro can forget any new rail-expansion projects until it meets our safety standards.” Maryland's highways are much more dangerous than Metro. If the safety-before-expansion policy is appropriate anywhere, it is on our deadly roads.

Within just the last two weeks, pedestrians have been killed at three patently unsafe locations on Maryland highways:

Although excessive speed and driver error played a part in each of these deaths, an absence of concern for pedestrian safety in the design of the sidewalks and the roadways makes these locations unsafe. The highway safety culture itself needs to be upgraded to protect pedestrians and bicyclists without discouraging walking and cycling. Until that safety culture is put in place, we should not continue the construction of dangerous highways.


Action Committee for Transit
Nick Brand, President

Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
Brian O’Malley, President & CEO

Citizens Planning & Housing Association
Richard Hall, Executive Director

1000 Friends of Maryland
Dru Schmidt-Perkins, President

Prince George's Advocates for Community-Based Transit
Lessie Henderson, Co-Chair,

Transportation for Maryland