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Fix Unsafe Sidewalks After Tragic Death

Press release issued June 7, 2016

A campaign against dangerous road designs like the unsafe sidewalk that killed high school student Santos Escobar-Villatoro will kick off this afternoon in Long Branch. Because the sidewalk where the Gaithersburg teenager rode his bike is right next to the curb, he fell into traffic and was hit by a car when his bicycle hit an advertising sign.

Action Committee for Transit volunteers will be on the similarly hazardous sidewalks at Flower Avenue and Piney Branch Road in the Long Branch neighborhood of Takoma Park from 4:00 to 6:00 pm today. Joining them will be Montgomery County Planning Board member Natali Fani-Gonzalez.

ACT is calling on the State Highway Administration and Montgomery County Dept. of Transportation to create 4-foot buffers between sidewalks and traffic lanes wherever the sidewalk is right next to the curb. This can be accomplished at low cost by narrowing highway travel lanes to the 10-foot width recommended by safety experts and installing flex posts 4 feet from the curb.

The ACT volunteers will be talking with Long Branch pedestrians to identify hazards to walking in the area and ways they could be fixed.