Ridgeview walkers, installing a stoplight @ Quince Orchard Blvd. and Little Quarry Road intersection

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If you have children walking to Ridgeview and crossing 124 at Little Quarry, you should be very concerned for their safety.

With a direct view overlooking the intersection, not a day goes by that I don't see a close encounter between speeding cars and inattentive children.

The crosswalk does not have a light or a crossing guard.

As with most tragedies waiting to happen, I fear nothing will be done until a child is hit and killed. Let's not have to ask ourselves: "what could we have done to prevented this?"

-- Brian Ruberry (br@rubcomm.com), February 12, 2000


Response to Ridgeview Walkers

My daughter has just raised the question with us of walking home from Ridgeview, and had you not added this comment, Brian, we may have said yes without further investigation.

Several years ago, Diane Dorney had the idea of building a bridge that would go from the hill district (near the bend in Chestertown Road between Thaxton and Little Quarry) across Quince Orchard Blvd. She and I and others had done a little brainstorming about what type of bridge might work. I think Marty Horan had the idea of something like the pedestrian bridge that crosses Glen Echo Parkway and someone else had mentioned a pedestrian bridge down near Wooten High School. During the second Kentlands charette, I had worked with Mike Watkins on an idea of property swapping - selling the School District some land bordering Rachel Carson and using the proceeds to build the pedestrian bridge, but frankly, I didn't follow up on that.

Any reactions to that idea? And in general, I'd be very interested to hear of other's experiences with walking home from Ridgeview Middle School. Is there any difference when kids travel in groups? Has the crossing guard worked out?

-- Michael Berney (mlberney@aol.com), February 12, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview Walkers

Michael: A bridge is a good long-term option...but we need a short-term solution...

a crossing guard seems like the most simple solution...

-- Brian Ruberry (br@rubcomm.com), February 13, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview Walkers

We have survived one middle-schooler and the walking issue, but not without playing the "yes I'm riding the bus home but getting off at my friend's stop" game, only to discover he was actually crossing 124. I think the county knows crossing 124 is not safe and they don't want to promote the idea of kids crossing AT ALL by putting a crossing guard there. They provide a bus for kids on the other side of 124 (at least they did five years ago). The problem we all face is that our kids not only believe they're immortal and know everything, but for the most part they HATE riding a bus. It's just not cool. I avoided the bus at all costs once I was out of elementary school as well... and that's been a few years!

The bridge does sound like a great long term idea, but I question whether the kids would walk to the bridge and use it, when they figure they can outrun any oncoming cars. It's a tough issue, and one we never really resolved before our son moved on to high school.

-- Pam Cosimano (pamcoz@erols.com), February 14, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview Walkers

i am currtently a 6th grader at Ridgeview and think that all we really need is 1 or 2 more crossing gaurds

-- sara berney (dancergrl2013@aol.com), February 15, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

How about exploring the possibility of a traffic light at Quince Orchard and Little Quarry which only turns red for Quince Orchard traffic when the WALK button is pushed. I suggest bringing it up at the 2/24/00 City community meeting. Although I believe it would be a State rather than a city project, the city can tell us the feasibility of the idea, and, if they are in favor, they can exert influence. Any statistics on accidents of any kind at that intersection?

-- Pat Reed (wmreed@erols.com), February 16, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Pam: while no children have been hit (yet) to my knowledge, the accident rate must rival the Springfield interchange...

I see and hear accidents there all the time...perhaps even fatalities...

I believe traffic lights are quite costly, but worth exploring...

-- Brian Ruberry (br@rubcomm.com), February 16, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

My son attends Ridgeview and I drive him and pick him up because of the unsafe crossing of Quince Orchard Blvd. When making a left turn to enter the Kentlands onto Little Quarry at the end of the school day, there is often a long line of cars and buses waiting to make a left onto Cheyenne on their way to Ridgeview. This queue blocks my view of oncoming (and usually very fast) traffic. The kids who have crossed halfway and stand on the median can't see clearly either and I have witnessed some near misses as kids bolt between cars and buses. The students are not walking down to the intersection with the guard. I think some kind of stop, either a stop sign or a light with left turn arrows for both directions during peak hours, is needed. A crossing guard could be employed if there was a stop and a crosswalk. I think a bridge would be very controversial, due to its visual impact and cost, and would take too long to get it in place.

-- Sue Vest (oddux@erols.com), February 16, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

I share the concerns others have expressed about the intersection at Little Quarry Road and Quince Orchard Blvd. I crossed I-124 there on foot once and will never do it again. I cannot imagine children's crossing the street there. I think it is also a dangerous intersection for cars--in fact, Vic and I steer our visitors away from that entrance to Kentlands, if they will need to make a left turn in, or a left turn out. To lessen the risk for both pedestrians and motor-vehicle occupants, I think we need traffic lights at this location.

By the way, someone asked in another thread if any of us had been to the "Counsel in the Communities" meetings and if they are worth attending. I have, and I highly recommend them.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), February 18, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

3 years ago, when 6th graders were first starting at Ridgeview, I attended a meeting at the clubhouse which Diane Dorney had organized with someone from the county crossing guard office. He said at the time that the Little Quarry crossing scared him to death, and that he would never recommend placing a guard there because he would not want to place anyone in such danger. He did expedite the placement of a guard at Kentlands Blvd.

Unfortunately, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and no one knows this better than middle schoolers. I insisted that Gregg use the crossing guard when he began at Ridgeview, and knew as I was insisting that he would do it for a while, then cross at Little Quarry. Frankly, that is what I would have done at his age.

Our kids will be worried about their own kids before we see a bridge, and I believe it was stated at that same meeting 3 years ago that even when built, studies show that a lot of kids don't use them. A light is our best answer, and I would be willing to help pursue it.

-- Kate Hurson (khurson@email.com), February 20, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Dr. Carol LeVine, Ridgeview's principal, sent home the following note on Friday, addressed to parents, students and staff:

"You should be aware of a matter that concerns the safety of school children. The police department is searching for a man who has been approaching students while they walk to and from school.

"The reported incidents have occurred seven times in the Rockville, Bethesda, and Potomac areas. In some instances, the individual ahs grabbed students. However, no one has been physically hurt or injured. "In each of the incidents, the appearance of the suspect is similar. He is described as a white male in his 30s, six feet tall, medium build, with dirty blond or reddish hair. He ahs a thin chin beard or goatee. He may be driving a light color (beige or white) pick-up truck with an open bed and patches of rust.

"Police have asked for public assistance. If anyone has any information, they are asked to call the Montgomery County Family Services Division at 240-773-5400. Any one who observes this suspect or any suspicious activity around their school or community should call 911.

"Children should be reminded of precautions that will help ensure their safety. Children should not talk to strangers, approach an unknown car, answer questions from strangers, and walk or play in isolated areas. If children walk to school, they should walk in pairs, preferably in groups.

"If you have any questions or concerns involving the safety and security of our students, please do not hesita

-- Michael Berney (mlberney@aol.com), February 20, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

My thanks to Nanette Horan for letting me know about this board. It's good to have a place such as this to voice our concerns.

I agree with Kate and others who feel that it's a good idea to put a light at the intersection of Little Quarry Road and Quince Orchard Road. I'd be very willing to lend a hand to make it happen.

-- Tom Golden (golden@webhealing.com), March 02, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

I brought this subject up at the meeting at Rachel Carson with city officials. As we knew, it is a state road, and will take forever, if then, to get a light. (I did not know that even if the city agrees to pay for a light that it feels strongly about, the state will still refuse to install it until they deem the need meets their requirements.) I suggested the installation of yellow flashing lights that would be activated at school crossing hours. Mayor Katz said he thought that was a good idea and that they would persue it. They are supposed to send out a follow-up letter to everyone who attended the meeting with action taken or to be taken. In the meantime, we should probably be contacting our district 17 team to see if they can expedite the yellow flashing lights. I'll find their email addresses and get them posted.

-- Kate Hurson (katehurson@onebox.com), March 03, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

The email addresses for our house delegation are as follows: Kumar_Barve@house.state.md.us Michael_Gordon@house.state.md.us Cheryl_Kagan@house.state.md.us

Jennie Forehand's address is not listed on the official Md. Assembly web site, which may be an oversite. It should be Jennie_Forehand@senate.state.md.us, but I am not sure.

-- Kate Hurson (katehurson@onebox.com), March 03, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

I am glad to see that there are so many people involved in this discussion. Several people have brought this problem to my attention. My legislative aide and I are working on a letter to State Highway regarding the feasibility of getting a light installed. In the meantime, I sent an email to Mayor Katz and City Manager David Humpton, verifying their strong support for such a project. Please continue the discussion. Sharing your experiences and ideas with us will only strengthen our case and enhance the odds that we can be successful. I will be sure to keep Jennie, Mike & Kumar informed of this project.

Cheryl C. Kagan Member, MD House of Delegates District 17 Annapolis: 301/858-3046 Rockville: 301/424-9650 Cheryl_Kagan@house.state.md.us www.cherylkagan.org

-- (Delegate) Cheryl C. Kagan (Cheryl_Kagan@house.state.md.us), March 03, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

My wife and I live in the house which is arguably closest to the intersection in question. In the four years or so that the intesection has been operational since the relocation of Rt. 124, there have been uncountable accidents, many involving multiple injuries. It is not uncommon to hear/feel more than one wreck in a week. I've reported four or five accidents myself.

As Mary Macdonald pointed out, the intersection is best unused unless one is turning right onto Little Quarry from Quince Orchard or right out of Little Quarry onto Quince Orchard. Every other option involves ugly odds.

Unless the state's sole criterion for traffic signal placement is driver or pedestrian fatality, I can't fathom that a light could not be justified at that intersection. I hope it doesn't take more accidents to get one in place.

-- David Fetzer (dfetzer@his.com), March 05, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

I received a copy of a letter sent by Kumar Barve to Charlie Watkins, District Engineer for the State Highway Admin. DOT, regarding my request for a stop light at Little Quarry and 124, and suggesting as a temporary solution the installation of a yellow School Crossing caustion sign with yellow lights that flash during school hours. Kumar endorsed my request based on his knowledge of the intersection and requested Mr. Watkins to give this matter further study.

If you would like to see such a light installed, email the delegation with your support.

-- Kate Hurson (katehurson@onebox.com), March 10, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

My thanks to Kate Hurson and anyone else who may have been involved in setting things in motion. I have emailed our state house delegation with my support for a stoplight at Little Quarry Road and Route 124. I understand that it may be difficult to get the state to put in a stoplight, but I am unenthusiastic about the idea of a School Crossing caution sign with lights that flash during the school hours, even as a temporary measure. Since the intersection in question is dangerous for motor-vehicle occupants, as well as pedestrians (and cyclists)--and since it is dangerous for persons of all ages--a stoplight is really needed, in this instance. Temporary measures, unfortunately, have a way of becoming permanent.

In view of the problems with the intersection for vehicular traffic, I also have another concern. A School Crossing sign with flashing lights might make parents feel better, but it would not address what may be the more pressing issue here. Children do not just walk, they are also passengers in motor vehicles. Teenagers drive (and drive their friends around). Nationally, 2.5 times as many 10- to 14-year-olds, and more than 12 times as many 15- to 19-year-olds, are killed in motor-vehicle crashes as occupants (drivers or passengers) than as pedestrians.

For all concerned, what we need at the intersection of Little Quarry Road and Route 124 is a stoplight. The need is already here, and it will only grow as development in this area continues. I hope others who support the installation of a stoplight at this intersection will take Kate Hurson's excellent suggestion and email our house delegation with their support.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), March 14, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

I just got off the phone with County Council member Phil Andrews with whom I was discussing another matter. Although the light at 124 is completely outside his jurisdiction, I brought our efforts to his attention. He said that he would send a letter to the state highway administration expressing his support.

-- Kate Hurson (mkhurson@md.freei.net), March 17, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Let's keep this issue HOT to the city reps, county reps, state reps, the mayors, governors and candidates for those offices. Often, unfortunately, DEATH IS THE CRITERION used for making changes at dangerous intersections. There was an intersection like the one in question on the Geo. Wash. parkway at Key Bridge. Coming north, one could cross the southbound lane and enter Rosslyn to go over the Key bridge. On April 17, 1971 a "fatal accident" occurred. It took 45 minutes, the police, fire dept. and the "jaws of life" to get the no heart beat, no pulse victim out of the car. Luckily, after experiencing the out-of-body experiences so often written about, the victim was worked on in the ambulance and brought back to life by the time the hospital was reached. He had 43 broken bones, a bruised spleen, every rib broken, collapsed lung, lost his speech and short term memory, needed 19 weeks in hospitals, two brain operations and 10 years (April 12, 1981) before his first "normal" EEG. Now, 29 years later, I have had both knees replaced and still have residual arthritic problems. Mine was the accident that closed that similar intersection. Now, to go over Key Bridge from the south, one must go to Spout Run and make a 1.5 mile loop. I speak from sad personal testimony, that unless we want to see that "evidence" repeated (and it is not always the other guy)we need to stay on this issue. I recommend a group of letters in the form of individual petitions that, together, could be presented to every possible person who could help. I am certain that we could get media attention and force the issue to be on the agenda for any politician running for office representing the K-lands. I will serve or consult with any committee for the purpose, but will not organize it or chair it.

-- Ronald B. Lee (ronanlee@bigplanet.com), March 19, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Ron's very personal story is a powerful one--and moving. I tend to agree with him that it will take a concerted effort to accomplish the goal of convincing the powers-that-be to install a stoplight at the intersection of Little Quarry Road and Route 124. I would be willing to help with such an effort in any way I can.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), March 21, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Count me in if you need help!

-- Lauren Paiva (lkp9@aol.com), March 27, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

I gather many of you are sending email to the delegation and making other efforts. I received a copy of a letter from Delegate Mike Gordon to Charlie Watkins, atating that he had gotten numerous letters from concerned parents as well as from Mayor Katz, about the light. This would make 3 letters to Mr. Watkins that I am aware of (the others being from Kurmar Barve and Phil Andrews as mentioned above). This all sounds very encouraging, but the State Highway Admin. probably gets 30 of these a week, and it makes no difference. Barbara Moidel said they were going to initiate a study of the intersection in the next 60 to 90 days. If it's on the 90 day side, school could be out for the year, and the study pointless. Even while school is in session, we may not meet their standard, so we must keep the pressure on.

-- Kate Hurson (katehurson@onebox.com), March 27, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

It should not be overlooked that I-124 and Little Quarry Road join at a 4-way intersection. Cheyenne Road enters from the opposite side, providing direct access to the neighborhood surrounding Ridgeview Middle School as well as the front of the school itself. In the morning I have sat at the stop sign at this Kentlands entrance and watched lines of cars and school buses turning left onto I-124. They have to brave on-coming traffic, traffic turning left from I-124 onto Cheyenne Road, traffic making U-turns to go back towards Kentlands Blvd., and traffic exiting Kentlands going right, left, and straight ahead. All of this occurs at the same time. Throw in pedestrians, and its every man, woman, and child for themselves.

Two left turn cuts on I-124, where traffic in both directions typically moves at 45-50 mph, despite a posted speed limit of 40 mph, plus two stop signs at the intersecting streets are simply not adequate control mechanisms to prevent accidents, near misses, and ultimate tragedy. One hasn't lived until they have heard the screech and crunch of a car ramming the side of a van turning left out of Little Quarry Road followed by sirens and helicopters rushing to the scene. This happened as I sat with my wife and friends in our garden one pleasant summer evening. Upon reaching the accident scene, the first thing I noticed was a wheel from one of the vehicles resting in the gutter at the base of the hill, attesting to the violence of the crash. This was brought home by Fire and Rescue personnel trying to pry the van's driver from the wreck. They had to go in through the back window.

Traffic lights would likely have prevented this accident as well as the additional accidents and many near misses that have apparently occurred since.

This is not just a Kentlands problem. Anyone who has friends across the street should make them aware of this Web site and urge them to post their opinions and/or contact their state and local government representatives about this matter. Let's keep pressure on until the issue is resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

-- Vic Macdonald (vmacdona@his.com), March 27, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

The initiative taken by the people posting in this forum is stunning. Thank you for the excellent information. My son does not go to Ridgeview, but he will in a few years. Perhaps by then the issue may be resolved -- thanks to this kind of direct involvement. I'm about to send off my e-mails to the appropriate representatives. Thanks again.

-- Robin Caldwell (rcaldwell@paint.org), March 28, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Does anyone have any news to report on the status of the Maryland Department of Transportation's evaluation of traffic safety at Little Quarry Road and Route 124? About two-and-a-half weeks ago, I received a response (to an email I sent) from Delegate Cheryl C. Kagan. She included a copy of a letter from John D. Porcari, Maryland Secretary of Transportation, stating that the results of an evaluation by the State Highway Administration (SHA) traffic engineering staff should be ready within 90 days. The letter, dated April 4, said that the staff would make "the best possible recommendation for safety measures at the school [i.e., Ridgeview Middle School]." I am hoping that this does not mean that the SHA's evaluation will focus solely on the safety of middle school students, as, again, the intersection in question is a dangerous one for all age groups and for nonpedestrians, as well as pedestrians.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), April 24, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Mary, I received the same letter from Cheryl Kagan, with the enclosure from John Porcari, Secretary, Maryland DOT. In addition to your concerns regarding the SHA evaluaton being limited to recommended safety measures at Ridgeview, there should also be concern as to whether this issue will be resolved in the short-term.

The Maryland legislature has recessed for the year - with most of the delegates returning to their "day jobs." In his letter, Mr. Porcari indicates he will be in touch with Cheryl Kagan when the evaluation is complete. However, since the legislature does not reconvene until January 2001, it becomes a concern as to whether that information will be relayed to us in a timely manner. Furthermore, should the evaluation (due to be completed at the end of June) include a traffic light at Little Quarry and 124, will there be anyone to ensure that the SHA expedites the process?

I'd like to suggest that if we have not heard from the SHA by July 10 or so, that residents make an effort to contact them directly at 301- 513-7311. Mr. Charlie Watkins is the District Engineer who is overseeing the evaluation. I also think it's important that Cheryl Kagan follow through with her inquiry. I believe she is a political consultant in DC, but I have no contact information for her. If anyone has additional information, it would be most appreciated.

-- Robin Caldwell (rcaldwell@paint.org), May 21, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Robin is right. We definitely need timely follow-through efforts, if we are to be effective in getting a stoplight put in at Little Quarry Road and Quince Orchard Blvd. If we hear nothing about the traffic study by July 10, we should, as she says, make an effort contact the SHA directly.

Meanwhile, check out the posting by Jim Shanesy on the Caucus site (see "Stoplight needed at Quince Orchard and Little Quarry Roads" at http://conference.tmn.com/~tmn/caucus.html). Although I am unaware of any fatal traffic accident at the Quince Orchard/Little Quarry intersection, Mr. Shanesy makes an excellent point about the need for a stoplight there that has not been considered in the discussion on this site.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), May 21, 2000.

Response to Ridgeview walkers

Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com) writes (May 21, 2000) that she is unaware of any fatal accidents at the Little Quarry/Quince Orchard intersection. We have been living on Little Quarry for just over two years. Shortly after we moved in, there was a terrible accident there that I was told was fatal. Traffic on Quince Orchard was backed up for hours. Quince Orchard Blvd and Great Seneca traffic were re-routed down Kentlands Blvd and Tschiffely. I only learned the next day (from a neighbor) that a fatal accident was the cause. I don't have any more details, but if someone does (or if the police department does) this should add strength to the arguments posted above. I've observed many cars traveling at what appears to be 60mph or so heading east on Quince Orchard as I turn out of/into Little Quarry. A light is definitely needed.

-- Steven L. Salzberg (salzberg@tigr.org), May 22, 2000.

Michael & Other Kentlands Neighbors:

Thanks for your continued activism on this important safety issue-- your voices WILL have an impact. My suggestion would be for us to try to arrange a visit with some of the K'lands community leaders and the four of us(Jennie, Mike, Kumar & me). Perhaps we might find out when someone from State Highway might next be in Mont Co and have him/her join us too?

Continued good wishes,


Cheryl C. Kagan Member, MD House of Delegates District 17 Annapolis: 301/858-3046 Rockville: 301/424-9650 Cheryl_Kagan@house.state.md.us www.cherylkagan.org

-- Delegate Cheryl C. Kagan (Cheryl_Kagan@house.state.md.us), May 31, 2000.

What, if anything, is happening with the issue we have been discussing on this thread, i.e., the matter of traffic safety at Little Quarry Road and Quince Orchard Blvd.? Does anyone have anything to report?

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), August 10, 2000.

I sent Cheryl Kagan an email last week asking precisely that. Specifically, whether the results of the study had been issued, and if they were unfavorable, suggesting that the next step would be for Cheryl and/or the delegation to introduce legislation to either 1) change the formula for alloting traffic signals within a certain radius of a school or 2) give municipalities jurisdiction over stop lights within a specific radius of a school. I said that I was not particularly confident that such measures would pass, but that sometimes just by threatening to alter the jurisdiction of a bureaucracy you can cause some action. (FDR and the packing of the Court come to mind.) States may have some federal blessing in this area that I am not aware of... Anyway, I have not heard back from Del. Kagan.

-- Kate Hurson (katehurson@onebox.com), August 10, 2000.

I am going in to seventh grade at Ridgeview. I think that an additional crossing guard there would be wondeerful. If you live near that intersection, I personally live right there, on Beckwith Street, that would be great. I think all Middle Schoolers agree with me that that would cut a lot of time off of OUR "commute." Too many kids are jaywalking (NOT ME, MOM ;-)) and that may be stupid of them, but we should do something. Any objections to a crossing guard?

Josh Paiva, 11

-- Josh Paiva (JoshPaiva@bConvergent.NET), July 05, 2001.

Sorry about that last posting, I was confusing what intersection was being referred to.

-- Josh Paiva (JoshPaiva@bConvergent.NET), July 05, 2001.

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