Local parent takes action after “close call” on foot
UPDATE: The Maryland State Highway Administration says a left turn signal and a crosswalk on the north side of the intersection below are warranted. Read the full story here.
BY REBECCA BENNETT — On August 27, Aimee Condayan of Hyattsville says her nine-year-old son was nearly struck while crossing Jefferson Street in the Arts District. The family was headed towards Elevation Burger from the corner where Busboys and Poets sits.
Condayan says she was holding her four-year-old’s hand when they got the walk sign. “In what felt like a millisecond, I saw my son step into the street as a large, black SUV flew right toward his path. I froze and screamed my son’s name and the SUV had passed us,” she said.
After the terrifying encounter, the mother-of-two decided she needed to do something about what she felt was a dangerous intersection. She wrote to the Hyattsville City Council, the City mayor, the Maryland State Highway Administration, and to the Hyattsville moms listserv.
In her letter to the City Council:
I…wanted you to be aware of what happened and what could happen to any one of us or our children. My son was inches away from me, but also inches away from the speeding car. Other parents have since told me about similar near misses at that same intersection. What, if anything can we do in the way of traffic calming? I loathe that particular intersection when on foot or in my car. I am so afraid that someone, likely a child just like my son, will be killed if nothing is done to address the safety issues.
In reference to Condayan’s letter, councilmembers brought up the City’s desire for MDSHA to put a left turn signal southbound on Baltimore Avenue at Jefferson Street traveling into the Arts District retail development.
Elizabeth Pfaffenroth says her family also had a close call on August 28 at that same intersection, just one day after Condayan. “Despite having the right of way, we were almost hit by a driver turning into the complex on Jefferson from Route 1 going south,” Pfaffenroth said.
These frightening moments all happened just days before a mother was killed walking with her three-year-old daughter September 1 at the intersection of Riverdale Road and Kenilworth Avenue in Riverdale. Changes have already been made to Route 1 in College Park following several pedestrian fatalities in that area.
View Larger MapCondayan says MDSHA called her shortly after she filled out a request for service at Baltimore Avenue and Jefferson Street. She says “[The Maryland State Highway Administration] got my message regarding concerns and that they are going to do a 90-day study of that intersection to see if there’s anything they can do from an engineering perspective to help make that intersection safer.”
Condayan is encouraging those who are concerned about pedestrian safety at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Baltimore Avenue to still send a letter or speak at the September 15 Hyattsville City Council meeting at 4310 Gallatin Street, as well as to fill out a request for service with the Maryland State Highway Administration.