Officials Hope To Make Ritchie Highway Safer For Pedestrians

PASADENA, Md. (WJZ) — Before I-97 was built, Ritchie Highway was the fastest way to get between Baltimore and Annapolis.  In the past two years, nine fatal pedestrian accidents have shown that road is very dangerous for those walking near it.

Mike Schuh reports that may soon change.

This year, at least three pedestrians have been killed along Ritchie Highway.  Pedestrians are just inches away from cars going a mile a minute.  Last month, two teens were hit leaving a carnival.  Kara Micciche, a 17-year-old girl, died. 

“And they were just trying to go to the carnival and have fun and someone hits them,” said neighbor Rachel Overcash.

Overcash has lived near here all her life.  Every day, she navigates around a dangerous flow of traffic.  She says Micciche’s death is just the latest to happen here.

“The cars go by here at speeds like I-95.  Yeah, it’s bad.  They do need to do something,” Overcash said.

In fact, they are.  From Brooklyn to Pasadena, the state is spending $300,000 to re-time lights, install countdown timers at crosswalks and improve sidewalks.

“Any time you have a place like this with no crosswalks, it would help,” said David Day.

“We’re trying what we can to do the engineering part of it, the traffic safety devices.  We need the drivers and the pedestrians to pay attention to it,” said Valerie Burnett-Edgar, State Highway Administration.

“I think they should do that, definitely,” Overcash said.

People around here say the state can make all the changes they want, but if people continue to cross away from the crosswalks, there are still going to be accidents here.  Already, $300,000 has been spent and over a million dollars more will come next spring.

In all, there are 13 locations along Ritchie Highway targeted for the upgrades.  The state says these projects have been in the works for years.

More from Mike Schuh
  • Michell Davis

    They can try to change it by improvin the light system byt that still wont change things if it delays lights that mean longer rush hour traffice time of sittin on ritchie hwy and it still wont slow drivers down n who says they arent gonna run a amber light or even a red light.. And bein one of the 1st volley from fire dept off duty on kara’s accident n when her n sean got hit i herd it it sound like the impacted of 2cars hittin n not a car hittin 2ppl n speedin wasnt a factor but the driver said to 1officer he was so maybe the 300.000dollars or so that SHA is puttin to improve maybe that should go into use of speed light camrmas and the pay to aaco police or maryland state troopers for radar cuz wow do they not own radar guns anymore cuz they sure dont use them.

  • whatnow

    I have driven Ritchie Highway every day for 25 years. Most of the way from Brooklyn to Pasadena, the speed limit is 45. You hardly EVER get over 30 mph so speeding is not the problem. The speed doesn’t pick up until after you get past Pasadena. The problem between Brooklyn and Pasadena is people just willy nilly walk out into the street and stare at you and dare you to hit them. Nobody wants to walk down to the crosswalk to wait for the signals to cross. Pedestrian error will not be solved by new signals that the pedestrians are not using anyhow.

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