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.

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