Speed Limit Lowered Along Dangerous Stretch Of Route 1 In College Park

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Three people dead in just one year. All of them were college students who were hit by cars as they walked on Route 1 in College Park.

Now officials are making some big changes along that road to increase safety.

Meghan McCorkell has a look at what’s being done.

Just this week, state officials lowered the speed limit along sections of Route 1 to try and avoid any more pedestrian accidents.

In the past seven months, three college students have been killed. They were all walking along a busy stretch of Route 1 right near the University of Maryland.

The latest victim — 21-year-old Janelle Oni — was killed by a drunk driver earlier this month.

“That was my star. She was a good girl,” Oni’s mother told WJZ.

Now the road fire officials call “dangerous” is getting some major upgrades. This week, the speed limit was lowered from 30 to 25 miles per hour. Next month, a fence will be installed in the median to prevent jaywalking.

Police are also stepping up patrols.

“We’re going to stay very, very aggressively on Route 1. And we certainly hope we have a safe school year,” said Dave Buck, State Highway Administration.

Speed cameras are now operating round-the-clock on Route 1. It’s a move drivers say has them hitting the brakes.

“They used to, but now they have the speed cameras up, so they can only go so fast,”said driver Germane Levenberry.

State highway officials are are employing some of the same tactics in College Park that they used in Ocean City after a surge of pedestrian deaths there.

Last year, a major safety campaign in Ocean City cut the number of pedestrian accidents in half.

“The reason it worked in Ocean City is because they were just saturated with the messages and it got across,” said Buck.

They hope the same message is heard in College Park.

“I think it’s a good idea to put the fence up. I mean, if it’s a safeguard for the students, obviously, their safety is very important,” said Becca Bakre of College Park.

Safeguards that could save lives.

State highway officials started their improvements along the Route 1 corridor in the spring.

The University of Maryland along with police have launched a new campaign called “Walk Smart College Park” to inform students about pedestrian safety.

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