Several Maryland lawmakers say they are pushing for more money to make roads safer for pedestrians with the SAFE Roads Act, but they’re worried that they’re running out of time to get it.
It’s a call residents have made as well as they’ve grown frustrated with news of people struck and killed. One Silver Spring woman who lost both parents on the same stretch of Georgia Avenue five years apart is fighting to help protect other families.
In 2016, Robert Grossmann was struck while trying to catch a bus. Last year, his wife Claire was hit getting off a bus. Their daughter Rachel says she still gets nervous when driving.
“I was so afraid of taking what was taken away from me, I was so afraid of taking a life, because I was so devastated by their deaths,” Rachel Grossman said.
It’s why she’s been pushing for the Maryland SAFE Roads Act, which would increase funding for pedestrian and bike safety.
“At its core it’s about saving people’s lives,” Mayland Del. Lorig Charkoudian, who co-sponsored the bill, said.
Charkoudian said it would require temporary fixes to be put in place quickly whenever there are safety issues reported with roads, because otherwise, “while that intersection or that area or that stretch of road is on a waiting list to get addressed, somebody gets killed there,” she said.
If the bill were to pass, the money would go towards things like improving sidewalks, putting up more safety signals and adding more bike lanes. But that’s a big “if.”
The bill passed the Maryland House, but is now stalled in the Senate.
Monday is the last chance for it to move forward, before the legislative session adjourns.
“I remain optimistic that we can move it tomorrow. If the bill doesn’t pass, then unfortunately the bill is dead for a year. We’ll bring it back next year, but in the meantime, unfortunately, we’ll have more tragedies,” Maryland state Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher, another co-sponsor of the SAFE Roads Act, said.
Grossman said she also hopes the bill passes, and that no other families have to go through what she did.
“People’s lives are at risk, you know? I think it’s money well worth spent,” she said.