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Clarksburg parents press MontCo for crosswalk

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Local,Maryland,Kate Jacobson

Montgomery County officials are refusing to create a crosswalk in Clarksburg where children commonly cross to get to school, saying they're waiting until a $27 million expansion project of the road is completed. But when that will be remains to be seen.

Parents in the Gateway Commons development in Clarksburg have asked county officials to mark a crosswalk at Stringtown Road and Observation Drive, which would allow students to have a marked walkway across the divided, two-lane Stringtown Road to Clarksburg Elementary School, directly across from the development. The road has no stoplight at the entrance to the neighborhood, and the closest marked crosswalk is about 500 feet down the road.

Officials from the County Department of Transportation and County Executive Ike Leggett say they won't provide marked crosswalks until the estimated $27 million project to expand Observation Drive to Germantown is started.

"Until Observation [D]rive is extended, MCDOT will not install crosswalk markings across Stringtown Road at this location," Leggett wrote in an email to parents dated Dec. 4.

The road expansion is part of the county's Capital Improvement Project, but Montgomery County spokeswoman Esther Bowring said she did not know how far along the project was, or when the county planned on starting it.

Edward Rothblum, parent and vice president of the Gateway Commons Homeowners Association, said he is frustrated with the county's disregard to his repeated requests.

"All I want is a crosswalk and some blinking lights during the beginning of school and at the end of school," said Rothblum, who walks his 5-year-old daughter Alex to school each day.

Bowring said it would be unsafe to put in just a crosswalk at the street intersections without the extension and a traffic signal, because the road would have uncontrolled traffic flow.

She recommended residents use the crosswalks that are about 500 feet away in both directions.

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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