Prince George’s County police and transportation officials are working to install a number of measures — from speed cameras to speed bumps — to slow motorists on Windbrook Drive in Clinton after two pedestrian fatalities on the road since May.
Celeste Johnson, who lives outside of the county, has teamed with the Windbrook Area Citizens Association to push for a number of roadway improvements on the road to slow drivers down after her son, Zachary Smalls, 22, of Upper Marlboro was struck and killed crossing Windbrook Drive on July 7 on his way to a friend’s barbeque.
Around 50 residents attended a meeting Thursday in Clinton to learn county officials’ plans to prevent further incidents.
Maj. James Harper, commander of the Prince George’s County Police Department District 4, which includes the Windbrook area of Clinton, said officers have tried a number of tactics to slow drivers already, but they weren’t adequately effective, since the road cannot be constantly patrolled.
“We’ve tried traditional measures, like giving out tickets and untraditional measures, like jogging through the neighborhood,” said Harper, who added that patrol enforcement has increased since May.
County transportation officials are beginning preparations for long-term road improvements like speed bumps to slow drivers and county police plan to put up a speed camera. The camera photographs any motorist driving more than 12 miles over the posted speed limit and the driver is later mailed a $40 ticket.
Maj. Robert Liberati, who handles the county’s electronic ticketing measures, said the new speed camera would likely be in place within the next couple of weeks.
Susan Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the county Department of Public Works and Transportation, said the department plans to install speed bumps and chokers, which narrow a roadway at certain points to force drivers to slow down.
The more than $1 million project will begin after July 2013 as it needs to be funded through the fiscal 2014 budget, Hubbard said.
Since the road is considered a “collector road,” meaning it connects two larger roads in Piscataway and Floral Park roads, DPWT is required to obtain a petition with the signatures of 90 percent of residents on Windbrook Drive and 60 percent of people living in local side streets, she said.
“Chokers are a curved projection from the curb, and then we’d put the speed bumps with them,” Hubbard said. “Since it’s such a wide roadway, we don’t want people to go around the speed bumps. We want them to slow down, and if they hurt their car, they hurt their car.”
Demitra Taylor, 38, of Clinton, who was hosting the barbeque on Windbrook Drive that Smalls was en route to, said the road has been unsafe for a long time.
“This should have been addressed long ago,” said Taylor, who added that it was sad that it took the death of a pedestrian to force action. “I’ve been afraid to even cross my street.”