They may have white painted lines with diagonal stripes, but two crosswalks along Olney-Laytonsville Road aren’t the real thing.
Over the past couple of weeks, crosswalks mysteriously appeared along Olney-Laytonsville Road (Md. 108) in Olney, but according to the State Highway Administration, the “graffiti” must go.
The crosswalks, which cross both eastbound and westbound lanes, showed up near the entrance to the Olney Shopping Center (just east of the Olney Library) and farther west, at Homeland Drive in front of St. John’s Episcopal School.
Although the crosswalks were not done professionally, the lines were carefully painted. For a while, a large, orange, diamond-shaped sign, which appeared to be an official sign with homemade lettering, warned of the new crosswalks.
People posting messages on the Olney-Brookeville Exchange Yahoo Group thought the spray-painted lines were “temporary” until the permanent lines could be installed. Posts on the forum wondered when the work would be completed and questioned why traffic wasn’t stopping for pedestrians.
However, State Highway Administration officials said their department has nothing to do with the crosswalks painted across the state road. In fact, according to SHA Community Liaison Christopher Bishop, they consider it “graffiti.”
The highway administration works with police and local authorities in cases of graffiti. It is not known whether this case will be investigated.
“Our maintenance shop has been instructed to remove the crosswalks,” Bishop said. “Weather permitting, that should take place within the next couple of days.”
Jim Smith, transportation committee chairman for the Olney Town Center Advisory Committee, said that several years ago, his committee, along with other community leaders, requested that the state install a crosswalk at that location.
“They told us that it would not be a safe crossing,” Smith said. “It is a shame because we know people cross there.”
Bishop said that to his knowledge, the SHA is not planning to install any additional crosswalks at this time.