Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, at podium, talks about the county’s implementation of a “Vision Zero” strategy, as 99 pairs of shoes represent the number of people who have died in recent times on county roads. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

Prince George’s County joined neighboring jurisdictions Thursday as a participant in the “Vision Zero” initiative to help eliminate all roadway fatalities by 2040.

The county announced its strategy at the Takoma Langley Crossroads Transit Center at University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue, a busy intersection that once recorded the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in Maryland.

“We will only accomplish this goal by working together,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “We must create a culture change where we will view distractive driving and speeding with the same level of distain as we do drunk, or drug driving.”

The county implemented its point by displaying 99 pairs of shoes by children and adults killed in fatalities within the past year, which included 5-year-old twins Alexander and Rosalie Meija and their 13-month-old brother Isaac. The children died after a drunk driver rammed into the back of their parents’ vehicle Dec. 30 on Route 210 in Oxon Hill.

Neighboring jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., the city of Alexandria in Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland have already implemented a Vision Zero initiative.

Christine Nizer, administrator for the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration, said officials are working with local representatives on specific plans, especially when roads cross into other jurisdictions.

“There are specific issues for each jurisdiction,” she said Christine Nizer, administrator for the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration. “We are working with council of governments in both the Washington area and Baltimore area to look at it regionally. Even though there are only a handful actually developed…I expect to see that number increased.”

Prince George’s County has recorded some of the highest road fatality deaths in the state of Maryland.

Between 2014 and 2018, approximately 470 motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists died on county roads.

The county averages 42 crashes per day, totaling more than 15,000 incident each year.

The Vision Zero plan will be initiated through six E’s: education, emergency response, engineering, enforcement, evaluation and equity.

Terry Bellamy, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation, said some work would entail street improvements, addition of bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.

Money and other resources would come from the state because some roads and highways are overseen by the state.

Even the county’s Department of Health will partner in Vision Zero to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

“Vision Zero is not only about the crashes, but it’s also about having a healthy community. Encouraging people to walk. Making it so that people are not afraid to ride their bicycles,” Bellamy said. “It’s not about the person passing through your neighborhood. It’s about the people in your neighborhood that can make a difference every day.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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