Bethesda community wants to make stretch of River Road into school zone, install speed camera

- The intersection of River Road and Braeburn Parkway in Bethesda has been a topic of heated debate for years, but the calls for change grew louder after a Walt Whitman High School student and his parents were killed while driving to a school function back in 2016.

River Road is a highway maintained by the state of Maryland and the Maryland State Highway Administration has determined that two things needs to be accomplished to make this a safer stretch of road – better signaling and dividing the road with flex poles to improve sight lines.

The community came out in force for a meeting at Walt Whitman High School Monday night and many agreed with the Maryland State Highway Administration’s proposals. But the overwhelming majority also voted to turn this area of River Road into a school zone and install speed cameras, and turned down the option of building a pedestrian bridge that would cross over River Road.

However, the Maryland State Highway Administration has the final authority to do as they see fit at this intersection. The agency already rejected the idea of turning this section into a school zone, but given Monday night’s vote, they said they will revisit the idea and plan to start making permanent changes by November.

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