Weekly Feature

2018-08-09 / Front Page

Officials call for study in wake of fatal accident

Interim editor

In the wake of a fatal accident at the intersection of the Kensington Expressway and Union Road, state Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assemblywoman Monica Wallace are pushing for a study of the intersection by the state Department of Transportation.

Sherilann Lorenz, 16, was struck by a car last week while riding her bicycle and later died of her injuries.

“As the father of three children, one of whom is a teenager, my heart is absolutely broken, and I know the whole community is feeling the pain and the loss of Sherilann,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy and Wallace have formally asked the DOT to look into safety features for pedestrians and bicyclists at and around the intersection. What those additional features might be is yet unclear.

“The reason I asked the DOT to do the study is because I’m not an expert,” said Wallace.

Kennedy was also unsure of what suggestions a study might yield, but said a study following a fatality at the intersection of Harlem Road and Walden Avenue resulted in traffic-calming measures, brightened lighting, enhanced road lines, a crosswalk alarm and a reduced speed limit in the area.

“In other circumstances, when we’ve seen this sort of tragedy, we’ve called on the DOT to do a similar study and it has proven fruitful,” said Kennedy.

Wallace also noted that a timeline for the study and any proposed changes might take some time.

“You want to be thoughtful about it,” she said. “You don’t want to make a kneejerk decision.”

Both politicians noted that the area is heavily trafficked, and has become increasingly so during the course of the past several years. Wallace said she saw the conditions firsthand, as her recent campaign headquarters was just up the road. According to Kennedy and Wallace, more than 15,000 vehicles traverse the intersection on a daily basis in addition to pedestrian traffic.

While Wallace is unsure of when the last study of the area took place, she said the DOT may not be aware of the particular conditions at the intersection, which could lead to unsafe situations.

“Maybe the DOT isn’t familiar with the fact that kids are crossing the street to go to the pool,” said Wallace. “People are often in a rush to get home. There are teenagers who use this street to cross to get to the pool in the summertime, whether on bike or on foot, and there’s a bus stop there.”

Lorenz was one of those teens. The Cleveland Hill High School student was on her way to work as a lifeguard when she was struck.

“I think we owe it to the community to look at the issue and see if there’s any way to avoid another tragedy like this,” said Wallace.

email: bjackson@beenews.com

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