CALIFORNIA, Md. — Any driver who has a commute along St. Andrew’s Church Road has likely witnessed the highway-like conditions that the road possesses. Experiencing heavy traffic outside of rush hour, the road has been the site of many accidents along its turns over the years — several of which have been fatal.
Data from the St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services shows roughly 185 motor vehicle accidents on St. Andrew’s Church Road, including six fatal accidents, from 2017 to now. Sixty of these accidents have come in 2021 alone.
A petition created in mid-March, which has reached almost 1,200 signatures, is fighting for changes to help limit accidents on the road as the numbers are rising.
The petition was started by Justin Johnson, a resident who lives near St. Andrew’s Church Road, who witnesses the traffic chaos daily. Johnson created the petition on Change.org and is calling for change from the St. Mary’s County Government. On his page, he wrote, “I’m petitioning for a traffic light at the intersection of Indian Bridge Rd. and St. Andrew’s Church Rd., a drastic drop in the speed limit after the intersection, a middle turning lane on the straightaway following the intersection, or a combination of these options.”
The addition of some form of traffic control on the road would likely help to reduce the number of accidents, especially those that are fatal, based on the most common locations of accidents seen over that time. There are many options that the county can consider, but some method of change could be necessary as the accident report presents some heartbreaking totals.
“Drivers constantly treat this road as a highway when truly the entire road is nothing but a residential area, and it’s extremely dangerous to drive on,” Johnson said. “There have been countless accidents on this road, and this change absolutely must happen.”
St. Mary’s County Commissioner Eric Colvin[R-District 1] has been aware of this growing issue and has “highlighted this problem to MDOT multiple times.” He mentioned that the state has several forms of traffic calming devices that they could employ to try to help slow drivers down. One example that Colvin shared is the recent installation of rumble strips on Route 249.
Colvin does not think MDOT is reluctant to do anything on St. Andrew’s Church Road but has said, “They just have limited resources and a lot of other roads to work on too.” He also raised concerns about the increasing number of distracted drivers. Colvin says that “ultimately everyone needs to slow down and drive more cautiously.”
Many residents have said that the road feels like a highway, noting that speeding is a problem. One commenter on the petition said, “People drive on it like it’s the St. Andrews 500.” Speeding, distracted driving, and people returning to roadways as things reopen have likely contributed to the number of accidents seen on all roads in 2021.
“I will have moved by the time this potential work has been completed,” Johnson wrote in the petition. “But I’m hoping that this will save many lives in the future, and a lot of families from heartache and pain.”
To learn more about the petition or to sign, CLICK HERE
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