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Adventists Join Community Leaders In Supporting Pedestrian Safety

By Taashi Rowe

With the goal of reducing pedestrian fatalities at one of Maryland’s most dangerous intersections, representatives from several Seventh-day Adventist institutions in the Takoma Park, Md.-area participated in a pedestrian safety awareness event recently. The event—held at the intersection of New Hampshire avenue and University boulevard—was organized by C-SAFE, a community oriented crime prevention group. It was also supported by representatives from Washington Adventist Hospital, Columbia Union College, Takoma Academy, Sligo Adventist School, and other public and community officials.

Volunteers gave away reflectors for pedestrian clothing, candy cane, and literature in Spanish and English explaining the importance of safely crossing the street. The event also featured a press conference to reinforce the importance of the issue.

“We do events like this at least once a year to dramatize how to safely cross the street,” said Erwin Mack, a member of Potomac’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md. Dressed as Santa Claus and escorted by police, he and students from Takoma Academy and Sligo school rode in his 1924 Ford Model T Roadster, up and down the two streets.

Mack spearheaded the organization of the Multijurisdictional Pedestrian Safety Committee (MPSC) after he heard about the needless deaths of two children at the intersection in 2002. That year there were 12 deaths in that intersection. The ad hoc committee involves not just Adventists but other community members including those from the state’s highway administration, police departments, transit authority, and area schools. Not only does the committee do safety awareness events in cooperation with CSAFE, it has successfully lobbied to make the intersection one of the most pedestrian friendly in the state.