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New Safety Measures In Place On Route 1 Following 3 Tragic Deaths

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)—New road improvements increasing safety now line the University of Maryland in College Park.

Tracey Leong has the details on the changes.

After months of researching and planning, two major enhancements have now been added to keep pedestrians safe.

A new pedestrian signal and fence in the median on U.S. Route 1 near the University of Maryland are the latest installments to protect pedestrians on this busy road.

These safety measurements were put in place following the deaths of three college students who were struck and killed along this the route. Family members were pleading for something to be done.

"I hope things change because so many families are hurt by this," said Ana Burnett.

Burnett's 21-year-old daughter, Janelle Oni, was hit and killed by a drunk driver in July.

State highway and University of Maryland officials are answering that call for action just in time for the fall semester.

"By following the rules of the road we all can be sure to reduce fatalities and injuries along U.S. 1 and all of our roads across the state," said Melinda Peters, State Highway Administration.

Adding a campaign to reinforce the message, reminding pedestrians to always use marked crosswalks, wait for the walk signal and look both ways.

The pedestrian signals turn red when activated and give a countdown. The fences discourage jay walking.

"It's a safer highway, safer pedestrian traffic, safer College Park and a safer University of Maryland," said Chief David Mitchell, University of Maryland police.

The speed limit was recently lowered to 25. It's all part of a larger effort to reduce injuries and deaths.

"It also takes students to be cognizant and aware to know what is going on to make sure that we can have a safe downtown," said Cole Holocker, University of Maryland Student Government.

There is also a call for change to drivers to slow down, stay alert and stop for all pedestrians.

In the past two years, more than 500 drunk drivers have been arrested along that stretch of the road.

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