Doubling down on a commitment to expand the network of pedestrian amenities in Hyattsville, Mayor Marc Tartaro said that sidewalks were needed in more neighborhoods as a simple matter of safety.
"The last pedestrian to be killed on a Hyattsville street was on 38th Street because he was walking where there wasn't a sidewalk available," said Tartaro during the meeting. "All it takes is for one person to be a victim, and that's all I have to say about that."
Tartaro's comments came in response to a plea from Ward 2 resident and city activist David Marshall to install sidewalks in University Hills.
Saying that he did not understand the "hatred" of sidewalks expressed by some vocal opponents of aspects to a proposed overhaul of the northern Hyattsville neighborhood's streetscape, Marshall said that University Hills needs sidewalks more than many other city neighborhoods.
Underscoring his point, Marshall noted that University Hills borders a popular park to the west and a large high school to the south, two spots which draw a significant amount of pedestrian traffic.
"This is a community that has children, that has commuters, that has people that want to walk," said Marshall. "They need a safe place to walk, in all parts of the city."
Tartaro, in responding, referred to a fatal December 2010 hit-and-run incident on 38th Street which killed 18-year-old Takoma Park resident Wilber Ramirez. According to The Washington Post, Ramirez was struck in the 5000 block of 38th Avenue at around 2 a.m. Ramirez was pronounced dead on the scene.
Hyattsville has a sidewalk policy which mandates that handicap-accessible pedestrian facilities be installed on all city streets where they can be feasibly installed.