Thursday, May 26, 2016

#Davidson to launch full court press pedestrian safety initiative

At Tuesday's Davidson Town Board meeting elected officials heard a presentation on a high profile information and enforcement initiative with the hopes of improving pedestrian and bicycle safety.  Lieutenant Steve Ingram of the DPD and the Town Public Information Officer, Christina Shaul, outlined several aspects of the campaign.

As aShortChronicle has reported on extensively, there is the ongoing effort to lower the speed limit on Davidson-Concord Road which was mentioned as Ingram began his remarks.  This presentation was about other initiatives on top of that.

Lieutenant Ingram outlines multiple outreach efforts by the DPD.

They include handing out fliers at the Farmers Market and tracking numbers of police contacts where pedestrian safety is discussed.  Lieutenant Ingram also extended the offer of inviting DPD to your neighborhood event to have the police speak directly with residents.

There will also be increased enforcement efforts.

The town will be getting 2 more of the portable automated speed limit signs allowing DPD to rotate them more often around town.  A $340 fine for not yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk was also mentioned.  Finally, while there wasn't immediate enforcement planned for jaywalking  (a particularly bad problem on Main Street) that was not ruled out in the future if warranted.

The Town also plans to use its full arsenal of communication tools to spread the word including the town website, social media accounts, the eCrier email blast, the quarterly Town Message newsletter, and the regular meetings with neighborhood groups.  It will also engage with other institutions such as Davidson College, local hotels and churches.  They'll even have access to slides at Our Town Cinemas as well as access to Mi-Connection.

It sounds like you won't be able to go anywhere in town without hearing about pedestrian safety.  That's definitely a good thing!!!

All of these actions should make a fair amount of improvement for residents.  Now, if a way can be figured out for more non-residents who come through town to get the message, everything will be covered.  That's one gap that's harder to fill.

Maybe investing in signage for roadways entering town would be a good idea as well.

How about this sign from Australia.

Or maybe get a bunch of signs like this one seen on Davidson's very own South St...

Or maybe make something up that's more unique...

Regardless something to bluntly inform non-residents that there are lots of non cars on the roads here would be helpful.

It was mentioned multiple times during the presentation that pedestrian safety is a pedestrian responsibility as well.

Commissioner Beth Cashion drove home that point saying...

"It is your responsibility to take care of yourself.  You are responsible for crossing the street.  You are responsible for driving a car, but more importantly as a pedestrian whether you are in the crosswalk, or not, or jaywalking, or on the sidewalk, you are responsible for your own well being. "

Cashion went on to say....

"We can put as many safety stops, and tickets, and cones out there as you all would like, but at the end of the day, you are responsible."

As a strong proponent of personal responsibility, there is a lot of truth in Cashion's statement - for adults.  However, it's also true that "kids will be kids".  If the town is to live up to its pedestrian friendly moniker, it needs to make it safe for people - particularly kids - sometimes in spite of themselves.

When the town bills itself as "pedestrian friendly", when there are crosswalks across a busy road like Davidson-Concord connecting to town greenways, and when the town approves development which makes all of that much more dangerous, the town does take on an element of responsibility for making it safer.

For those reasons this new program is welcome.  That being said, there is a lot more to do, and some of those things will be a lot more expensive than sending out more information.

Watch the whole presentation here.  It's about 25 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment