Today the Downtown Partnership and the City of Little Rock held a press conference to announce a new pedestrian and bike safety campaign. According to Bryan Day, assistant city manager, the campaign is three-prong. There'll be a focus on education and awareness, which the Downtown Partnership will spearhead via their newsletter and Facebook. Additionally, police plan to crack down on downtown traffic violations. Running red lights and turning right on red or left on green cause the most pedestrian and cyclist accidents. The traffic engineering department will work to identify and address the most problematic intersections, with increased signage and longer red lights. Pedestrians have already been banned from the crosswalk on Broadway at City Hall during weekday work hours.
According to a analysis published by in January 2012 by Metroplan, Pulaski County had one cyclist death and nine pedestrian deaths in 2011, including an Entergy employee who was hit by a CAT bus crossing Louisiana at Capital. The study identified a dozen intersections with the highest crash incidents. Markham and LaHarpe tops the list at nine collisions, followed by Sixth and Broadway with eight collisions.
Fred Woodward of eStem Charter Schools was there to remind everyone of the 1,500 high school students strolling around downtown, to and from school and to restaurants, often distracted by their pals and not paying attention to traffic or signals. James Jones, the regional customer service manager from Entergy, was there to remind everyone that walking to work can be lethal. Max has given y'all his thoughts on this matter in a previous post.
The take-home message from today's event: texting, GPS systems, fiddling with your iPod, fixing your hair and eating your cheeseburger are dangerous. As Sgt. Cassandra Davis put it, "It only takes a second for something bad to happen. We don't want to live the rest of our lives regretting."