Raleigh growth could be cause of increased pedestrian collisions
Posted January 9, 2012
Updated January 10, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Collisions between pedestrians and vehicles in Raleigh were up significantly last year, according to statistics from the Raleigh Police Department.
From January to November, there were 182 reported cases – up from 152 during the same period in 2010.
Police and city planners say population growth could be one reason for the increase. That's why they are working on a new plan to make the city more pedestrian-friendly.
"There's more cars on the road than in the past. There's more people walking alongside the roads," Tomczak said. "We're trying to make Raleigh a place where walking can be done safely."
City planners are expected to bring the full "Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan" to the City Council for a vote in the next few months.
It includes many improvements such as more sidewalks, crosswalks, and changing out traffic signals from the old-fashioned red hand signal to ones with a 10-second countdown.
This part of the plan is already under way.
"Safe walking is just as important as safe driving," said Raleigh police Lt. Tim Tomczak, who teaches police officers how to investigate wrecks.
In many cases, he said, the pedestrians are at fault.
"More often than not, we see pedestrians stepping outside of crosswalks, not crossing at intersections, pedestrians impaired on alcohol or drugs. Or just being inattentive to what's going on."
The city has about 2,000 crosswalks at approximately 600 intersections where there are traffic lights.