NC in top 10 for pedestrian deaths

October 14, 2009 5:08:05 AM PDT
Crossing a Triangle street is not as easy as it may appear, it cost hundreds of North Carolinians their lives this year.Several people have died trying to cross one of the area's deadliest roads -Capital Boulevard.

"It can be extremely dangerous especially during the height of the busy time," pedestrian Melvin Ballard said.

There are no crosswalks or pedestrian signals in an area that continues to grow. Experts say it's becoming a dangerous problem.

Just recently, a 6-year-old girl died after getting off her school bus in Raleigh. Then last month in Durham, a store manager walking to work was killed on 15-501 south. And earlier this year, a transit bus and an UNC student collided on campus.

The tragic deaths have put North Carolina on the map of pedestrian danger, ranking the state ninth in fatalities nationwide.

Part of the reason is North Carolina has more roadways than every other state, except Texas.

Tom Norman with the North Carolina Department of Transportation also points to several challenges, the Triangle is growing and so is the traffic. So, it all comes down to planning.

"Because we do have a lot of new development and there are more pedestrians ? we do have to provide good solutions for them," he said.

However, with some roads maintained by the state and others by the city, pedestrian bridges can be expensive at a about $1 million each.

Some roads don't meet the criteria for pedestrian signals and crosswalk, because there is either too little foot traffic or too much gridlock.

"Yeah, they want to keep the traffic flowing, but at the same time we have to use the same street as well," Ballard said.

But officials say they are trying to be proactive.

"It has been a goal for decades to keep traffic moving," Norman said. "It has only been more recently been a goal for the city and state to try to make safe conditions for pedestrians, so we are trying to catch up."

This summer, the state started a program called Complete Streets, where road designs in the future will hopefully be more pedestrian friendly.

Still the issue is with the older roads that are difficult to retrofit.

Send pictures | Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts
Most Popular  |  Follow abc11 on Twitter  |  abc11 on Facebook


Load Comments