NC cities aim to create safer roads, especially in areas where public transportation use is higher

Monique John Image
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Fayetteville, Raleigh, Durham to create safer roads with federal funds
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Leaders in Fayetteville, Raleigh and Durham layout vision for how they plan to use of Safe Streets federal funds.

Officials are taking big steps in Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville to boost road safety. In Fayetteville, leaders are allocating half a million in federal funds for a roadway safety plan and reviewing other road improvement plans at Monday's city council meeting.

Fayetteville officials have three major road safety projects they're tackling at the council meeting. The first is to confirm the spots where the city will build 14.5 miles of sidewalk. They will also review research on implementing traffic calming throughout the city to avoid devastating crashes. Lastly, officials are slated to adopt over $500,000 through the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All Program to plan more equitable transportation options.

"The overall message of safety needs to be reframed in a way from what can be safe for cars, and to more what can be saved for the entire community as a whole. So we need to look at safety from a multi-modal perspective and look at not only what is only safer for vehicles but also for the pedestrians," said Brian McGill, the city traffic engineer of Fayetteville.

Fayetteville, Durham and Raleigh officials say they have all been taking steps to improve road safety since they allocated a total of about $2 million from the Safe Streets Program back in February. Officials say giving more support to marginalized people is a key part of the solution.

"The data already shows that traffic crashes are going up and crash severity is going up, and particularly in communities with populations that are more non-motorized, more public transportation oriented," said Doug Plachcinski, the director of the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.

"We are focusing on disadvantaged areas and everything within those areas to try to increase safety," said Sean Driskill, the Vision Zero program manager of Raleigh.