Neighborhoods receive funding to improve pedestrian safety

CHAPEL HILL (August 5, 2009) — Ten communities from across the U.S. have been selected to receive funding from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) to improve pedestrian safety and help make their environments more "walkable" with the use of the guide, A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. The following community groups will each receive $2,000 in funding to implement their planned activities related to the guide:

  • Live Healthy Nevada County, Grass Valley, CA: Planned activities include using walkability checklists to identify pedestrian safety issues and implementing safety education and outreach to schools.
  • IONA Senior Services, Washington, DC: Planned activities include conducting a pedestrian safety audit coupled with publicity and education focused on senior pedestrians.
  • New Visions Community Development Corporation, Fort Lauderdale, FL: Planned activities include hosting community forums, workshops and walkabouts along with educational outreach to community members.
  • Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, New Orleans, LA: Planned activities include implementing small-scale engineering improvements, educational outreach to pedestrians, drivers and pedestrians as well as enforcement activities.
  • Seward Redesign, Minneapolis, MN: Planned activities include developing engineering solutions, conducting educational activities surrounding safe behaviors, and hosting "Walk-to-Shop" events.
  • City of Wabasha / Fit City Wabasha, Wabasha, MN: Planned activities include identifying and assessing walking routes as well as reviewing crash data and identifying pedestrian safety improvements.
  • Swannanoa Community Vision Group, Swannanoa, NC: Planned activities include conducting surveys and walking audits to identify pedestrian safety issues, working with local businesses, transit and government representatives as well as developing a pedestrian safety master plan for the rural area.
  • Old Towne, Columbus, OH: Planned activities include hosting a series of walking audits and workshops, analyzing crash data to develop priority pedestrian safety zones and the completion of a pedestrian safety plan.
  • Collegeville Main Street Program, Collegeville, PA: Planned activities include installing pedestrian signage, coordinating with law enforcement and working with traffic engineers to address lighting and traffic calming.
  • South of South Neighborhood Association , Philadelphia , PA : Planned activities include creating a pedestrian safety advisory committee, coordinating with law enforcement and encouraging pedestrian safety surrounding schools.

Awarded communities will implement their proposed activities while pilot testing the use of the guidebook and providing feedback on additional resources needed by communities to improve pedestrian safety in neighborhoods. Each awarded site will also be provided technical assistance from pedestrian safety experts while planning and implementing their projects.

"We were extremely excited about the interest we received in this funding opportunity for pedestrian safety," said HSRC Research Associate and Principal Investigator Laura Sandt. The Center received 75 applications following a call for proposals issued earlier in the spring.

"The proposals we received certainly speak to both the tremendous need for increased pedestrian safety in communities across the U.S. and the growing interest among residents to make their neighborhoods safer and more livable" said Sandt. "We hope that this project will help us to better understand what information and resources community members need to have a positive impact on pedestrian safety in their neighborhoods, and to develop models for other communities to more effectively address their walkability concerns."

Funding for this project is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). HSRC received funding from NHTSA to work with communities to implement and evaluate the guide, A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. The guide is designed to be used by anyone who is looking for ways to improve the pedestrian safety and walkability of their neighborhood, whether they are just beginning to learn about walking safety or are already part of an established community safety group.

To order a free copy of the guide, go to: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order.cfm.

Media Contacts

Caroline Dickson
919.962.5835
dickson@hsrc.unc.edu

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