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Efforts to Increase Pedestrian Safety Take Hold in Nevada and Kentucky

With a new Governors Highway Safety Association report estimating that the number of pedestrian fatalities jumped 10 percent in 2015, the highest ever, we look at efforts in Nevada and Louisville, Ky. to increase pedestrian safety.
March 11, 2016, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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In their March 8 press release for their new report (posted here), the Governors Highway Safety Association "also asked its state members to share examples of strategies underway to reduce pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions." Local media reported on such efforts in Nevada and Louisville, Ky.

The Silver State had the fourth highest pedestrian fatality rate (deaths per 100K population) in 2014 after New Mexico, Florida and Delaware, according to Table 2 on page 8 of the report [PDF]. Deaths increased 20 percent to 24 in the first six months of 2015, according to Table 3.

"Pedestrian fatalities have reached an epidemic level, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation," writes Kailyn Brown for the Las Vegas Sun. "In response, NDOT is launching the website and awareness campaign."

“ is a statewide information campaign that reminds pedestrians and drivers to be more aware,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said. "NDOT is also making road engineering improvements that can ultimately help save lives, Illa said."

For example, see the photo of the "Danish offset" in the median area of Maryland Parkway near University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Essentially it is a crosswalk that "makes an S turn, slowing down pedestrians and making them look at traffic before they cross."

"Two years in a row now we’ve had record pedestrian fatalities,” said Erin Breen, UNLV director of the Vulnerable Road Users Project. “We’re not doing any better. We’ve got to do more.”

"Louisville, Ky. has been considered one of the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians," writes Danielle Lama for WDRB (and states in news broadcast). "So to try and keep walkers safe, officials are changing the timing of some traffic lights."

Pedestrians will get the green walk light four seconds before the motorists get the green.

"It's a proven safety measure that improves pedestrian safety," said Metro Public Works Assistant Director Jeff Brown. "We get them out in front of the vehicles before they have a chance to go, so the pedestrian is clearly visible to any car that's stopped at the intersection." 

However, Brown's department was recently ridiculed in Broken Sidewalk and Streetsblog, posted here, for removing a sidewalk in a street median in the name of improving public safety.

Hat tip to AASHTO Daily Transportation Update

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Published on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Las Vegas Sun
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