Greenville, SC (WSPA)–A pedestrian safety study is underway now in Greenville, and a portion of it is in school zones.
City representatives said this has been in discussion and now they are entering the public engagement phase. They set aside $250,000 specifically for this study.
“In the budget process last year, council decided that we really needed an expert to come into Greenville and show us where the hotspots are–that is where are the danger zones, where are there a lot of people and a lot of kids trying to cross the road or trying to travel down the road,” said John DeWorken, Greenville City Council, District One Representative. “So, the whole point of that is, trying to make it safer to walk. Trying to make it safer for runners and cyclists. Trying to make it safer for moms and dads pushing strollers, try to make it safer for kids crossing roads, and that’s really the whole point,” DeWorken said.
According to the city’s website, it is working with Stantec Consulting Services for the study, and will focus on high-volume corridors and school zones. The city and the third-party company identified 64 roads in the analysis, and those roads were identified for the study based on collision data, speed, and school zones. Nearly 20 streets are in school zones.
“We have a group right now, that is actually in the process of looking at our streets. Looking at where kids are crossing, where people are crossing and they’re looking at the holistic view of the city,” DeWorken said. “Then they will come back to us with recommendations as to where are your danger zones,” he said.
One area is along Stone Avenue. Riding along Stone Avenue, some would say at times, isn’t so easy.
“We’ve got Stone Academy Elementary School right over here two blocks away. We’ve got neighborhoods across Stone Avenue. You can look at the cars that’s flying up and down the road. These are fast cars. You wouldn’t want your kids crossing here,” DeWorken said. “You’ve got neighborhoods here. You’ve got Viola neighborhood is here, Heritage, East Park. All of these folks are trying to cross the road. The kids are trying to cross the road to get to Academy Street, and so what can we do here for example on Stone Avenue to make sure that our kids and parents can cross this street safety to get to school,” he said.
City leaders want to make sure kids are safe around Stone Avenue, and other areas in the city.
“What we’re hoping to do on Stone Avenue is put together a high-end pedestrian crossing. Sometimes known as a Hawk systems,” DeWorken said. “To put mast arms out, have red lights blinking when a pedestrian or a kid hits that button. Red lights will blink over the street, and it’s a clear indication to cars that you have to stop,” he said.
DeWorken said the Hawk system could possibly come to other streets, along with other safety improvements.
“Not only can you do pedestrian crossings, but what else can traffic engineers come up with to slow cars down to make it safer for kids and parents to cross,” DeWorken said. “Right now we have lights going up and down our corridors. They’re the old lights you know they were good in their time, but we’ve now got these new LED lights. They’re brighter, they’re crisper and lighting makes things more safe,” DeWorken said. “Stripping. Pedestrian stripping, make sure that’s visible to cars. So, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it safer,” he said.
Ginny Schneider has a six-year-old son who attends Sarah Collins Elementary School. She said the safety improvements will be great.
“I have no problem taking my children on walks, but there are definitely times where you’ll see people speeding and going really fast, and it makes you a little nervous,” she said. “I think with just the children, all it takes, is one kid to run across the street with a car not paying attention, and somebody could get hurt,” Schneider said. “I think it will be nice–anything for our children’s safety and just to make sure nothing bad happens.”
Jerry Watson is a bicyclist, and said he got hit in the past.
“I’ve been hit twice,” Watson said. “I was hit from behind, plus I was turned in to,” he said. “Really I feel dangerous at night when they get behind me and linger and won’t go around,” Watson said.
Now engineers are looking at a plan that will reduce the number of crashes and pinpoint solutions for danger zones.
“We’ve got crash data certainly. Unfortunately, we’ve got some fatalities, but really what I hear mostly are the near misses. I hear from constituents of the near misses,” DeWorken said.
City leaders said they want to do everything to keep everyone safe.
“The study is underway and I can’t wait to see the results,” DeWorken said.
Click here to learn more about the study and the roads included.