Pedestrian crash hot spots studied - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pedestrian crash hot spots studied

February 27, 2004

Albany -- Three people were hit by cars and killed on Albany streets last year. Now a study is being done to check those areas to see how to make them safer.

A man walks across West Oakridge Drive at South Madison Street, outside the cross walk, braving heavy traffic. This is one of three hot spots in Albany, where pedestrians have been hit by cars. Michele DeMott said "We found a cluster of crashes in this area, and so we have come out to investigate."

Michele DeMott of Safe Communities and Julie Barnette of District Health are studying this intersection, to see why it is dangerous. It quickly becomes apparent people don't use the cross walk from the store to their home. DeMott said "She is going to her residence, but again, she took the path of least resistance. Instead of coming all the way to the intersection and crossing at a cross walk, she took a chance with traffic as heavy as you see it right now, to walk across the street and dodge vehicles."

Another problem is uncovered, the cross walk signal is not working properly. And the crossing time is too short for the ladies to make it across the street. Julie Barnette said "See even if we go fast, this is going to switch. No, we're going to make it this time. No, barely."

When they started the study, it was thought most of the pedestrians hit by cars were adults who had been drinking. But they have found it kids are more at risk. Barnette said "Some adolescents. People that are being dropped off from the bus, and having an accident there, or just in the neighborhoods, in a residential neighborhood, young, young children."

The study will see if education, engineering, and enforcement can cut down on pedestrian crashes.

A city crew is called to fix the broken crossing light today...making this dangerous crossing as safe as possible for now. Barnette said "We want to make it safe for people to walk."

 The two other hot spots  where many pedestrian collisions have occurred are North Clark Avenue near Coats and Clarke, and Newton Road.

posted at 2:50 PM by jimw@walb.com