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Quincy starts new pedestrian safety program

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 9, 2012 01:17 PM

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With 15 pedestrian accidents so far in 2012, two of which were fatalities, Quincy officials are stepping up the campaign to keep pedestrians safer in the city.

The idea for the initiative was brought up during the City Council’s meeting on Monday, when councilors expressed shock that there were so many accidents in such a short period of time this calendar year

With 71 pedestrian accidents in all of 2011, Quincy is on pace to far surpass the previous year’s numbers, councilors commented.

“We’ve hit a record number early on in terms of pedestrian accidents … a traffic and parking commission can band together some of the best minds of the city to see how we need to look at it…I think it would be helpful,” Councilor Doug Gutro said.

Gutro suggested a traffic commission be created to address these issues.

Although the city has yet to create such a body, city officials will be starting a safety initiative in upcoming months to try to curb accidents.

The education and enforcement campaign will specifically target pedestrian safety, and will include a “Public Safety Week” program scheduled for April.

“We tackle our issues head-on this city, especially when it comes to public safety. [Police Chief Paul] Keenan and this administration are fully committed to doing everything we possibly can ensure pedestrian safety in our community,” said Mayor Thomas Koch in a release.

While many aspects of the program have yet to be worked out, Quincy police are already planning enforcement operations in high-volume pedestrian areas.

According to Chief Keenan, the department will be undertaking statistical analysis on high accident locations, intersections or roads, and target those areas for extra enforcement in upcoming weeks.

Other aspects will include literature, outreach meetings, televised programming, and potentially even increased signage.

Additionally, Public Safety Week, which will last from April 8 through 14, will be aimed at making every member of the community aware that their safety is in their hands.

“Combining education and enforcement is a major focal point of our efforts. We are targeting our resources where they need to be, and we are sending the message to all of our residents about keeping safe while both walking and driving,” Keenan said.

City officials are already reminding residents of ways they can stay safe while walking in the city, reminding walkers to push the walk button and wait for the pedestrian phase of the light cycle before entering the crosswalk, to wear light or reflective clothing at night, to cross the street within marked crosswalks, and make sure all lanes of traffic have stopped before crossing the roadway.

Pedestrians should also always look both ways twice before crossing the street.

Drivers are reminded to slow down when approaching a crosswalk, to expect a pedestrian to walk in front of your car when approaching the crosswalk, and to expect a pedestrian in the crosswalk when making a right turn on red.

“We’re very hopeful that it will [be a successful program],” Keenan said. “We can’t say for sure, but we’re making every effort to make sure it’s successful.”

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