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Improving pedestrian safety in Macon-Bibb | News

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Improving pedestrian safety in Macon-Bibb

When it comes to pedestrian safety, Macon-Bibb consistently ranks near the bottom of the list of national studies.

On Tuesday, the county's fourth pedestrian was hit and killed by a car while trying to cross Riverside Drive.

The tried-and-true lessons are taught from early on.

"Wear bright clothing, look both ways, walk at a crosswalk where applicable," said Commissioner Virgil Watkins.

But when the closest crosswalk is inconvenient, some people would rather take a chance.

"Jaywalking is illegal." Watkins said. "You can't just run across the street. That's dangerous for you as well as for people that are driving."

"Pedestrian safety is ultimately the pedestrians' responsibility," Mayor Robert Reichert said.

Still, making streets safer for those on foot has been on the county's radar.

"We have adopted a policy that all new streets have to be complete streets, with sidewalks, street lights and crossings where appropriate," Reichert said.

But they don't plan to add crosswalks or overhead bridges to busy county highways.

"It's always a matter of time and money, how much time we've got and how much money we've got to improve our streets. It's a slow and long process," Reichert said. "While we're doing that, pedestrians need to do their part."

"Those kinds of bridges are very expensive and to build one of those bridges for every mile, that'd be impractical," Watkins said.

Instead, some commissioners say public awareness programs are a better option.

"People who decide to dart across those busy highways, they've got to take more responsibility," Lucas but we've also got to better educate the public>

County officials may consider applying for federal grants that award cities money for improving pedestrian safety, but there are no immediate plans yet.

There were ten pedestrian deaths in the county in 2013.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.


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