Shake, Rattle and Roll

When you walk to work, roll to the grocery store in your wheelchair, take your dog for a stroll, or enjoy an afternoon of shopping at our stores, you are a pedestrian. Walking is an activity that’s part of daily life for many in the Susquehanna Depot community and is recognized as a healthy transportation choice.

However, in the United States, an average of 15 people are killed and 192 people injured in traffic crashes on a daily basis. Pedestrian safety is a problem more complicated to solve than simply issuing a reminder to look both ways before crossing the street.

More pedestrian fatalities occurred at mid-blocks (73%) than those that occurred at controlled intersections (18%), the remaining (9%) occurred at other locations such as roadsides/shoulders, parking lanes/zones, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, medians/crossing islands, driveway accesses, shared-use paths/trails, non-traffic way areas, and other sites. In addition, more pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark (75%) than in daylight (21%), dusk (2%), and dawn (2%).

What can we do in the Susquehanna Depot area to protect pedestrians from being the next fatality? Pedestrians are sensitive to out-of-the-way travel, and reasonable accommodation should be made to make crossings both convenient and at safe locations with adequate visibility

Crosswalk locations should be convenient for pedestrian access with markings that could improve the safety of pedestrians. These crosswalk markings need to occur as the result of a study. That is where the Susquehanna Active Transportation Plan will assist the community. This will result in better pedestrian movements.

Examples of tools to improve pedestrian safety include light-controlled crosswalks, speed reader boards, signage, raised crosswalks, crosswalk enhancements and road diet.

Peter T. Wulfhorst, Extension Educator Penn State Extension

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