Wednesday June 11, 2014
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on April, 25, 2014, awarded Louisville a $307,000 grant aimed at improving safety for pedestrians crossing the city’s streets.
Louisville is one of three cities around the country that received grants from NHTSA to create pedestrian safety demonstration programs with an eye toward later spreading their ideas to other cities. Philadelphia was awarded $525,000 and New York City, $805,801. The grants are part of NHTSA’s pedestrian fatality reduction campaign called Everyone is a Pedestrian.
“I am pleased with the cooperation between Louisville Metro Police Department and the Office of Highway Safety to secure these federal funds,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “Through the hard work of these two agencies, NHTSA recognized Kentucky’s commitment to highway safety and is giving us the opportunity to continue our efforts to decrease pedestrian injuries and fatalities.”
The grant will fund education and enforcement activity in Louisville’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan under the direction of John “Rolf” Eisinger, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator in the Metro Department of Public Works and Assets.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Louisville,” Eisinger said. “After analyzing 10 years of pedestrian crash data, we have determined when, where, to whom and why these crashes are occurring.”
Mayor Greg Fischer said, “The grant will allow us to fund several of the action steps that we believe will decrease the number of pedestrian fatalities and make Louisville an even safer place to live.”
Louisville’s three-year plan will focus specific efforts on drivers, school children, police officers and senior citizens. It includes creation of a pedestrian education program to be used in Jefferson County Public Schools. The city will also develop a Safe Streets for Seniors Education Program.
In addition, all Louisville Police officers will view a pedestrian safety training video, and police will use a pedestrian decoy program to enforce crosswalk rules at targeted high-crash locations around the city. The data driven education and enforcement strategies will complement existing road safety engineering efforts.
Nationally, pedestrian traffic fatalities increased three years in a row through 2012, the latest year for which numbers are available, to 4,743, reversing a six-year downward trend in such fatalities. In Louisville, eight pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2012. That number increased to 17 in 2013.
Louisville competed among 22 cities eligible to apply for the pedestrian grants due to being identified as Pedestrian Focus Cities because they have higher rates of pedestrian traffic fatalities than the national average.
Louisville Metro averaged 14.6 pedestrian fatalities in the last 10 years (2004-2013), resulting in a pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 population of 2.57 (14.6 pedestrian fatalities/569,000), which is greater than the average national rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population of 2.33, thus qualifying as a Pedestrian Safety Focus City.