Group spotlights the issue of pedestrian safety
By Phil Hnatkovich
Pittsburgh is a city of walkers, and nearly every walker has a story of a close call with a careless driver. Sharing those stories is how PGH Walks, a circle of Pittsburghers building awareness of pedestrian safety, first came together.
The group has emerged in the wake of a number of high-profile crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians in the past year. Member Rachel Kartch indicates that it was the death of bicyclist Susan Hicks last October — a tragedy that has brought the problem of unsafe streets home for so many — that pushed members of the group to action. As Kartch put it, “we can try to do something rather than just being angry about it.”
Improved pedestrian safety should be a particularly clear priority for a community where so many people get to work on foot. Data from the American Community Survey (ACS) for 2014 pegs Pittsburgh as the 4th largest city for walk commuting nationwide.
It’s still early days for PGH Walks and their first steps will take place close to home, drawing eyes to places where members have experienced close calls or observed frequent pedestrian-driver conflicts. Drawing on examples of crosswalk stings staged in other cities, members are hoping to build momentum for a future event targeting aggressive drivers at a problem street crossing in the area of Bloomfield, Friendship, or Garfield.
For now, however, the group is focused on building local support. To that end, they will kick off with a walking tour of East End coffee and tea shops on January 23. Along the way the group will engage participants about how to make Pittsburgh safer for pedestrians.
We’re so glad to have another group working with us on pedestrian advocacy – a key part of our mission here at BikePGH. For more information, check out PGH Walks on Facebook.
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