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Pedestrian Safety Month

October 19, 2023      By Beverly Davis, AICP

Tags: Transportation

October is recognized as Pedestrian Safety Month by multiple national organizations, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation. National Pedestrian Safety Month celebrates the right of everyone to walk or roll safely and reminds drivers of their responsibility to stay alert for pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users. It is meant to highlight the disparities in pedestrian safety and the importance of equity in road safety for all. 

At RS&H, we are committed to making safety one of our top priorities. Whenever and wherever we work together, we promise to protect ourselves and each other from harm. We apply the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Vision Zero plan to all our infrastructure projects. The zero deaths vision acknowledges that even one death on our transportation system is unacceptable and focuses on safe mobility for all road users.  

Additionally, numerous RS&H staff have become certified as Registered Safety Professionals, RSPs (Level 1 and 2) through the Transportation Professional Certification Board, Inc.  RSPs are experts in many of the industry guidelines and methods for improving infrastructure safety for the traveling public.   

Nothing takes precedence over safe operations, including our mission of making our communities more connected and safer. RS&H is proud to work with partners and stakeholders nationwide to deliver infrastructure projects that make a real difference. 

In honor of Pedestrian Safety Month, we’re showcasing four impactful infrastructure projects that have positively influenced their communities. Dive into the details below and stay tuned for weekly spotlights on our social media channels throughout October! 

Stadium Area Multimodal Transportation Assessment

Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency | Tallahassee, FL 

Over the last several years, the southern portion of downtown Tallahassee has undergone dramatic growth and significant investments in transportation infrastructure. The Gaines Street Corridor Revitalization Plan included extensive infrastructure improvements designed to foster multimodal usage and economic investments. In addition to the corridor revitalization and redevelopment, the Capital Cascades Park at the eastern end of Gaines Street was also developed, which fostered even more growth in the area.   

The intersection of Gaines Street, Stadium Drive, and North Lake Bradford Drive is a very large, complex intersection that can easily confuse drivers and pedestrians. The width of pavement, complex turning movements, and increasing numbers of pedestrians, particularly accessing campus from the residential areas on the south side of Gaines Street and Stadium Drive, pose multiple hazards for all entering the intersection regardless of the mode of travel. 

With the presence of the Florida State University (FSU) campus and stadium, additional properties are being developed or redeveloped and/or are anticipated to be redeveloped in the future. These developments include large apartment complexes targeted at the student market. This increasing presence of residential uses has increased the need for pedestrian and bicycle safety as users continue to rise during every day and game day conditions.  

RS&H undertook a significant data collection effort to develop the existing and future conditions within the intersection study area. Data included traffic counts, vehicle classification, turning movements, bicycle and pedestrian counts, transit operations, safety/crash information, existing infrastructure, and land use.  Through the analysis, several potential alternatives for the study were developed that incorporated a safe, accessible, and connected multimodal network. 

Stakeholder coordination on developing the alternatives and identifying the preferred alternative included FSU, the City of Tallahassee, and the Florida Department of Transportation, District 3. 

Vision Zero Action Plan

Town of Apex, NC | Apex, NC 

The Town of Apex is one of the fastest-growing cities in North Carolina, just behind the City of Charlotte. This growth has resulted in more cars on town roads and more traffic collisions. In response, the Town of Apex hired RS&H to assist with developing a Vision Zero Action Plan.  

The plan documented the town’s commitment to eliminate all transportation-related fatalities and severe injuries in Apex by 2035; the planning structure established to oversee plan development, implementation, and monitoring; the Vision Zero framework and guiding principles. 

A major component of the plan was an analysis of existing conditions and historical trends based on various data, including traffic, safety, the built environment, demographics, and public input. The analysis also considered existing plans, policies, programs, and initiatives. This information culminated in identifying higher-risk locations within the area known as the high collision and high injury network.  

A robust mix of public outreach methods was used to gain input during the development of the Vision Zero Action Plan. These methods included steering committee and task force meetings, in-person pop-up and online workshops, surveys with interactive mapping, and a “Safety Town” event.  

The other significant element of the plan was establishing goals, actionable strategies, and countermeasures. To ensure the plan’s successful implementation, the actionable strategies included information on responsible parties and the time frame for completion. The plan also included an evaluation process so the town can track and measure progress over time.  

Most importantly, the plan is consistent with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) requirements and is being used by the town to apply for implementation grants. 

US 27/Downtown Havana Assessment

Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency | Havana, FL 

The Town of Havana is undergoing significant redevelopment and revitalization in the downtown area, which is divided by US 27. It is a four-lane, divided arterial and the major north-south route through Havana. The roadway is also a designated evacuation route leading from the Gulf Coast. RS&H was tasked with completing a study to improve the pedestrian experience along US 27/Main Street in Havana’s downtown area.   

In keeping with the revitalization efforts, the town was interested in identifying potential treatments to improve the pedestrian experience, manage the traffic and operations, and improve the corridor’s aesthetics in support of the goals for the downtown area. A woman with children on bikes.

This effort included collecting and analyzing traffic data, truck traffic, and turning movements, a crash analysis, and an assessment of the existing pedestrian facilities. In addition, a Synchro analysis was completed to determine the feasibility of the lane reductions and the impact on the existing and future traffic operations.

Based on the analysis results, RS&H developed four alternatives to improve the pedestrian facilities, enhance the streetscape and aesthetics of the corridor, and maintain efficient operation for vehicular traffic.

The preferred alternative included a reduction from four lanes to three lanes with two northbound lanes to accommodate traffic in an evacuation scenario. The scenario also included wider sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and planting strips/landscaping areas. Throughout the study, the alternative was developed closely with the Florida Department of Transportation, District 3. 

Athens-Clarke County Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan

Athens-Clarke County Unified Government | Athens-Clarke County, GA 

Athens-Clarke County, Georgia is a unified city/county government in northeast Georgia. It’s home to the University of Georgia, which greatly impacts the pedestrian and bicycle activity within the city. The Athens-in-Motion plan was developed to create an interconnected transportation network supporting pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes. Athens is dedicated to providing safe, comfortable transportation/mobility options and understands how a robust pedestrian and bicycle network contributes to both providing safe, comfortable transportation/mobility options and how a robust pedestrian and bicycle network contributes to economic development and quality of life.   

The study focused on the following elements: 

  • Identification of gaps and barriers in the existing pedestrian and bicycle networks. 
  • Development of a methodology for pedestrian and bicycle projects. 
  • Incorporation of design guidance into the development standards and requirements. 
  • Comprehensive public education and communication strategy designed to increase public awareness of the importance of a safe, connected, and accessible pedestrian and bicycle network. 
  • Identification of short term, mid-term, and long-term projects. 

 RS&H served as a major partner in plan development. The planning effort built on the existing pedestrian and bicycle master plan, the existing sidewalk improvement program, and the adopted complete streets policy that applies to new roadway construction. In addition, coordination with the Athens Transit initiatives was also integral to the study. 

The plan development included the review and update of existing goals; a robust community and public engagement program; identification of existing conditions, as well as future planned projects; assessment of the existing networks, conditions, and policies; land use analysis to identify the key origins and destinations for pedestrians and bicyclists; development of a project prioritization process; and identification of projects to address the needs and deficiencies. The master plan focused on implementation, and the projects and recommendations were prioritized to serve the most members of the community and address the highest needs. 

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