Davidson develops new idea to protect pedestrians

Davidson develops new idea to protect pedestrians


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC


Posted on August 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 6:01 PM

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- The town of Davidson is using a tragedy, trends and lessons from kids to make street crossings safer for pedestrians.

Pedestrians will find six intersections with orange crossing flags where you can be their own crossing guards. The intersections with the flags were chosen because they are the busiest pedestrian intersections in town, officials said.

Mayor John Woods says the town was looking for ways to improve pedestrian safety after Davidson College math professor Robert Whitton was struck and killed by a car in 2011 while walking across the street next to campus.

Woods says trends in his growing town are factors too.

"We've had an increase, across the board, in volume of traffic, in the tendency of drivers to speed and tendency of drivers to ignore pedestrians who are in the legal crosswalks," Woods said.

The crossing flags idea came from local eighth graders at the Community School of Davidson. They presented the idea to Woods, who thought it would work around town.

Tuesday, NBC Charlotte did not find many people using the flags to get across the crosswalks.

State law says pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and drivers must wait.

Woods says since the flags are new, the community must give the idea time to catch on.

"We have noticed smaller children and elderly folks also walking who have picked up the flags readily and held them in their hands, and said, 'Here I am. Take a look at this and see me," Woods said.

Parent Kerry Rasenberger says she probably won't use grab a crossing flag unless there's bad weather.

"It might be a hassle for people not used to it," she said.

Son Cole likes them. So, too, does their friend Remy Brezeault.

"Just another way to be safe," he said.

An anonymous donor gave the town the money for the crossing flags.

The town is looking for volunteers to adopt the crosswalks and replace missing or damaged flags as needed.