CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The city of Charlotte investing millions of dollars in a program to reduce deadly accidents and create safer streets in the city.
It is looking to set aside $17.1 million out of its budget for Vision Zero Charlotte, which is part of a national campaign. The program's goal is to have zero deadly crashes in the city by 2030.
Some of these investments would go towards pedestrian crossings, enhanced focus on safety around schools, and transportation safety improvements.
Project manager Angela Berry said she is excited to expand their work. She said that deadly crashes are on the rise with an average of 70 a year in Charlotte.
“That has repercussions to you, to your family, to your friends, to the hospital community that responds to take care of your trauma injuries," she said. "It’s a drain on a lot of our resources that most don’t think about when they engage in those risky behaviors.”
Speeding drivers are a major concern in several Charlotte neighborhoods.
“Speeding is out of control because you have a lot of young people not paying attention,” said Ronald Carpenter, a Tyvola neighborhood resident. “And a lot of people just racing through the streets just because.”
“There are a lot of people who speed and cause lots of accidents and I think we should all just slow down a little bit,” said Rebecca Centenoazuia.
That is why Vision Zero Charlotte is expanding its driver’s feedback sign program, with now 30 signs rotating around the city every six weeks.
“We are evaluating speed limits on high injury network corridors to lower them,” explained Berry.
They are placed in locations where there is documented speeding, in excess of 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, in spots designated as “high injury areas,” or at the request of a citizen.
Some people feel like the signs aren’t working.
“You’re not going to get a warning or citation,” said Jessica Marshall. “It’s just something to glance out the side of your eye to see, 'oh I'm doing 60 but I'm in a rush so that doesn't matter.' It doesn't do anything."
The program is also working with police to help target areas with higher rates of speeding and crashes.
The city has earmarked $4.5 million for street lighting improvements and to increase visibility in high-traffic areas. Neighbors say they're pleased to hear about those objectives.
“There are a lot of neighborhoods, like near where I live that don’t have a lot of streetlights or lights in general,” Centenoazuia said. “I think that is something that could help reduce people getting injured or being in accidents.”
Berry said these are just a few ways they are working to reduce crashes. Moreover, there are efforts to add more bike lanes, upgrade sidewalks and other initiatives to make the roads safer for everyone.
Overall, Berry said more funding means more programs to protect everyone on the roads.
“Every life should be important to us, there’s no fatality that should be acceptable”
The city’s budget will be voted on at the end of the month.
Contact Jesse Pierre at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to email@example.com.