Efforts underway in Capital Region to keep pedestrians safer

June 11, 2018 06:28 PM

The state is stepping up its efforts to keep pedestrians safe this summer. That's going to mean some changes here in the Capital Region.

Starting on Friday if you look both ways to cross the street, you might see an officer making sure you're following the rules. If you're not, you could get a warning or a ticket.

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It's running in conjunction with to the "See and Be Seen" campaign and part of a $62 million initiative to make New York roads safer for pedestrians.

Between 2014 and 2016, 879 people died while walking along or crossing streets in New York and according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, that means we have some of the most dangerous intersections and roads for pedestrians in the country.

Of those 879 pedestrian deaths in those three years, 33 percent occurred at crosswalks.

The governor's office says it's a group effort that is needed to turn that around. The Department of Transportation, Department of Health and DMV are coming together to find some solutions. 

Starting last August, crews began improving 100+ intersections in the Capital Region -- putting up new signs, signals and improved road markings. 

An additional $1.5 million will be spent on more improvements in Albany, more than $1 million in Schenectady and about $500,000 in both Rensselaer and Clifton Park. 

Officials say in addition to those, people need to really start paying attention to their surroundings. 

"A lot of distracted driving, but importantly too, distracted pedestrian action," explained Paul Karas, the New York State Department of Transportation commissioner. "People walking across streets at intersections with earbuds on. People texting whether they're walking along a highway or worse yet, crossing the highway. Those kinds of things have been shown to contribute to the increase in traffic and pedestrian injuries and fatalities."


Jacquie Slater

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