Pedestrian deaths down, city officials push safety

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2012 increased nationally by 15 percent.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said when city officials saw that statistic, they knew they had to react.

“We listed pedestrian safety and bike and trails as a priority,” said Dennis.

Dennis said since then, the city has added not only more trails, but crosswalks and mid-block crossings, especially around the campus of Purdue University.

“When you look at the fact that at any given class break, you can have 20,000 students crossing on our major thoroughfares, it’s imperative that we do something to try and guide them to the safest points on those particular roads,” said Dennis.

According to statistics from the Lafayette Police Department, fewer than 10 pedestrian deaths have been recorded in the city over the last 10 years.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said in order to prevent fatalities, the city has added sidewalks, trails and flashing pedestrian signals with almost every new road project.

Roswarski said the city also plans to add sidewalks to high traffic areas like Sagamore Parkway.

“We do want people to be able to walk to work if they want to, walk to exercise, walk to relax, and if you look at the use of the trails, you can see how many people use the trails and I think that’s important,” said Roswarski.

Dennis said West Lafayette will invest about 10 percent of its budget in pedestrian safety over the next several decades.

Roswarski didn’t have an exact amount, but said they plan to invest a large chunk of money into pedestrian safety over the next several years.

“Vehicles and bicycles and pedestrians all share the road, they share those intersections and we really want to become a pedestrian and bicycle friendly community.”

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