Making big strides for pedestrian safety

Making big strides for pedestrian safety

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The weather is definitely getting warmer. That means even more people will be out and about walking along Atlanta's city streets. Already this year though, at least 45 pedestrians have been hit and killed in Georgia.

Now, one organization is working to make Metro Atlanta streets safer and even encourage people to walk, as opposed to driving.  Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety, or PEDS, hopes to make Atlanta more walkable -- one street, intersection and crosswalk at a time.

Darnell Moten is one such pedestrian who says he's always keeping his eye out "for crazy drivers." He says he rarely feels safe walking around Atlanta.

"Most people are in a rush. People don't know where they're going. Some people turn the wrong way," he said. "It's horrible on certain streets.

"You have the right of way and they look at you like you're stupid."

As president and CEO of PEDS, Sally Flocks is on a mission.

"We have a lot of aggressive driving, especially when you're near a freeway entrance and exit. A lot of people who live in the suburbs, who aren't used to places where there's a lot of walking," she said.

In 2012, 168 pedestrians in Georgia were hit and killed by vehicles, Flocks said.

Sadly, there's been a big increase in Georgia. Pedestrians account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and about half of those are occurring in Metro Atlanta. The majority of deaths are because drivers are simply not paying attention, authorities say.

There's hope that new pedestrian-friendly street construction like a pedestrian media and flashing signals at 10th and West Peachtree streets are helping. The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to expand these types of features into more of Metro Atlanta.

And, although the number of pedestrians are higher within city limits, more people are hit and killed by vehicles in the suburbs. Authorities say it's because of the how fast drivers are traveling.

More info:

Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety

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