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"PEDS" Project Aims To Improve Pedestrian Safety In Richmond

In 2002, Richmond had the worst pedestrian safety record for a city of its size in the U.S. for children 15 years and younger. In 2004, Richmond improved its ranking to No. 16 in that category, but clearly a lot more needs to be done.

Contra Costa County is teaming with the City of Richmond to improve pedestrian safety in the county's second largest city.

The Richmond Pedestrian Project - nicknamed PEDS - is funded by a $278,926 grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Richmond has made improvements since 2002, when it ranked first in pedestrians age 15-and-under killed and injured for cities in its size category, according to OTS collision rankings. In 2004, Richmond improved its ranking to 16th in that category, but local officials acknowledge there is more work to be done.

"We're acutely aware of pedestrian issues in the city," said Richmond Police Traffic Sgt. Enos Johnson. "We're looking forward to help from the PEDS project to increase enforcement at the hot spots where pedestrian accidents occur."

The PEDS project has identified and mapped five pedestrian collision "hot spots": 23rd Street just north of Macdonald Avenue, 23rd near Richmond High School, Macdonald and 37th Street, Macdonald between Second and Fourth streets, and Cutting and Carlson boulevards.

Maps of these locations were developed by the County Community Development Department, another partner in PEDS. The project will increase enforcement of pedestrian-oriented laws, improve signage and crosswalks, and conduct school and community workshops on pedestrian safety. Small grants will be available for school and community groups to implement pedestrian safety activities.

"Working with residents as well as Richmond Police, Richmond Engineering and Richmond Planning departments, and the county Community Development Department, we are confident that these locations can be made safer," said Nancy Baer, Manager of Contra Costa Health Services' Injury Prevention Project. "The grant will get us started, and the City will provide a longer term solution by making pedestrian issues a priority in its upcoming General Plan Update."

PEDS will also develop pedestrian safety messages in both English and Spanish and promote them through the West Contra Costa Street Smarts Campaign.

"While the city Engineering Department develops improvement plans for each of the hot spots and the Police step up enforcement in those locations, Contra Costa Health Services will be focusing on talking with the public about its role in community safety," said Baer. "All three strategies are needed to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities."

More information about Street Smarts and the Injury Prevention Project is available online at www.cchealth.org, the website for Contra Costa Health Services, by clicking on Wellness and Prevention.

For more information about the Richmond Pedestrian Project, contact Shannon Ladner-Beasley at sladner-beasley.@hsd.co.contra-costa.ca.us or phone 925-313-6813.