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Strategies for Activism

"I was raised the old-fashioned way, with a stern set of moral principles: Never lie, cheat, steal or knowingly spread a venereal disease. Never speed up to hit a pedestrian or, or course, stop to kick a pedestrian who has already been hit. From which it followed, of course, that one would never everon pain of deletion from dozens of Christmas card lists across the countryvote Republican."
—Barbara Ehrenreich


Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia

This crosswalk on the 10th Street and Argonne Avenue in Atlanta was virtually unusable before installation of centerline flexible crosswalk signs. The City of Iowa City has refused to seriously consider the use of this highly effective signage. (Photo: Donald Baxter)
Pedestrians Educating Drivers in Safety (PEDS) is a member-based advocacy organization dedicated to making metro Atlanta safe and accessible for all pedestrians. When PEDS was founded in 1996, pedestrians were not yet on metro Atlanta’s radar screen. Government agencies identified transportation safety exclusively with occupant safety, engineers lacked information about the needs of pedestrians, police officers ticketed crosswalk law violators only after someone had been hit, and media attention to pedestrians was limited to one-inch blurbs following fatal crashes. Worst of all, people rarely thought of themselves as pedestrians. Because of PEDS’ efforts, all that is changing.

PEDS neighborhood yard signs in an Atlanta, Georgia, front yard. 3,500 of these signs have been placed since 2006. (Photo: PEDS)
PEDS has been responsible for the installation of flexible in-street crosswalk signage that reminds drivers that stopping for pedestrians is Georgia law. The positioning of the signs in the street centerline along with pavement marking and additinal signage has the effect of slowing traffic which has a dramatic effect to improve pedestrian safety.

This Atlanta organization has also supplied resident of Metro Atlanta neighborhood "SLOW DOWN" yard signs that have been placed in 3,500 locations.

PEDS and Atlanta's Clean Air Campaign have published an excellent brochure What Pedestrians Should Know about their Rights and Responsibilities. Download that brochure here (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


PEDS has recently produced a very effective media campaign directed at neighborhood speeding which will run on 200 cinema screens in the 18-county Metropolitan Atlanta region.

Warning: some viewers may find the content of this video distrubing.


Naperville, Illinois
As part of Naperville's Friendly Streets program the city has adopted the PEDS Atlanta Pace Car Program. Citizens pledge to drive their cars no faster than the speed limit making their cars into "mobile speed bumps." The city advises residents to use their front yards and sidewalks for socializing and play in addition to using the street for parking. All of these tactics create traffic calming on neighborhood streets. Click here for details and to see the City of Naperville's Pace Car Brochure.

University Heights, Iowa
University Heights is an incorporated town surrounded by Iowa City and the University of Iowa. While the city's traffic control and marking is provided under contract by the City of Iowa City, University Heights wisely provides its own police force. This small city simply enforces speed limits which goes a long way toward making the city a safer place to walk, cross the street, and use a bicycle for everyday transportation. At the town line traffic slows perceptably. Unfortunately as traffic exits the City into the University of Iowa it resumes speed into the campus (the speed limit does not change, only the priority of enforcement).

HAWK Signal in Tucson, Arizona.
HAWK Signal in Tucson, Arizona.
(Tucson Department of Transportation)
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson has experimented with three types of pedestrian activated signals (PELICAN, TOCAN, and HAWK) that require drivers to stop at mid-block crosswalks. Tucson Pedestrian Traffic Signal Operation webpage from the Tucson DOT.


(Mayor's Office of Pedestrian Safety, City of Seattle)
Seattle, Washington
Seattle has been ranked by Prevention Magazine as the fifth best walking city in the United States and support for pedestrianism comes from the top of Seattle's administration, Mayor Greg Nickels. Nickels created a 10 point plan for pedestrian safety that includes tough enforcement on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and a red light camera enforcement program. Additionally, a very creative television and radio campaign was developed called "Think of the Impact You Could Make."
( Seattle Office of the Mayor, Pedestrian Safety website )


Additionally, Mayor Nickels announced a $2.5 million dollar project called "Safe Crossings" to rehabilitate crosswalks, sidewalks, signals and safety education.

Benicia, California, Pedestrian "Sting" Enforcement
In order to create a driving culture where pedestrian rights are respected, marking and signage are only a part of the equation. The must be law enforcement. Here's an example of an enforcement sting directed at drivers who fail to yield.


Queensland, Australia
A public awareness campaign called "No Accident" on vehicular speeding using an extreme approach:



Warning: This video contains graphic violence that some viewers may find distrubing.

New South Wales, Australia ("Pinky")
The DMV of New South Wales is called the RTA. This lighthearted ad to encourage responsible driving is called "Speeding: No One Thinks Big of You."




Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)
Autoplan

In British Columbia all of the car insurance is underwritten by the province and the ICBC does an excellent job of promoting driver safety in a long series of public media campaigns.



 
© 2007 Donald Baxter (contact Donald Baxter) and Pedestrians of Iowa City