The City of Bellingham, in partnership with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WSTC), is taking measures to reduce collisions and increase responsible behavior on city streets.
"We are always concerned about pedestrian and driver safety. The most recent pedestrian collisions - which occurred in marked crosswalks - were tragic and preventable," said Ted Carlson, Public Works director. "That's why, at the City of Bellingham we are working on ways to help educate drivers and pedestrians on how to be safer on the street."
The education and enforcement campaign is scheduled to begin this Spring.
At the City Council Committee of the Whole meeting April 10, team comprised of members from City of Bellingham Police and Public Works and the "Target Zero" manager for the WSTC, presented the goal – reduce all preventable collisions to zero. The presentation included strategies to achieve that goal.
- Foster safe driving and walking behaviors utilizing social norming;
- Educate all users (motorists, pedestrians, cyclists) on safe behavior and rules of the road;
- Enforce rules of the road.
According to Kim Brown, the City's Transportation Options Coordinator, and Doug Dahl, Target Zero Manager for the WSTC, education and engagement regarding "rules of the road" for intersections will precede enforcement. Sergeant Carr Lanham, of Bellingham Police, said the goal of enforcement is to encourage voluntary compliance to increase responsible behavior.
At the presentation, City Council members responded with support, several noting the important emphasis on increasing awareness and the shared responsibility of all road users to improve safety.
"The point is awareness, being aware of your surroundings as a pedestrian, as a driver and as a cyclist," said Roxanne Murphy, Council member-at-large.
"That awareness part is so true," added Terry Bornemann, 5th Ward Council representative. "I've almost been hit numerous times downtown. I learned: before I step off the sidewalk into the crosswalk, I stare hard. I try to see [the driver's] eyes, get their attention."
For more information on the Pedestrian Safety education program, please contact Kim Brown, City of Bellingham Transportation Coordinator, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning (360) 778-7950.