The Heart of the Matter
Pedestrian-vehicle accidents are a serious problem on our roadways across the nation. Midvale City strives to provide safe, accessible, and efficient travel for all pedestrians. Although the City’s pedestrian-vehicle accidents have declined over the past few years, we continuously explore how we can improve pedestrian safety because more than zero pedestrian-vehicle accidents are too many. The following are ways we are moving towards improving pedestrian safety:
- The City has completed numerous safety-related improvements throughout the city, including traffic-calming installations such as speed humps, as well as adding, relocating and removing crosswalks.
- Every year Midvale City and the Canyons School District meet to discuss the Student Neighborhood Access Plan (SNAP) that outlines safe walking routes for students. Prior to meeting with the City, the District solicits community input through School Site Councils to ensure that we are meeting the safety needs of our students. The City implements recommendations (such as moving crosswalks, adding crosswalks, etc.) based on these meetings.
- The City Council approved a $12,000 agreement with a third-party engineering firm to perform a traffic study on Center Street to identify potential safety issues and recommend solutions.
- The City received a $158,000 federal grant, which the City will match with $40,000 (for a total investment of $198,000), to improve and enhance the crosswalk for the Center Street TRAX station.
- In March, City staff is making recommendations to the City Council to provide approximately $50,000 worth of improvements to the crosswalks at Grant Street/Center Street and Pioneer Street/Center Street.
- The City Council approved $206,000 of funding for the installation of a traffic signal at Bingham Junction Blvd. and Tuscany View Drive. The signal will be a 4-way lighted intersection with flashing yellow arrows for left-hand turns. The intersection will include crosswalks in all directions, as well as push button walk signals. The expected completion date is June 30, 2018.
- The Unified Police Department Midvale Precinct is continuing with selective crosswalk enforcements to educate drivers and pedestrians about the importance of crosswalk safety. The crosswalk awareness initiatives involve an off-duty, undercover police officer posing as a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk. If oncoming drivers don’t stop for the pedestrian—as required by law—the vehicle will be pulled over by a police spotter farther down the street.
We continue to analyze data to determine factors that influence pedestrian safety. The Utah Department of Public Safety published the following statewide statistics (2016):
Nearly one-third (32%) of drivers who hit pedestrians were turning.
- Failed to yield right of way (32%), hit and run (10%), and driver distraction (7%) were the leading contributing factors in total pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes.
- The majority (86% of known) of total pedestrian crashes occurred where the speed limit was 20-45 MPH.
- Over half (52%) of pedestrians struck by motor vehicles were in a crosswalk.
- 61% of drivers in total pedestrian crashes had a contributing factor and 49% of drivers in fatal pedestrian crashes had a contributing factor. (Sometimes both the driver and pedestrian were at fault).
- Improper crossing and darting were the leading contributing factors for pedestrians in total crashes. 55% of pedestrians had no contributing factor in the crash.
The data emphasizes the importance of watching for pedestrians, especially where the speed limit is 20-45 mph. So, please take time when you are driving to watch for pedestrians. Pay special attention for pedestrians when you are making a turn and always follow speed limits. The roadways are a dangerous place and the speed limits are designed to protect everyone—drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When entering a crosswalk, please take the time to make eye contact with each other before entering the crosswalk.
I encourage everyone to pay attention to your surroundings. Please do not text and drive, or text while walking. We all need to work together to ensure the safety of our community.