NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Transportation has adopted a new plan aiming to keep pedestrians safer. The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan includes infrastructure improvements, informational campaigns, policy and procedural changes.
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NMDOT will begin implementing the plan immediately. The hope over the next five years is that the plan reduces the number of pedestrian-involved injuries and fatalities across the state. According to a news release, the team developed the plan using internal, public, and external stakeholder input, as well as national best practices.
M & F Auto salesman Tony Griego says crossing Lomas near San Pedro in Albuquerque is much safer now than it was before the city installed a hawk signal six years ago. There could soon be more on the way across the state to help cut down on the number of pedestrian crashes.
“New Mexico, unfortunately, has the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the country,” said Rosa Kozub the manager of the NMDOT Pedestrian Safety Action Plan Project.
The state averages four pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. That’s why NMDOT is unveiling its new five-year plan to include education campaigns for drivers and pedestrians and traffic engineering projects that drivers could see implemented as early as two to three years from now.
Like installing ten hawk signals on state roads. “The Albuquerque location is sort of our hottest spot, but all urban areas would have potential to install these features but it’s also important to recognize that this happens in rural areas, as well,” Kozub said.
NMDOT acknowledges there can be a learning curve for drivers. “You still have people that don’t slow down. You know, they’ll still kind of zoom by,” Griego said.
NMDOT’s plan also calls for ten so-called leading pedestrian intervals to give pedestrians more time to get across the street before cars start turning through the crosswalk. Meanwhile, the city of Albuquerque plans to install three hawk signals along Central next year. NMDOT is still trying to lock down the funding and locations for the pedestrian safety action plan.