The county needs to install more crosswalks

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2018

Arecent discussion by the Poplarville Board of Aldermen concerning the lack of crosswalks throughout the city of Poplarville brings to light a missing component of infrastructure that could be useful throughout Pearl River County, crosswalks.

During Tuesday night’s discussion, Mayor Rossie Creel said he was approached by local entrepreneurs concerned about the lack of safe places for people to cross the road near their business. He said the issue was especially prevalent on Main Street, since the road is such a high-traffic area and so many stores are alongside it.

It was suggested by engineer Jason Lamb that “Piano Key” crosswalks be installed, since they could be purchased at a low cost and installed by the city’s public works department.

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While it was ultimately decided to take the matter under advisement, it’s good to see that an open dialogue about the issue is underway, which in and of itself is a positive thing.

According to an article by the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2012 a total of 4,743 pedestrians were killed across the United States in accidents. That number represented 14 percent of all traffic fatalities across the country.

These statistics only represent the number of fatalities and do not account for the number of pedestrians who were injured or hospitalized.

The lack of crosswalks often leads to pedestrians taking safety into their own hands.

“In general, if it takes a person more than three minutes to walk to a crosswalk, wait to cross the street, and then resume his or her journey, he or she may decide to cross along a more direct, but unsafe or unprotected route,” the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ website states.

Because of this, it is important to not only have crosswalks, but to install them relatively close together.

While crosswalks may not be necessary in areas with extremely low speed limits or very little traffic, in places where people frequently walk to get around, there will always be a need for pedestrians to be able to cross the road safely.