City of Greenville gets to work on pedestrian improvement projects

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Greenville police responded to more than 60 pedestrian accidents in 2016, which is why engineers want pedestrian safety to be a priority in 2017.

Crews will make upgrades to a number of intersections along Fifth Street, starting with the one at Founders Drive and Fifth Street.

Over the next several days, crews will work to get crosswalks up to par.

“It’s to bring them up to the visibility level that they need to be,” said Richard Dicesare, Greenville city traffic engineer.

Wear and tear take a toll on the intersections so crews want to make sure they’re up to par.

The upgrades are just the first part of Greenville’s pedestrian improvement efforts

“Pedestrian safety has become more and more of an issue in the last couple years,” said Dicesare.

In the coming months, multiple upgrades will be made to keep pedestrians safe, including pedestrian stop lights and flashing signs.

Dicesare said crosswalks are a great tool to keep pedestrians safe, but only if they’re used properly.

Jaywalking in North Carolina is completely legal, and near East Carolina University’s campus students will often walk across the middle of the street, even when a crosswalk is just steps away.

“They really don’t care,” said Amanda Baker, an ECU student. “They just do whatever they want. It’s dangerous.”

ECU student Austin Willoughby admitted his peers don’t always use good judgment.

“They probably should because it’s safer, but I realize sometimes it’s just more convenient not to,” said Willoughby.

“They think it’s like fun or funny to walk in front of cars because they say (if they are hit) it pays for my tuition,” said Baker

The Greenville Police Department actually has a plan in the works to take care of some of the jaywalking in and around the city.

The chief wants to launch crosswalk enforcement zones.

It would be a city ordinance and if you fail to use a crosswalk in one of the zones, you could find yourself with a ticket.

That has to go before City Council.

In the meantime, crews will work to improve the roads.

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