Crystal Coast towns looking to improve pedestrian safety

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ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT)–Tourism season along our coast officially began Memorial Day weekend.

And with an increase in tourists comes an increase in foot traffic.

“There is a lot more pedestrian traffic because we have so many vacationers down here,” Maj. Bill Bailey, Emerald Isle Police Dept., said.

Local towns are implementing a new program aimed to keep pedestrians safe. It’s called Watch for Me NC.

The goal of the program is education for both pedestrians and motorists. Along N.C. 58, there are multiple crosswalks to help pedestrians cross the busy highway to the beach.

“Traffic probably increases four-fold in Morehead City,” Lt. Tim Guthrie, Morehead City Police Dept., said. “In addition to that, we have people parking on the side streets and they’re going to be walking from the side streets to the tourist areas and to the waterfront to the beaches.”

Officials say Carteret County has a high number of pedestrians compared to other areas of the state.

Five years ago, a pedestrian was fatally struck by a car in Atlantic Beach. Towns are urging you to take extra precautions while driving.

“People come down here with a one track mind,” Chief Jeff Harvey, Atlantic Beach Police Dept., said. “They want to get to the beach, but we want everybody to have the opportunity to get there and get there safely.”

Maj. Bailey offers some tips for motorists: “Watch what you’re doing,” he said. “When you’re driving a vehicle don’t be playing on cell phones and texting or playing with the radio. If you drop something, leave it on the floor until you can stop.”

You can find more information on the Watch for Me NC program here.

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