Metroplan Orlando held a pedestrian safety workshop yesterday. The attendance and enthusiasm was very encouraging. The board room was filled to capacity with more attendees than expected. Many different disciplines and organizations were represented, all with the same goal of enhancing pedestrian safety in Metro Orlando.
Presenters included Bill Segal, Metroplan Orlando Board Chairman, Mighk Wilson, Metroplan Orlando, and Sara Issac, a strategist with Salter-Mitchell. After Mighk explained the need, Sara Issac gave a short presentation and led a discussion on what the key problems were, what behaviors were behind the problems, and who would be the target audience for any social media to change behavior.
There were many ideas volunteered by the attendees. Since most of the pedestrian crashes occur along Lynx transit routes, it was thought transit riders provided a good target audience for pedestrian behavior changes, such as using crosswalks properly and crossing streets carefully. In addition, there are many existing ways to reach this group through Lynx ads, signage and literature. The group identified transients as another target audience because of the high rate at which this group is involved in crashes. However, no good strategy for reaching this group and effecting behavior change was put forward. This group, however, will benefit from more pedestrian-friendly streets as they become more prevalent in the future.
This workshop and the subject it addressed represents one way our community can start to reduce pedestrian crashes and fatalities, by changing behavior and social norms to make our streets safer. There are many other things that can be done as well. I encourage each of you to become a pedestrian safety advocate if you aren’t already one, and come up with ways to make our streets safer. We need to get Metro Orlando out of the top ten most dangerous places in the country to walk. We don’t want a repeat of the number one ranking our community received in 2009 and 2004. Let’s make 2014 the year we’re out of the top ten. If you have ideas on how to make our streets safer, both short term and long term, get them to the people that can make those changes. Let’s make our streets safer to walk on, step by step. This blog is a good place to post your ideas. Do it today.