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Has Pedestrian Safety Increased?



Over the last few years Rexburg has increased its regulations on pedestrian safety with crosswalk reflectors and orange flags, to high intensity activated crosswalks, or HAWK lights. With these increased inputs, has safety increased for pedestrians?

“Going back ten years ago we had very few rules and little enforcement. We had some fatalities. The council said, ‘What do we have to do to prevent any more of these?’”said John Millar, public works director for the City of Rexburg.

One of the most expensive crosswalk structures in Rexburg, the HAWK light, located on 2nd West and 3rd South by Taco Time, was installed after 2 fatalities, both occurring in 2008. This light, which should be treated like a traffic light when activated, has decreased incidents.

Since the meeting in 2008 Rexburg has made improvements to crosswalks, increased lighting, and enforced more safety regulations.

“I think we’ve seen significant improvement through engineering enhancement, and enforcement of what we have out there,” Millar said.

For the most part, students exhibit awareness when crossing the road. They also take precaution by yielding to drivers.

“Somebody once said that as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but as a driver I hate pedestrians. And I feel that pretty much summarized the Rexburg experience. So, as a pedestrian I know that I technically have the right-of-way, but I also know that through physics if a car hits me the car’s going to win,” said Michael Rasband, a senior studying communications.

“If you see a car coming stop, wait until it’s safe, same with the motoring public. They need to, you know, be courteous to the pedestrians even if they are jaywalking,” said captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg city police department.

As the city becomes more urbanized, the town will analyze traffic situations on a case by case basis. Reporting from Rexburg, Idaho, I’m Natalia Hepworth with Scroll TV News.

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