Police effort aims to reduce pedestrian deaths

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Corporal Michael Pletcher stands for a portrait as he stands near Wrightsboro Road on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Corporal Michael Pletcher stands for a portrait as he stands near Wrightsboro Road on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff

Wrightsboro and Wash­ing­ton roads are the focus of a new initiative to cut down on pedestrian-related injuries and deaths.

“You think you can get across that street sometimes, but you just don’t realize how fast the cars are coming,” Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Lewis Blanchard said.

Last year, Richmond Coun­ty saw its most pedestrian fatalities in a decade. Four of the 15 deaths occurred in the two areas targeted in the new crackdown.

Police said two areas with the most problems are Wrightsboro Road near Jackson Road, and Wash­ington Road between Starbucks and TBonz.

The most troublesome is Wrightsboro Road, where many of the pedestrians are children. Lt. Ramone Lam­kin said deputies are seeing children as young as 11 crossing without adults.

For the first stage of the crackdown, which began Fri­day, deputies have been asked to stop all children crossing in those areas, escort them to their parents, make them aware of the problem and explain safe crossing methods.

If adults cross in unsafe areas, they could get a warning.

“We’re not looking to go to high enforcement,” Lamkin said. “It’s mainly going to be education and warnings.”

Adults, especially military on the weekends, are the main problem on Wash­ington Road.

Lamkin said the sheriff’s office plans to meet with military police and other officials at Fort Gordon to discuss the issue. Later, police plan to go into neighborhoods in areas near the road to hand out fliers on the danger of illegal crossing.

The sheriff’s office has met with traffic engineering to see whether there is something it can do to
increase safety in the two areas. Traf­fic engineer Steve Cas­sell said there are options on Wrights­boro Road, but they would take time and come from transportation sales tax funds.

Cassell said barriers could prevent crossing or lead pedestrians to use a crosswalk, but a median would provide a refuge as people crossed the busy highway.

“To fix the problem would be a pretty significant investment,” Cassell said.

In the meantime, traffic engineering might put
up warning signs in the area.

The Washington Road problem would not be as easily fixed. The area already has frequent crosswalks with upgraded crossing functions.

“That’s a little beyond me as to what we can do,” Cassell said.

Police urge people to take the extra minute to walk to the nearest crosswalk.

“There are so many distractions with drivers nowadays,” Blanchard said. “All it takes is one second and two lives are ruined.”

The sheriff’s office plans to move to areas including Gor­­don Highway, Peach Or­chard Road and Deans Bridge Road after they address the two problem areas.

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Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 07/27/13 - 04:27 pm
5
1
CPD

I'm surprised Fred Russell hasn’t tried to set up a Continuously Patrolled District at Washington & I-20 to finance Blanchard’s Jaywalking Education Initiative. That way he could set up a new tax in that corridor to fleece the merchants.

Riverman1
94281
Points
Riverman1 07/27/13 - 06:20 pm
5
0
It's almost impossible for

It's almost impossible for pedestrians to cross Wash. Rd. near I-20. Cars begin turning soon as the light turns. Pedestrians are endangered by the turning cars even if they wait for the light.

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 07/27/13 - 08:50 pm
2
1
No Pedestrian Zone

Okay, RM. You make a good point. The best solution is to make the zone from I-20 westward all the way to Patriot’s Way a No Pedestrian Zone. No pedestrian should be allowed to cross Washington Rd. in that zone. They should build high chain-link fencing with razor wire at the top. They should also disallow pedestrians to walk under I-20 to enter or exit the No Pedestrian Zone.

That takes care of the west side of I-20. Now, let's think about the east side (when I first moved to Augusta there was a sign on the east side of I-20 saying "Augusta Scenic Highway"). No kidding. Okay; no pedestrian should be allowed to cross Washington Road until you get to Boy Scout Road up there where the bank is. High fences with razor wire are required

rational thought trumps emotion
2682
Points
rational thought trumps emotion 07/28/13 - 07:38 am
3
0
Making things better.

The Sheriff is making good on his promise of pro-active policing in many ways. 11 pedestrian fatalities last year and 1 this year along with a few struck that were not killed. Response....Evaluate the situation, determine the problem areas, educate people about the problem, use the media to make people more aware of the issue, use public service announcements, walk door to door within the problem areas, work other agencies such as traffic and engineering to help solve the issue. One thing is for sure, this all beats just taking a report of the incident.

GiantsAllDay
10562
Points
GiantsAllDay 07/28/13 - 09:19 am
4
0
Isn't jay walking against the

Isn't jay walking against the law? Why not set up "Operation Walking Thunder"? Have plain clothed cops stake out Washington and Wrightsboro roads and conduct a sting operation. Arrest all offenders, no matter the age and throw them in jail for as long as a masters ticket scalper. As a taxpayer I would fully support this as the wisest use of tax dollars.

Pops
14744
Points
Pops 07/28/13 - 07:35 pm
3
0
Sometimes no matter how

many studies you do or how much money you throw at a problem, you just can't protect people from themselves.

corgimom
38751
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 05:22 am
4
0
"Lt. Ramone Lam­kin said

"Lt. Ramone Lam­kin said deputies are seeing children as young as 11 crossing without adults."

When I was 6, I walked to kindergarten in San Diego, in city traffic. By myself. Just like every other child in my area.

If a child doesn't know how to cross a street by the time that they are 11, they have bigger problems than crossing a street.

nocnoc
49689
Points
nocnoc 07/29/13 - 06:30 am
1
0
May I offer 1 serious suggestion

Please add Hwy 56 between the new RCSO Sub station and Bobby Jones?

The number of idiots playing Frogger is ridiculous.

For those that did not play Frogger.
http://www.blisteredthumbs.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/frogger.jpg

corgimom
38751
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 09:44 am
0
0
Remember back in the day when

Remember back in the day when people were expected to have the good common sense to know how to cross a street and not get run down by a car?

corgimom
38751
Points
corgimom 07/29/13 - 09:47 am
0
0
My husband, as a teenager

My husband, as a teenager attending high school, used to cross I-85, as a shortcut.

Along with all the other kids in his neighborhood.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 07/29/13 - 01:42 pm
1
0
pedestrian deaths.
Unpublished

Parents have the first responsibility to teach their children how to live in this world, trouble is too many do a poor job. That leaves us to deal with the cost to society caused by these folks. Our schools need to teach children from day one how to travel our roads. Pedestrians, no matter what they are using; feet, skate boards, roller blades, bicycles, or anything else, need to understand the need to yield to motor traffic. They need to be taught public roads are not playgrounds. We could spend millions to try to childproof our roads but a few common sense laws should solve the most of the problems. No matter what age, the feeble-minded will do as trained and we need to do a better job of training them about road safety. For a start, our State officials need to stop writing “feel-good” rules that tell pedestrians that they are “vehicles” when on a highway. All the paper law in the world will not stop a 5,000 pound/55MPH vehicle from killing a 150 pound/5MPH pedestrian whenever the two get together.

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