The grant will support a new initiative called Live Safe DeKalb, aimed at fostering safety behaviors in socio-economically disadvantaged residents who live in high risk areas for pedestrian injuries. Such areas include Buford Highway, Candler Road, Covington Highway, Wesley Chapel Road and Memorial Drive, where 63-year-old man was hit and killed last month outside the Memorial Bend Shopping Center.
Rosalind Hill said areas such as this are prone to pedestrian crashes because they’re on busy streets that have several businesses. Hill, coordinator for health promotion and prevention at the DeKalb County Board of Health, said she specifically surveyed the Memorial Drive area to see why there are many pedestrian accidents.
“From what I could see there are crosswalks,” she said. “However, the length from one traffic light to another is long and they’re usually up or down a hill.”
Hill surveyed the lengthy road about 2 p.m. Monday and said the hilly streets combined with the pedestrian cross sections is a “a recipe for disaster.”
“It’s just a very busy area,” she said of Memorial Drive. “And instead of going to the light and crossing, some will take the chance and cross where they are.”
DeKalb, along with Fulton County, leads the state for the most fatal wrecks involving pedestrians, according to U.S. Department of Transportation numbers. A third of the 196 fatal wrecks involving vehicles in the county between 2014 and 2016 involved pedestrians, according to a data compiled by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
According to the DeKalb board of health, crashes are the cause of one in five deaths among residents in the county. A sixth of hospitalizations and emergency room visits are due to a crash, according to a 2015 DeKalb County status of health report.
Hill hopes the Live Safe DeKalb program will diminish those statistics.
“We’re in the planning stages,” she said, “but right now, we’re creating partnerships with the community so we can get an idea of specific needs.”
The program is expected to kick off in early 2019.
DEKALB PEDESTRIAN DEATHS: