Posted by Jason on Sep 24 2010
Local Motion teamed up with the Burlington Police Department, the UVM Police Department, and Champlain College to conduct two simultaneous intersection actions on September 20. An “intersection action” is an outreach event at a high-traffic intersection, where community residents and local police work together to educate motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians about the rules of the road.
The first action was on Willard Street on the Champlain campus, where there are chronic problems with pedestrians not using crosswalks as well as with cars not stopping for pedestrians who do use the crosswalks. Local Motion volunteers handed out “citations for good behavior” plus a two-for-one Ben & Jerry’s cone coupon to pedestrians who used the crosswalk, and gave everyone who passed our “Give Respect, Get Respect” brochure, which includes a $6 coupon for discounts on safety gear at local outdoor shops. Meanwhile, police pulled over motorists who sailed through the crosswalk when a pedestrian was waiting to cross, and gave out a number of warnings and tickets.
The second was at Main Street and University Heights, at the top of the hill on the UVM campus. This high-volume intersection is dangerous for everyone, with cars regularly going through the red light and pedestrians crossing at all times. Volunteers handed out the same information to pedestrians and cyclists as at Champlain, and officers focused on motorists who ran a red light or otherwise endangered other users of the road. Local Motion is working with UVM and others to identify structural changes to this intersection as well as modifications to the timing and sequencing of the crossing signals that, taken together, will make the intersection safer for everyone.
Special thanks to Corporal Dominic Brodeur of the Burlington Police Department and Officer Matt Collins of the UVM Police Department for their leadership and their time. Without their efforts, intersection actions would not be possible. Thanks also to Luis Vivanco, UVM professor and avid cyclist, who organized the intersection action at UVM; as well as to Rich Long, director of campus public safety at Champlain College, who collaborated in the event and recruited student volunteers.
With the help of our local Safe Streets Teams, we are currently working on organizing intersection actions in other Chittenden County communities. If you live in South Burlington, Essex, Winooski, or Shelburne and are interested in helping make your community’s streets safer for everyone, please join us! Contact Jason Van Driesche at email@example.com or 861-2700 ext. 109.
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