Get the scoop.

Other Articles

Smart911 | Mass Notification System | Register for Alerts »

New technology hopes to alert Chippewa Valley residents in emergencies »

Active shooter town hall held in Altoona »

New Altoona celebration of life center to open »

Area law enforcement trained and equipped for opioid overdose calls »

Congratulations! The "Best of the Chippewa Valley" in Altoona! »

Area K-9 Programs need fundraising to operate »

Woodman's fights its tax bill »

River Prairie Announces Official Logo »

Prevea to open urgent care clinic in Altoona »

Altoona looks to improve Highway 12 safety after fatal accident »

Altoona police officers give out hams instead of tickets »

Just the ham, ma'am: Altoona cops take a Christmas break... »

Local officers hand out hams to traffic violators instead of tickets »

Vote on Altoona fire & rescue service charge ordinance postponed »

Pedestrian deaths spike; local officials look to improve road safety

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Jessica Bringe | WEAU

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The past two years have been bad for pedestrians according to the Governors Highway Safety Association which says 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S.

In Wisconsin alone, a record 63 pedestrians were killed last year.


Local government officials are looking at ways to make city streets more bike and pedestrian friendly as well as to educate pedestrians on how they can keep themselves safer, especially as it gets warmer.

Lake Hallie Police Chief Cal Smokowicz pedestrians need to remember to follow state law if they're walking along the roadway.

Smokowicz explained, "All pedestrians have to walk on the left-hand side of the roadway and when approached by a vehicle they're supposed to move over as far as they can on the pavement to not obstruct traffic."

Since the village doesn't have sidewalks, and has no plans to add them, the police department says drivers need to pay attention, as do pedestrians.

"When you're walking facing traffic you can obviously see cars coming towards you and that's important especially in today's world with distracted drivers on their phones, text messaging, and all kinds of things they shouldn't be doing," said Smokowicz.

n the City of Altoona a bicycle and pedestrian plans is underway to elevate the safety and convenience for people to get around on foot and by bike.

City planner Joshua Clements explained, "Our roadways have been historically constructed for moving vehicles and that has not resulted in the best situations for pedestrians in many cases."

The city is looking at changes like connecting gaps in bike and pedestrian's paths and improving intersections with the hopes of changing the behavior of both pedestrians and drivers.

"If there's a well design crossing with extra signage it will hopefully induce behavior in terms of hopefully people will use that crossing because it is clearly designed for that. It will also hopefully alert drivers to the fact pedestrians are using that space," said Clements.

The city hopes to begin making changes this year to improve safety for everyone.

Clements added, "Safety is a top concern. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of our roadways so we have to be most particularly careful when it comes to our movements."

The association also says pedestrians now account for around 16-percent of motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. compared to 11-percent a few years ago.

Alcohol and darkness are cited as longtime factors of crashes as well as more recent hazards like cell phone use.

Read more about this article »