PennDOT, Pitt Work To Educate Public On Pedestrian Safety

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was a busy Monday on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland.

That means a lot of foot traffic was moving across Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes.

“Now unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to see a vehicle speeding through a corridor or pedestrians running into traffic in between vehicles,” said PennDOT representative Yasmeen Manyisha.

Two pedestrians were killed in a 2015 crash at the corner of Allequippa Street and Centre Avenue.

Pitt Police say they have about a half dozen accidents of vehicles hitting pedestrians every semester.

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“Sometimes motorists are at fault, sometimes pedestrians are at fault. And most of the time it’s because they’re distracted,” Officer Guy Johnson said.

The university and PennDOT are focusing on educating both drivers and people walking. They held an event today at the William Pitt Union to kick off PennDOT’s Highway Safety Law Awareness Week.

“We ask motorists to stay alert, slow down and yield to pedestrians. And we ask our pedestrians to use crosswalks when crossing the street,” Johnson said.

PennDOT believes it’s an important education effort because an average of five pedestrians in Pittsburgh are hit by vehicles every week.

“And 60 percent of the crashes that occurred in the city occurred in broad daylight, just like today,” Manyisha said.

The safest way to cross a busy street like Bigelow? Look in both directions, and make eye contact with the driver to be sure they’re paying attention.

“For all they know, a motorist could be distracted. They could be on their phone, distracted, and they don’t see them. And, unfortunately, they could get struck,” Manyisha said.

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