*Sign and crosswalk-9th.JPG

A pedestrian sign and crosswalk is shown on Baltimore Avenue at the Ninth Street intersection downtown.

With 24 pedestrian collisions recorded across the resort last summer, members of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee are intent on delivering messages of walker safety to the masses for the 2023 season.

Councilman Tony DeLuca, who sits on the committee, told fellow council members at a work session Tuesday that pedestrian safety is a high priority for both his committee and State Highway Association officials.

To promote the message, city officials worked with SHA on a Walk Smart campaign that consisted of ads placed on billboards, buses and trams and featured a smiling cartoon crab and tips for staying safe when crossing roadways and walking around town.

At a committee meeting on Dec. 7, DeLuca said members learned that SHA would not be funding the campaign this year but a representative suggested that the city could apply for grants to keep it going. DeLuca said he made a list of possible funding sources and forwarded it to the city’s grant coordinator.

DeLuca contended that the continuation of the program is crucial, with 24 pedestrian collisions reported last summer and 22 the year before. While only eight were reported in 2020, likely because fewer people were in town due to the pandemic, data shows that from 2015 to 2019 the number of pedestrian involved in run-ins with vehicles ranged from 23 to 32 per year.

DeLuca’s plan for the Walk Smart campaign includes about 12 signs on the backs of buses, billboards on Route 50 and a banner plane. He expects costs to come to about $25,000 and hopes that grants can be obtained.

This story appears in the Jan. 6, 2023 print edition of the OC Today.

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