NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Putting a stop to traffic fatalities — that’s the goal behind a new safety initiative in Norfolk called Vision Zero.
The effort is meant to improve safety across all modes of transportation, but the city is focusing on pedestrians and cyclists.
On Friday, a woman died after being hit while walking on Ingleside Road.
Changes at busy intersections have already been put in place.
A map from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles shows there have been 66 reported pedestrian accidents in Norfolk so far in 2019.
Sadly, not everyone survives.
“On average we have 15 fatalities,” said Amy Inman, director for the city’s transit department. “One is too many, and 15 is what we say is unacceptable.”
It’s a statistic the department of transit hopes to eliminate through the Vision Zero initiative.
“We really want to target areas where we know there’s a lot of pedestrian activity happening,” Inman said.
The city is changing crosswalk safety starting with what’s called a pedestrian-only phase.
When a pedestrian pushes the button to signal they want to use the crosswalk, all lanes of traffic stop so the person can walk across safely once the light changes.
“The pedestrian has around 27 seconds to cross the street,” Inman said.
The pedestrian-only phase is already in use at St. Pauls Boulevard and City Hall Avenue, Hampton Boulevard and Spotswood Avenue, and Princess Anne Road and Majestic Avenue.
The latter is the same intersection where a 12-year-old boy died after he was struck in 2018.
At less populated intersections, the city says it plans to implement what’s called a “leading pedestrian interval.”
“That allows the pedestrian to have three to five seconds to get into the crosswalk so that they’re visible,” Inman said. “That’ll be a standard throughout our city as we move forward.”
Whether it’s walking, biking, driving or riding a scooter, the city says safety on the roads is everyone’s responsibility.
“No one can deny the fact that everyone should be safe,” Inman said.
WAVY.com is told similar safety measures could pop up near libraries, schools and recreation centers.
The city says it’ll be looking at crash data to identify what areas could see some changes next.