City of Santa Monica NEWS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Steps Up Pedestrian Safety through
Education, Planning and Enforcement Efforts
SANTA MONICA, CA – The City of Santa Monica is actively participating in the regional Watch the Road campaign to improve pedestrian, bicycling and vehicle traffic safety throughout the city. Santa Monica joins 15 other cities in Southern California and more than 30 organizations and media partners dedicated to improving safety and mobility in Los Angeles region. The Watch the Road campaign coordinates educational materials with targeted enforcement efforts to change motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian behavior.
“The Police department is stepping up enforcement around crosswalks, and we’re working with staff in Planning, Public Works and the City Manager’s Office to get motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to slow down, pay attention and be safe,” said Captain Carolin Larson. “Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
Walkers, cyclists and motorists may have noticed new Watch the Road campaign signage on buses and refuse collection trucks featuring the message, “Disconnect. Stay alert, stay alive.”
The messaging encourages pedestrians to pay attention and take responsibility for their safety when crossing streets and moving about town. It reminds drivers and cyclists to “watch the road” for pedestrians who may not be paying attention to their surroundings.
The ads reference a new website http://www.smgov.net/watchtheroad, where drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can find more information on the campaign and tips for making Santa Monica safer place to walk, bike and drive.
Looking forward, the city is undertaking infrastructure and planning efforts to make Santa Monica more pedestrian-friendly. The 2012-14 capital improvement program includes $1 million for re-marking and refurbishing pedestrian crosswalks in the city. The priority locations were established after city staff conducted an inventory and assessment of all pedestrian crossings along major corridors. The city is also initiating a Pedestrian Action Plan that will help the city improve its safety record and upgrade its walking network in anticipation of Expo Light Rail arrival in Santa Monica in 2015. The project will begin with the collection and analysis of pedestrian crash data to immediately inform ongoing education and enforcement.
In addition, the Santa Monica Police Department is targeting enforcement efforts each month to combat unsafe behaviors. Over the past few months, SMPD has focused on motorists who fail to yield for pedestrians in a crosswalk, speeding and seat belt violations; and on bicycle violations such as riding on the sidewalk, riding against traffic and other dangerous behaviors.
Although 2012 is not quite half over, city officials are optimistic that the coordinated campaign is helping to raise awareness so that residents and visitors to Santa Monica will be more safety-conscious. Automobile collisions are down 3% YTD from 2011 and there have been no fatal collisions involving pedestrians or bicycles, despite the reported surge in bicycling.
For more information on the Watch the Road campaign in Santa Monica, visit www.smgov.net/WatchtheRoad.