226 pedestrians struck in 10 years
Published: Thursday, October 7, 2010
Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 01:10
The Morgantown Pedestrian Safety Board is working to address problems related to pedestrian-vehicle injuries in Morgantown.
From Jan. 1998 to June 2008, 226 pedestrian-vehicle injuries were reported, according to a report conducted by Christen Seaman of West Virginia University's Injury Control Research Center.
The most dangerous intersections in Morgantown are between Spruce and Walnut streets; High and Willey streets; and South University Avenue and Pleasant Street, the study states.
Most pedestrian-vehicle accidents occurred in the early evening hours, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and in transitional months, such as September, October and April, according to the study.
A lack of funding from the state and underdeveloped alternate transportation systems may contribute to the pedestrian-vehicle problem in Morgantown, said Bill Reger-Nash, vice chairperson of the Pedestrian Safety Board.
"West Virginia is dead last when it come to alternate transportation contribution," he said.
Currently, only about 0.5 percent of federal transportation money is put toward alternate transportation, Reger-Nash said.
"We can't solve our transportation problems by building new roads. We need smarter methods of transportation," he said.
The Safety Board is working to address pedestrian problems in Morgantown by dealing with problems that arise when walking and reviewing statistics.
The board is currently working to correct problems such as lighting, warning signs and right and left turns at red lights to make Morgantown a safer place for pedestrians, said Christiaan Abildso, chair of the Safety Board.
"We're analyzing police reports from the last five years to look at pedestrian-vehicle accidents," Abildso said.
Jaywalking is another contributing factor to pedestrian-vehicle accidents, he said.
Pedestrians often cross roads when the signal says not to walk. Even if there is no traffic and a pedestrian uses a crosswalk, it is still considered jaywalking, Abildso said.
However, if there is a yellow pedestrian crosswalk sign, such as those on High Street, a pedestrian may legally cross the road at any time, he said.
This year, two WVU students have been struck in crosswalks on the Evansdale Campus.
On Oct. 2, Victoria Gonzalez, a freshman pre-journalism major, was struck by a vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m. at a crosswalk on Evansdale Drive near Towers.
Gonzalez sustained bruising to her face and the left side of her body, a black eye and a cut above her left eye as a result of the incident.
In April, Jason Forman, a sophomore engineering major, was hit by a Mountain Line bus while using the crosswalk near the Student Recreation Center.
Forman sustained a fractured wrist and trauma to his body from the incident.