Twelve residents and eight city staff met for about an hour in the basement of city hall to explore how Charlottesville can become a much safer place for pedestrians. Residents were from several neighborhoods and represented a variety of pedestrian interest groups. Staff from the Police Department, Public Works, and Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) were involved in the meeting as well. Jim Tolbert, Head of NDS presented opportunities the committee can pursue and what personnel and other resources the city can provide in supporting the Pedestrian Safety Committee.
A lively discussion ensued and it is clear that there are significant pedestrian safety needs in Charlottesville. This committee will need to prioritize its effort to get real safety improvements in place in the near future. We did a fair bit of 'talking the talk', but I am hopeful that the group at the meeting will do their best to 'walk the walk' - after all, what better group could you assemble to 'walk the walk' than Charlottesville's outspoken pedestrian advocates.
I am sure this group can map out excellent strategies and priorities for improving pedestrian safety. The true test is getting sufficient political will and resources to implement the committee's ultimate recommendations. You can be a big part in keeping the city on track. Do share your thoughts with city council and the budget office about investing in pedestrian safety projects. I suggested in a previous blog entry that we could dedicate some of the $4.3 million in economic development funds to this effort. Perhaps you have even better ideas to contribute. We are all pedestrians so don't be shy about getting involved. All of us will better from improved pedestrian safety.
Photos by Peter T. Kleeman 1. some of the attendees; 2. Jim Tolbert leads first meeting.