STOP, LOOK both ways, CROSS

Kara Shea
Issue Date: 
August, 2018
Article Body: 

Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year.
This alarming statistic has brought about change on Norwood’s streets. Recently, the Norwood Pedestrian Safety Committee created Stop, Look, Cross signs to better educate pedestrians on safe crossing at roadways. With the ultimate goal to cut down on accidents in Norwood, these signs are imperative.
“Too many times, pedestrian accidents occur because pedestrians are either not paying attention or assume motorists see them and are going to stop”, Norwood Director of Public Works, Paul Riccardi explained.
As this issue has caused many tragic accidents in and around Norwood, members of the community believed something needed to be done. In 2004, after the tragic accident involving Allison White as she walked to the High School, The Pedestrian Safety Committee was formed.
The Committee, comprised of (Director of Public Works): Paul Riccardi, (School Dept. Building and Ground Supt.): Andy Murphy, (Assistant Town Engineer): Steve Begley, and (Police Department Traffic Safety Officer): Paul Murphy, has the purpose of improving pedestrian safety throughout Town. This has been implemented in 3 ways: Enforcement, Engineering, and Education.
The Enforcement portion is accomplished by the Police Department, through continued vigilance at pedestrian crossings and ticketing of individuals who speed or park on crosswalks and sidewalks.
The Engineering portion is accomplished in the way they build the streets and sidewalk system. It includes, but is not limited to: shorter crossing distances achieved by bump outs that can be found throughout Norwood Center, and Pedestrian refuge islands, like the ones found in front of the Civic Center and Washington St at Norwood Hospital. They also created more visible crosswalk patterns that the Town has adopted as its standard.
The Education is achieved by the signage the Committee has adopted: Stop for Pedestrian, and a banner created by Norwood High School students that promotes pedestrian safety. And now, they have introduced the Stop, Look, Cross signs.
‘The signs read, “STOP LOOK both ways CROSS - Remember, your safety depends on you,” Riccardi said. “Again, we are trying to educate the pedestrian to take their safety in their own hands and do not assume motorists will see them or will stop.”
Presently, there are approximately 100 of these signs located at various crosswalks that do not have pedestrian signals. As the DPW budget allows, more are to be erected throughout the Town.
The Town of Norwood has taken a significant amount of action to improve the pedestrian environment throughout its streets and sidewalks. Ultimately, the result of these actions will only be realized if both the motorist and pedestrian respect each other .Motorists need to understand their surroundings, and pedestrians need to be cautious when crossing a travelled way. With more and more cars added to the roads each year, it is this sentiment to keep in mind. Nothing works if the balance has been tipped. So, use caution and always remember to STOP, LOOK both ways, CROSS.