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With pedestrian deaths up nationwide, Roanoke City looks to slow drivers down

The Roanoke Bike/Ped Committee travels local roads by biking, walking or using mobility devices...
The Roanoke Bike/Ped Committee travels local roads by biking, walking or using mobility devices to determined how they the City can improve accessibility.(WDBJ7)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Transportation leaders in Roanoke City say it’s become more dangerous over the last year for people to walk and ride their bikes.

Andrea Garland, a Traffic Engineer for the City of Roanoke, said data show pedestrian deaths nationwide increased last year by more than 200 percent.

The Pedestrian Safety Campaign they’re rolling out this summer is focused on encouraging drivers to slow down. With the launch schedules for June 21, city leaders will encourage drivers to pledge to slow down. They plan to host events, neighborhood walks, contests, and other activities to engage and educate the community.

Meanwhile, changes are coming to Brandon Avenue. The high risk area will be re-paved.

Garland said the street will be easier to cross, traffic signals will be more efficient and the bike lane will get a buffer from the traffic lane.

Rachel Ruhlen, the Transportation Planner for the Roanoke Valley-Allegheny Regional Commission, said making a city biker and pedestrian friendly is important.

”Making a city where walking and biking can happen comfortably and safely is just gonna make the community feel nicer,” she said. “And then it’s gonna have all kinds of other benefits, including economic development. More people will want to live here, more businesses will want to locate here and so forth. "

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