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City Will Take Part in “Operation See! Be Seen!” Campaign

The City of Poughkeepsie Police Department will once again participate in the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s “Operation See! Be Seen!” campaign, designed to raise awareness about keeping pedestrians safe across the state.

During this two-week campaign, from June 14 through June 27, city police will be patrolling busy pedestrian corridors and issuing warning notices, tickets and informative tip cards to both motorists and pedestrians found violating the law. More than a dozen law enforcement agencies, including Poughkeepsie, will cover 20 “focus communities” identified in the statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, where pedestrian crash volume is highest outside of New York City.

 “We take this matter seriously,” said City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Tom Pape. “Making sure pedestrians are safe is imperative, particularly in a walkable city like Poughkeepsie.”

Hannah Early, at left, and Chelsea Schwarze, use a crosswalk on Main Street in the City of Poughkeepsie to make their way during a lunch break recently. Early is the programming coordinator for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Schwarze is member relations director for the Chamber.

State officials point out that more than 25 percent of motor-vehicle-related fatalities are pedestrians. The majority of those, 61 percent, were related to driver actions, while 37 percent were deemed to be caused by pedestrian actions.

The education campaign emphasizes the “See! Be Seen!” message for both drivers and pedestrians. For instance, drivers must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. They should not block crosswalks when stopped at intersections. They should always look for pedestrians, particularly when turning at a green light or making a right turn on red.

Pedestrians must cross at intersections and marked crosswalks. They should use pedestrian push-buttons where available and wait for the signal to cross. They are reminded that, when no sidewalks are available, they should walk facing traffic so they see vehicles and drivers see them.

“With the warmer weather,” City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison noted, “There are more people walking in the city. It’s an encouraging sign to see, but it also means drivers have to stay alert at crosswalks and in other places attracting pedestrians.”

Mayor Rolison said the city has been embracing the “complete-streets” concept, which means equal consideration should be given to all users of the street — including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with limited mobility.  The city has formed a Complete Streets Working Group and will be doing outreach with the public and other stakeholders.

The state’s enforcement mobilization is part of the broader Pedestrian Safety Action Plan being implemented by the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Department of Health and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s

Last year, the city was awarded $2,430,000 as part of the plan’s grant program. The statewide initiative calls for a systemic approach to address pedestrian safety issues and provides funding to local governments to implement low-cost, high-impact improvements at known hazardous locations. 

The city will use the PSAP funding along corridors, intersections and uncontrolled crosswalks where the highest pedestrian traffic exists and where past accidents have occurred, including sites along Main, Mansion, and Market streets.  Interventions will include upgrading high-visibility crosswalks and signage, installing countdown pedestrian timers, and in some locations introducing curbed pedestrian refuges at crosswalks.

Resources:

To learn more about “Operation See! Be Seen!” and the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, visit the GTSC Pedestrian Safety page, go to:
www.safeny.ny.gov/peds-ndx.htm and www.ny.gov/programs/pedestrian-safety-action-plan