Whether you're identifying high-risk sites or figuring out who's responsible for pedestrian safety in your community, here are some points to keep in mind when advocating for crosswalk improvement.
1. IDENTIFY PROBLEM AREAS
Is there a dangerous crosswalk in your neighborhood? A number of factors can spell danger for pedestrians.
2. STUDY EACH SITE
Specific facts are far more convincing than vague generalizations. Plus, knowledge is power; the more you know, the more persuasive you can be.
Investigate the Site's History
Aside from doing a physical inspection, it also pays to find out as much as you can about the problem site and what has already been done (if anything) to improve it.
We recommend examining each site from two points of view as a pedestrian and as a driver and visiting each site at least 2 or 3 times, and preferably at different times during the day.
Put it all together
Once you've gathered all this information, you'll know all there is to know about your sites. Organize your findings; this will help you organize your argument as well. These three basic questions might help:
Why does the site need improvement?
What has been done already to improve the site and how effective have these efforts been?
What's the best way to improve it and why?
What are the consequences of postponing improvement?
3. CONTACT YOUR DEALER
If you've decided that a lighted crosswalk system meets your community's needs, contact Traffic Safety Corporation at 1-888-446-9255. We can put you in touch with the Traffic Safety Dealer in your area.
What can your dealer do for you?
He/she may already know a good deal about the site,
He/she may have key contacts in your city, which can save you time and effort,
he/she might be willing to make a presentation on your behalf, and
he/she may be able to help create a digital presentation of what your crosswalk might look like with lighted crosswalk systems.
Remember, two key aspects of successful short-term advocacy are (1) having articulate, organized speakers and (2) using powerful, relevant pictures.
The following steps can be accomplished in coordination with your dealer or on your own.
4. FIND OUT WHO OWNS THE ROAD
Most of the time the road in question will belong the city. But you might be able to save yourself some potential runaround later on; it could belong to the county, the light rail authority, a university, or a private company.
5. BUILD SUPPORT
Start by talking to family and friends in the community. Find out who else is concerned about this problem and who would be willing to work to fix it.
Contact Key Decision Makers
The people you'll need to contact will depend on who owns the road where your site is located. Keeping that in mind, people to contact include:
You can find the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of city personnel on the Internet. Just use a search engine (like Google) and search for "(name of city here) city home page." From the city's homepage, you should be able to do a search for the personnel titles listed here. Please note that every city is organized differently and position titles change accordingly.
Director of Public Works
Police Chief (Very important!)
Pedestrian Safety Coordinator
City Council members
Superintendent of Schools
Community Group Leaders
You should be able to find the names at least of these people on the Internet. Again, use a search engine and search for "(name of city) name of group."
President of the local Parent Teachers Association
Presidents of local pedestrian safety or walkable community groups
6. MAKE PRESENTATIONS
We've created a PowerPoint presentation about our products that you're welcome to use as part of your presentation. Remember you can always print the presentation and make the "slides" into transparencies. We also thought it would be nice to save you some research time and compiled a list of useful facts about the system and about pedestrian safety in general. And again, feel free to contact us about having the Traffic Safety dealer for your area make a presentation about our products.
PowerPoint: In-Roadway Warning Light System Overview Presentation
7. KEEP AT IT!
Be persistent and don't give up until the problem is solved.