One of the smaller Walk Friendly Communities, Davidson, NC, with a population just over 10,000 people, is a lakeside college town which proudly prioritizes pedestrian safety. After a couple of tragic pedestrian crashes in 2011, the town decided to focus resources on improving pedestrian safety through infrastructure countermeasures.
First steps included providing orange safety flags at twelve of the town’s crosswalks. Efforts were stepped up as Davidson partnered with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Safe Routes to School Program to fund the installation of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at four crossings near a school, around their Griffith Street Roundabout, and at the intersection of Davidson Concord Road and Robert Walker Drive, near an athletic park. Installation was accompanied by an education campaign via local media and Davidson Police.
Researchers at Texas A&M University chose to include Davidson among 128 additional locations in an extensive study of the beacons, and motorist compliance in the town was high. NCDOT is also closely monitoring Davidson’s RRFB program as a pilot for methods that can be used in other locations around the state. Davidson has received positive feedback from their community, and they have already allocated funding for five more RRFBs around town, to be installed by the end of 2016.
Davidson has also recently installed several reverse angle parking spots near a new residential development. Video education spots featuring Town of Davidson Planner Director David Burdette have been distributed online. This month will also see the installation of a bicycle and pedestrian counter in Davidson as part of the NC Non-Motorized Volume Data Program.
Efforts in Davidson are not going unrecognized. The American Planning Association recently honored Main Street in Davidson as one of five Great Streets, along with streets in Coeur d’Alene, ID, Ketchum, ID, Albuquerque, NM and Arthur Ave in the Bronx, NY. We look forward to what Davidson does next!