RAPID CITY, S.D. — Some residents are calling for safety improvements for pedestrians along a busy, four-lane thoroughfare in Rapid City.
Six pedestrians have been struck by a car in the past five years in the area of Haines Avenue, which sees 20,000 cars a day, the Rapid City Journal reported. Figures from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety show that there have been 158 pedestrian accidents in Rapid City since 2012.
Residents have been calling for action to improve pedestrian safety in the area at recent Rapid City Council meetings. The city placed two digital radar speed limit signs to notify drivers of their current speed in the area on Thursday.
Resident Jenny Robertson has collected more than 70 signatures for a petition requesting a crosswalk sign, overhead pedestrian bridge, a reduced speed limit, school crossing sign, installation of an island in the median and/or increased street lighting.
Robertson witnessed the aftermath of an accident that killed a pedestrian crossing the thoroughfare in November.
Steve Frooman, the city’s traffic engineer, said the situation is “complicated.” Frooman said installing street lighting would require moving utilities below ground. He said that reducing the speed limit would be the easiest but least effective solution.
Rapid City Police Captain James Johns believes better education is the answer, not increased enforcement. He said speed isn’t a factor in the crashes.
“The factor is we have pedestrians that are out in the roadway where they should not be, and they get hit by a car,” Johns said.
Frooman said installing a crosswalk near the intersection seems like the likely solution. “We have not made up our minds yet,” he said.