Amid rising pedestrian injuries, Medical District looks to improve walking safety

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Twenty pedestrians have died so far in Memphis in 2017 after being hit by vehicles on city streets. Now, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) is launching a new campaign to increase awareness in the Memphis Medical District.

New signs have been added all along the Medical District aimed at getting everyone--both drivers and walkers--to stay focused. 

"Some people will pay attention to it, and some won't. But something needed to be done," said Cindy Hale, who works in the district.

The message is one those who work and attend school in the medical district told WMC Action News 5 is long overdue.

"Even if cars are far away, when they see you crossing, it seems like they want to speed up," said Ashley Taylor, a Medical District student. 

In Memphis, 471 pedestrian hit reports were filed in 2015. By 2016, the number increased to 480. So far in 2017, the number is at 224. Twenty of those pedestrians were fatally injured.

The MMDC kicked off the initiative last week, calling it an effort to cut serious pedestrian injuries and any fatalities in the district by 2020.

Leaders said the number of people living in the area along with the number of businesses are expected to increase in the next few years, and that's
why the campaign is so important.

The MMDC said drivers should watch speed, cut distractions, and keep an eye out for pedestrians, and they're encouraging pedestrians to cross
the street at intersections, in crosswalks, and by using traffic signals.

"I think they should push for people to use the crosswalks more too especially," Joseph Whitaker, a new UTHSC dentistry student, said.

Innovate Memphis will also be holding a meeting on pedestrian safety Thursday night.  It starts at 6 p.m. at Emerge Memphis at 516 Tennessee Street.

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