MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
With a report, last year showing Memphis with the third highest number of pedestrian deaths per capita, pleas for more pedestrian safety measures are being answered with new action from the city of Memphis.
“In response to that we are launching a safety and awareness campaign for walking and biking in the city,” Nicholas Oyler, the city’s bikeway and pedestrian program manager, said.
This awareness campaign will start with the city ramping up public service announcements about pedestrian safety.
Oyler said 83 people were killed while walking in Memphis in 2022, that’s nearly a 30% surge in just the past three years.
“Speed is the number one determinant in the severity of a crash,” Oyler said. “Streets are the only public space that really touch every neighborhood, that we all use almost without exception every day of our lives. No other public space can claim that.”
These PSAs are just the starting point. The city is also prioritizing safety and visibility by replacing all of its streetlights with brighter LED bulbs. It's also received a $600,000 grant that will be dedicated to studying how to better pinpoint which areas need the most immediate help to make walking safer.
“We also need to be investing more in our streets,” Oyler said. Designing and building safer streets for walking and biking and that also slow down drivers.”
The city says as these improvements are made, they'll be followed up with events and other activities at random intersections to raise additional safety awareness.