Charlotte launches sidewalk safety awareness campaign - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte launches sidewalk safety awareness campaign

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

At least once a week, every neighborhood in Charlotte deals with roll-out trash carts, bulky items and yard waste blocking sidewalks.

"We know people don't do it maliciously. If someone is just trying to put yard waste out, recycling out - they're just trying to get that task done", says Keith Richardson of the City of the Charlotte Corporate Communication and Marketing Office.

Starting in February, the city will roll out a $25,000 campaign of radio and print ads to raise awareness of sidewalk obstruction.

Richardson says "we want to show common uses of sidewalks and things people undergo when they have to navigate around obstruction."

The first phase of the campaign, which will run through June, will have web ads, inserts placed in water bills, and ads on solid waste vehicles to create a "moving billboard" effect.

Richardson says 'we want to create an engaging campaign, a sort of fun campaign - but one that has a serious message to keep sidewalks safe."

The issue hit home in Charlotte last May when Andrew Wright was riding his bicycle to school. The 14 year old was on Sharon Lane, where he encountered  some roll out trash carts blocking the sidewalk.

Police say Wright was trying to navigate around the cart when his bike's handle hit one of the carts. The Myers Park High School student fell onto the road - a delivery truck hit and killed him.

The City's Solid Waste Services is counting on the campaign to educate residents.

"So it's just about awareness," says Charita Curtis. "They might not be aware that they are to place items away from the sidewalks - and we can still collect those."

The city says "nothing should be on the sidewalk blocking traffic."

Roll out carts, bulky items, and yard waste should be left on the planting strip between the street and the sidewalk.

Curtis says "if you have that planting strip you can place them in your yard because our trucks have the arms that actually extend out to collect those items."

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