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New crosswalk installed at dangerous intersection in west Charlotte

In the last five years, two people have died trying to cross the road near the area Walmart.
In the last five years, two people have died trying to cross the road near the area Walmart.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:12 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 7, 2022 at 6:55 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A new pedestrian crosswalk over Wilkinson Boulevard in west Charlotte aims to keep pedestrians safer.

In the last five years, two people have died trying to cross the road near the area Walmart.

Related: Wilkinson Boulevard shut down after pedestrian struck

At the entrance to Walmart, the two closest crosswalks are at Remount Road, which is almost a mile in one direction, and Old Steele Creek Road, which is about half a mile in the other direction.

The new crosswalk would split the difference, taking people right to this busy shopping center and hopefully discouraging people from running across six lanes of traffic.

It’s not operational just yet. Duke Energy hooked up power to the crosswalk on Wednesday and WBTV is waiting to hear from the city about when the covers to the signals will be removed. Then, the traffic lights will flash for about a week so drivers can get used to the change. Finally, they’ll switch over and when a pedestrian presses the button to activate the crosswalk the traffic light will turn red and the people on foot will be able to cross.

WBTV spent a morning out here and saw a handful of people dashing between cars, trying to find gaps in the traffic.

According to Watch For Me NC, the state’s pedestrian and cyclist safety program, North Carolina is one of the least safe states in the U.S. for walking and biking.

On average, 160 pedestrians and 20 cyclists are killed each year accounting, for 15% of all traffic deaths, data from Watch For Me NC states.

According to Watch For Me NC, the state's pedestrian and cyclist safety program, North Carolina...
According to Watch For Me NC, the state's pedestrian and cyclist safety program, North Carolina is one of the least safe states in the U.S. for walking and biking.(Source: Watch For Me NC / WBTV)

People hit at a speed of 40 miles an hour have an 85% chance of dying. Wilkinson Boulevard’s speed limit is 45 miles an hour.

The city of Charlotte hopes this new crosswalk will help them achieve its goal of having zero traffic deaths by the year 2030.

“Clearly, there is a need to address because if there are fatalities there is also the risk that people are crossing safely but with near miss conditions and I don’t like that,” Angela Berry, Charlotte’s safety program manager, said. “So that’s why I program as many pedestrian safety projects as I can with the money I get.”

The crosswalk is on Wilkinson Boulevard near the Walmart.

Dianeshia Ferguson, who walks along Wilkinson Boulevard five days a week, said the new crosswalk will make her feel way safer than she does right now.

“It’s kind of scary sometimes. As you can see it’s really busy right now so even when I’m getting off at six o’clock and it’s super busy so I’m in and out in the traffic so it’s pretty scary sometimes,” Ferguson said.

City officials said it was a pedestrian tip that led them to build this crosswalk. They rely on the community to notify them of places just like this that need extra safety measures.

Anyone can make a request; all they have to do is get onto the city’s website and search ‘new traffic signal request.’

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