COVINGTON, Ky. — A Northern Kentucky traffic-safety program will award up to $50,000 to community groups that make the most convincing case their streets aren’t safe enough.
The NKY Vision Zero task force, part of an international network focused on preventing traffic deaths, launched its Slow Streets Project contest Tuesday in Covington.
According to Matt Butler, special projects chair for parent group the Devou Good Foundation, the last nine years have seen 241 traffic deaths on Northern Kentucky streets and 17,459 injuries.
“A lot of things are competing for drivers’ attention,” said NKY Vision Zero task force co-chair Jeremy Worley. “You have the cell phone, you have the radio, you have advertisement after advertisement on the streets, you have street lights and things that are constantly distracting for drivers.”
Thoughtfully designed infrastructure can help tear their attention away from those distractions and protect others in the process, he said. Worley and other traffic safety advocates believe reducing those numbers in the future can be as simple as installing raised crosswalks, new signs, extended curbs and speed bumps to make drivers slow down.
“A lot of times, the design for a road before was, ‘We neeed to get as many cars through here as possible,’” he said. “What we’re finding out is, the future of economic development — the future of cities where people want to locate — is they want walkability, they want liveability. If a street was previously designed to get as many cars through as possible, that may not be the most friendly option for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Community groups can nominate their neighborhood for improvements by submitting an application that:
- Identifies the specific problem, such as speeding, cars blocking pedestrian crossings or drivers not yielding to pedestrians
- Demonstrates community support in the form of a petition or letters from other nearby groups
- Lays out detailed ways to address their problems at specific locations, such as building sidewalk extensions and mini-roundabouts
Up to three groups can win a portion of the $50,000 pot in July.
According to Vision Zero, the road improvements should be implemented by the end of 2020.
For more information, visit the contest's website.