LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)-Pedestrian deaths in Lexington are up to nine this year. It is the second deadliest year for pedestrians in the last 20 years. The total hit nine Thursday night after 39-year-old Julius Zah died. Police say a car hit him on Winchester Road. Traffic officials say they are not making any immediate changes in response to the deaths.
A manager at the traffic division says it is hard to explain why there have been more pedestrian deaths this year, but he says for the last few years, the city has been working on improving pedestrian safety.
Several of the people killed this year were wearing dark clothing and were not walking on sidewalks or crosswalks. The manager I spoke to says educating walkers and drivers is just one part of keeping people safe.
To walk or not to walk is a question some people in Lexington are thinking unusually hard about lately.
Signal Systems Manager in Lexington, David Filiatreau, says the city has been making improvements for several years.
“It’s difficult to say really why that it’s been going on. We’re just going to continue. Maybe push harder for improved access, improved education, and improved enforcement,” David Filiatreau said.
Filiatreau is one of the people in charge of Lexington’s traffic lights. He says keeping pedestrians alive comes down to three Es: education, engineering, and enforcement.
He says city officials are constantly trying to improve all three, starting with a group meeting every month to discuss pedestrian safety.
He also says over the last two years the mayor and the council have approved pedestrain safety funding to pay for crossings and signals like these.
“So we can take on those projects and make improvements much more quickly than in years past,” Filiatreau said.
He says hundreds of people cross the street every day without harm, but it’s important for both drivers and walkers to be vigilant.
“Because that one time when you’re not fine it could be very serious,” Filiatreau said.
He also says this Spring the city will start a big education campaign for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, reminding everyone how to stay safe. Filiatreau says Lexington is upgrading its traffic signals so in the next couple years you will see a countdown everywhere there is a pedestrian signal.