• Nonprofit strives to make Charlotte safer for pedestrians, bike riders

    By: DaShawn Brown


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A female was struck and killed crossing the street Saturday night in east Charlotte.

    Pedestrians getting hit by vehicles has been a trending issue in the area.

    There have been multiple pushes for Charlotte officials to make the city a safer place for pedestrians and bike riders.

    For years, local nonprofit Sustain Charlotte has been working with officials to integrate safety features throughout the city.

    One area of focus has been the Plaza Midwood neighborhood. On Saturday night, 41-year-old Tiffany Monique Ray died after a driver hit her near Herrin Avenue.

    Police said Ray was wearing dark clothing and was not in a crosswalk or at an intersection.

    [READ MORE: Police identify pedestrian struck, killed in east Charlotte]

    Advocacy groups told Channel 9 that not enough is being done to protect pedestrians.

    Crossing the street in Charlotte can be a challenge, and a bit of a risk, according to neighbors who live or hang out in Plaza Midwood.

    “It's always really busy,” neighbor Drew Matthews said. “So I just walk over here and cross that way.”

    Last year, City Council members voted to spend more than $100,000 to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of Central and Claremont avenues. Officials said a traffic signal will be installed that tells people when to cross the road.

    Officials are also planning to begin construction on a new bike lane in the neighborhood later this year.

    [RELATED: Plaza Midwood business owners push for more crosswalks, additional parking]

    Kate Cavazza, a program director with Sustain Charlotte, said the safety initiatives could save lives.

    “That means more lighting, more crossings for pedestrians that aren't 4 miles apart to allow equal access for everybody to cross the street at safe opportunities,” Cavazza said.

    Sustain Charlotte also worked with the city to test bike lanes in uptown.

    [READ MORE: Charlotte DOT testing out bike lanes in uptown]

    The city has since hired a consultant to work on the project, which could be completed in the next two years.

    “As long as you stay on top of your game, and watch where you're going, and make sure you watch where they are coming and going, I always feel safe,” neighbor Chris Weitzel said.

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