MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – Pedestrian safety has become a big conversation in Midland after 14-year-old Siah Ashlin Kearns was hit and killed while riding her scooter.
It’s been one month since the tragedy happened on January 1st of this year and now a traffic signal is being installed on Magellan and Mockingbird lane.
While this is one step toward improving pedestrian safety, what else is the city of Midland doing to increase safety on the streets?
“We’re actually focusing in on areas that were developed without sidewalks and developed without enough width or hike and bike trails, and trying to find ways to make improvements to these areas,” said the city of Midland’s engineering services director, Jose Ortiz.
Ortiz says the city is growing quickly and so it’s tough keeping up with demand for things like crosswalks and traffic signals. They’re currently going into older neighborhoods to figure out how to provide pedestrian facilities so areas can better handle this growth.
“We’re trying to provide areas for cyclists to have an area of the roadway and also communicate to drivers that this is an area for cyclists, so be prepared to navigate the road with cyclists,” said Ortiz.
Part of the way they’re working to implement this is through the city’s hike and bike trail plan adopted in 2014. Anytime new roadway projects come about they reference it to see if they can also install a bike lane or multi-use path.
In the coming years you can also expect to see busy areas around downtown become more walkable and accessible to all.
“We are trying to add more sidewalks. We’re also adding more handicap ramps at key locations to help pedestrians that do have a disability.”
As the city works to keep up with this rapid growth and quickly install more traffic signals and crosswalks, you’re asked to make safety on the streets a top priority.
“Just be aware of your surroundings. As a pedestrian, just keep in mind that vehicles may not see you. Folks that are driving vehicles, just keep an eye out for pedestrians. We have more pedestrians that are walking and folks that are riding bikes. So just be aware that you may see that and be willing to share the road with these individuals.”
Ortiz says they often hear about roads that need improvements from people who live around the area. If you’d like to submit a request you can do so on the city of Midland’s website.