While parking lot pedestrian collisions are geographically distributed throughout the County, most are occurring in private retail parking lots. In 2012, 95 percent of the pedestrian collisions occurred in parking lots rather than garages.
To find ways to bring safety messages directly to drivers and pedestrians in parking lots, the County has partnered with retail property managers and owners. The partners are featured on the County’s website and include: Carl M. Freeman Companies; Dawson’s Market; Edens, Germantown Commons; Federal Realty; Foulger-Pratt; the Green Turtle; H & R Retail Inc.; JBG Rosenfeld Retail; Kramer Enterprises; Lakeforest, Urban Retail Properties, LLC; Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Parking Management; The Peterson Companies; Saul Centers; The Tower Companies; and WRIT, Washington Real Estate Investment Trust.
“Because most of the parking lot pedestrian collisions are occurring in retail parking lots, we have reached out to property managers and owners for their help in educating shoppers,” said Leggett. “Their response has been enthusiastic, and I want to sincerely thank them for their willingness to participate in this partnership to reduce needless injuries.”
Leggett’s expansion of his original Pedestrian Safety Initiative is titled: Pedestrian Safety Initiative: Reducing Collisions in Parking Lots and Garages. The strategic plan recommends five strategies to reduce parking lot and garage collisions:
- Strategy 1: Identify Research on Parking Lot Pedestrian Safety
- Strategy 2: Forge Partnerships
- Strategy 3: Conduct Detailed Analysis of Montgomery County Pedestrian Parking Lot Collision Data
- Strategy 4: Develop Pedestrian Safety Improvement Strategies for Lots/Garages
- Strategy 5: Engage and Educate the Public
Leggett’s original Pedestrian Safety Initiative, released in December 2007, outlined an approach to pedestrian and traffic safety that focused on three essential components: education, engineering and enforcement. The initiative significantly enhanced the County’s investment in educating motorists and pedestrians, keeping enforcement efforts visible and intensive, and aggressively applying the most innovative and pedestrian-friendly road engineering designs.
Some of the achievements of the initiative comparing three year averages before and after implementation are:
- Reducing pedestrian collisions by seven percent.
- Reducing by 21 percent the most severe collisions that incapacitate or kill pedestrians
- Reducing collisions by 50 percent in areas where traffic calming measures have been installed.
- Reducing collisions by 43 percent In High Incidence Areas (HIAs), locations with the highest concentrations of collisions.
- Reducing collisions by 79 percent within a quarter mile of schools targeted for engineering, education and enforcement activities under the Safe Routes to Schools program.
The new Heads Up in Parking Lots campaign offers the following safety tips:
Drivers: Don’t run over people
- Don’t drive distractedly – it’s illegal to hold a phone or text while driving
- Don’t assume pedestrians see you
- Be especially cautious backing out of a space
- Slow down. Parking lots are not speedways
Pedestrians: Don’t get run over
- Stop talking on the phone and texting while walking. Take out the ear buds
- Don’t assume drivers see you
- Don’t walk behind a vehicle that is backing out
- Be aware and constantly look out for moving vehicles.