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State and local officials launch pedestrian safety initiative

State and local officials launch pedestrian safety initiative

New funding for pedestrian safety and the "See Be Seen" campaign seek to protect pedestrians
State and local officials launch pedestrian safety initiative
Paul Karas, commissioner of the state DOT, speaks while standing on State Street in Schenectady.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — State and local officials gathered Monday to announce new grants and an awareness campaign for pedestrian safety. 

At a press conference on State Street in the CDTA Park & Ride parking lot — near one of the busiest intersections in the city — officials spoke about a new urgency to provide resources for safe passage across busy local roads. 

State Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said pedestrian deaths reached 344 statewide in 2013. The state's goal since then has been to reduce pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent, and preliminary numbers for 2017 indicate a roughly 25 percent drop, to 255. 

Stressing that there is more to be done, Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford appealed to residents' and motorists' shared pedestrian experience. 

"Everybody is a pedestrian at some point in their travels," Clifford said. 

Brian Viggiani, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, emphasized the "Three Es" of the "See Be Seen" campaign, which includes more than $1 million of funding for traffic safety statewide. 

"It's a bit of everything -- education, engineering, and enforcement," Viggiani said of the department's approach.  

Funding is planned for crossing guards, improved signage and crosswalk signals.

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