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Macon-Bibb to increase pedestrian safety budget for 2023

Mayor Lester Miller announced his plan after the sixth pedestrian death of the year.

MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb Mayor Lester Miller says pedestrian safety should be a priority, so he decided to increase that portion of his proposed 2023 county budget.

The mayor plans to raise it from $100,000 to $500,000. It's even more money that could be added to the already heavily public safety-influenced budget.

Gabrielle Isreal works at the Chevron on Gray Highway.

"This is a very busy highway. Lots of pedestrians -- mostly homeless, but there are a lot of teenagers that walk around here," Isreal said.

From her cash register, she watches cars race down the road. Isreal says she sees it all, including about five car accidents. None of them involved pedestrians, she said, but she does worry for people crossing the street.

"Most times when I look out this window, I see people running their fastest across the road, and people are not taking account for these pedestrians," Isreal said, "Which is understandable because you're not supposed to cross the highway."

Gregory Brown with Macon-Bibb's Pedestrian Safety Review Board says Gray Highway is one area where they see a lot of incidents. Pio Nono Avenue is another road he says can be dangerous.

"State Road 247 is another area," Brown said.

He says six people have died in pedestrian accidents this year. Brown says the mayor's new budget would help them install lights and other safety features on Macon's busiest roads.

"It can improve areas where there could be gaps in sidewalks. When I say gaps, I mean, there could be a dirt path where someone could be walking," Brown said.

He says they also plan to work with the Georgia Department of Transportation to make improvements easier on state roads.

Brown says another focus for the board is on education. One of their main tips: always wear bright colors when crossing the road.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has some other pedestrian tips. They say you should always follow all the rules of the road, as well as signs and signals. They also recommend staying alert at all times, and avoiding looking down at your phone. If you need to cross and there's no crosswalk, they say to walk to a well lit area, and wait for a break in the traffic to cross.

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