WARREN (Erie News Now) – For generations, parents have been teaching their children how to safely cross the street. Apparently, those instructions did not sink in for everyone. So, Warren Police have been working the crosswalks teaching people the fundamentals of walking.
Do not be surprised when you are crossing the street in Warren, a police officer comes up to you and starts giving you tips on how to walk safely. Officers are approaching pedestrians on Pennsylvania Avenue in the downtown area. According to Capt. Jeff Dougherty, they are focusing on the intersections with Hickory Street, Liberty Street, Market Street, and East Street.
“It’s based off data. Crash data. Stuff like that. Pedestrian involved data. Also complaints. We have pedestrians, even motorists, having complaints about pedestrians. That’s why we focus on these particular intersections,” he said.
The officers are not necessarily looking for those who break pedestrian laws. This is more of an educational campaign than an enforcement effort. The officers give pedestrians a pamphlet listing some basic tips on how to stay safe while crossing the street. For example…
“When you cross the street, make sure you make eye contact with the driver. Make sure you look both ways. Just don’t assume somebody is going to stop,” says Dougherty.
The pedestrian safety program is part of an $80,000 federal grant presented to communities in Warren, McKean, and Elk Counties. Officer Charlie Andersen, of the Conewango Township Police Department, says it can also be used for other safety programs to pay overtime for the officers.
“Improved driving enforcement, DUI, seat belts, which we term ‘Buckle Up, Click it or Ticket’, Aggressive driving,” he said.
Some people may think this is silly. They may think they know all the rules. But in Warren. pedestrians don’t seem to mind getting a refresher course on crossing the street.
“It’s been positive,” says Dougherty. “Warren is always a very positive community. The citizens like interacting with the police officers. So it’s been positive.”
Danelle Wilson of Warren, says she wouldn’t mind at all if she was stopped by police while walking downtown.
“I don’t think it hurts to have reminders out there. Everybody needs to be reminded to be safe.”
The pedestrian safety program started in Warren on July 5. It ends on August 6.