June 3, 2009
CHARLESTON -- In Charleston County, approximately 30 children per year are struck by motor vehicles. Pedestrian injury remains the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 5 to 14 in the tri-county area. Most of these deaths were preventable.
Thanks to funding provided by the Fed-Ex Corporation, pedestrians and children who wish to safely cross the street at two of West Ashley's busiest intersections will be able to do so with the addition of four new solar, flashing pedestrian lights added to the West Ashley Greenway at Farmfield Ave. and at Markfield Drive. Two lights will be located on each street to make drivers more alert of pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the road.
"Safety is a core value at FedEx and the first consideration in all of our operations," said David Stapleton, FedEx Express senior manager. "We are proud to work with Safe Kids Walk This Way to help prevent pedestrian-related injury and death and educate the public about road safety here in the Trident Area and around the world."
The lights will also help to expand Safe Routes to School funding received by Stono Park Elementary, as well as further impact child pedestrians attending St Andrews School of Math and Science. Installation of the lights will take place during the summer and will be completed before students return for school in August.
"Pedestrian Safety is a priority for a livable and walkable city. The West Ashley Greenway is one of our valued assets which allows residents to walk and bike in a beautiful setting," said City of Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. "These crossing signals provide additional safety and are a clear sign that that City of Charleston is committed to pedestrian safety."
The Safe Kids Trident Area Pedestrian Safety Task Force was formed last summer. Preliminary data collected by the group determined there were many child and adult injuries and several deaths in the West Ashley area. The task force decided that adding onto other larger projects, such as Safe Routes to School, would most impact the beginning of grassroots efforts toward making Charleston safer for pedestrians. The intersections of the West Ashley Greenway at Markfield Drive and at Farmfield Avenue were identified as good locations for these flashers due to high traffic volumes and nearby schools with children walking or bicycling to and from school.
"Those children who are ready to walk alone, meaning those older than age 10, have benefited from even small environmental modifications in terms of decreased numbers of pedestrian injuries," said Kristen Wedding, Safe Kids Trident Area coordinator. "We [Safe Kids Trident Area] are excited to have this opportunity to make small changes to improve the safety for our child pedestrians in the West Ashley area. We are fortunate to be able to work with the City of Charleston and our local Fed Ex representatives on this grassroots effort for a more pedestrian friendly community."
About SafeKids Trident Area and MUSC Children's Hospital
Safe Kids Trident Area works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Trident Area is a member of Safe Kids USA, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Trident Area was founded in 1996 and is led by MUSC Children's Hospital.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com.