January 20 – The Chambersburg Police Department has announced an initiative to caution, warn and advise the public of how to be safe in the downtown area.
Chambersburg Police Lieutenant Jon Greenawalt said, “All public safety concerns are our concerns.”
CPD will be releasing public service announcements throughout 2023 to address topics such as pedestrian safety, aggressive driving, school bus traffic safety, securing unattended vehicles, porch pirates, bikes and skateboards in the downtown area and targeted traffic enforcement details.
These announcements are reminders about public safety and ways to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
After a recent pedestrian accident in downtown Chambersburg that took the life of Bernandino Lopez-Chum, it’s important for citizens to be aware of what can happen.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “People have it in their mind, I’d imagine that okay, here’s a crosswalk, I have full reign. It is my right to just walk into traffic. I think that’s something that you’re battling right now that is not the case.”
Greenawalt said, “It’s creating tragic results when people are getting struck by motor vehicles and that’s a big concern for us.”
Ryan asked, “Why do you think that is? Is it just something that’s lost a generation? Look left, look right and that’s a big, fat car coming your way. You’re going to lose even though you think you have the right.”
Greenawalt suggested, “In our current state of our use of technology, we’re glued to our cell phones, we have our earbuds in. We’re kind of looking at our cell phone walking down the street, maybe have our ear buds in and we can’t hear the traffic around us. We’re just kind of oblivious to it. That can certainly be a contributor.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “You know one that is a particular problem is the crosswalk by Corpus Christi Church and School because the crosswalk itself goes to the little, middle triangle island that then you have to cross either side of the other street. Nobody uses it. I can tell you. I go to Corpus Christi. We all come out, we all cross down from there because walking up there, crossing over to that little middle island and then crossing another street doesn’t seem like something I’m going to do.”
The PSA on pedestrian safety gives tips like don’t cross mid-block and don’t cross between cars that are parked in the block because the oncoming traffic can’t see you. Go to the crosswalk, obey the signals, watch the opposing lights and make sure traffic is stopped before you enter a crosswalk.
Jansen said, “It’s up to us to know where those are and pay attention as drivers, but I know myself sometimes with no intention of doing anything wrong, I’m just driving, I’m not thinking, for a second I’ll forget that there’s a crosswalk by Texas Lunch. So it does behoove the pedestrians to be aware.”
Ryan said, “Just because you hit the button and I have the right. What is the law? If that pedestrian is struck walking across the crosswalk.”
Greenawalt said, “Often times as we investigate these incidents with struck pedestrians, it’s overwhelmingly the pedestrian’s fault. A motor vehicle in a roadway has the right of way in mid-block. Pedestrians have the right of way in a properly marked crosswalk.
If a driver runs a traffic light, the driver would be at fault, but pedestrians also have to obey signals as well.
Greenawalt said, “We talk about driving defensively and being on the alert, well we need to walk defensively when we’re in congested areas as well.”
Other announcements will discuss the issue of porch pirates.
Greenawalt said, “When you get your Amazon delivery, make sure you have a plan to either have it monitored or a friend or neighbor to pick it up so it doesn’t get taken. A big one, bikes and skateboards in the downtown area. That has been a repeated issue, so we made one specifically for that. There is a downtown area that you are prohibited from riding your bicycle or skateboard on the sidewalk.”
Eventually all the public service announcements will be on YouTube and the CPD website.
To see the pedestrian safety PSA, click here: https://franklin.crimewatchpa.com/chambersburgpd/21193/post/cpd-public-service-announcement-pedestrian-safety