If you are city planner, town manager, or even a police officer, you know how important it is to have your town be as safe as possible for residents. Yet as crime continues to rise and funding for projects gets tougher to find each year, you may be wondering what can be done in your town. If so, here are five ideas you should consider that may make a tremendous difference in keeping your town’s residents safe and sound.
1- Lessen Urban Sprawl
While in years past you may have thought urban sprawl was a good thing and demonstrated how your town is growing, today’s city planners know that eliminating urban sprawl will make almost any area safer. This can be done by designing smaller blocks within neighborhoods and keeping housing as dense as possible, which reduces the need for automotive travel and decreases the chance of severe accidents.
2- Do a Street Light Audit
When you do a street light audit, you will be conducting an on-site investigation to determine not only whether your town has its streetlights placed properly to provide maximum lighting, but also whether they are the appropriate wattage for both pedestrians and drivers to see well at night. Along with this, you will also be studying whether or not the operational and maintenance costs associated with your street lights are consistent with towns that are of similar size.
3- Dedicated Pedestrian Space
In both large cities and smaller towns, having dedicated pedestrian spaces is becoming an increasingly popular way of making these areas safer for residents. If you decide to implement this measure for your town, these spaces will feature large amounts of sidewalk space, plazas where people can congregate, and be pedestrian-only areas, meaning no cars or other vehicles can enter. This has been done in New York City’s Times Square, resulting in more than a 25 percent reduction in vehicle-related accidents.
4- Emphasize Public Transit
One of the best ways you can make your town safer for residents is by having an excellent public transit system. By doing so, this takes many vehicles off the streets, which in turn will decrease the number of traffic accidents. In some cities around the world, traffic deaths and major injuries have been reduced by using public transit. To encourage more people to use public transit like buses, consider creating bus lanes and pedestrian crosswalks that are clearly marked.
5- Create Low-Speed Zones
If speeding has been a problem in certain parts of your town, consider examining these areas to see if they can be turned into low-speed zones. This can mean not only lowering the speed limit for certain streets, but also implementing such measures as speed bumps, curb extensions, raised pedestrian crossings, and roundabouts that force drivers to slow down prior to making turns.
Once you implement these measures and work with law enforcement to establish neighborhood watch programs and citizen education programs, you may be surprised to see just how quickly your town becomes much safer in so many ways.