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Chapel Hill leaders hope to get the community’s help to reach their goal of no roadway deaths and injuries

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Todd Harris
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Chapel Hill Police Department
A Chapel Hill police patrol car is parked near recent construction on roadway.

The town of Chapel Hill and its police department want to prevent all traffic and pedestrian-related deaths by 2031.

The Chapel Hill Police Department has a series of traffic-safety initiatives planned for this month, including continued efforts to eliminate all transportation and pedestrian-related deaths and injuries by 2031.

It's called “Vision Zero,” and it was adopted by the town's council as a resolution in 2021. Todd Harris, a lieutenant with the Chapel Hill Police Department, said there are typically less crashes and fatalities on roadways, when law enforcement monitors them.

“It's the times that you're not around that we want to really hone in on [like], why does this continue to happen,'' he said. “So, we're trying to look at that a little bit more inclusive to everyone who may use that roadway.”

Some ways to cut down on injuries and deaths on roadways could include putting sidewalks in places that currently don't have them and putting bike lanes in places that don't exist.

Harris said the department wants to make everyone safe by any means necessary, but traffic safety takes community effort.

“It's an everyone problem,” he said. “And, for us to be successful, everyone has to, you know, be a stakeholder in this and realize that I have a part to play.”

Harris suggested that one way to do that is by being patient when there is construction on the road although it's inconvenient.

Sharryse Piggott is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow.
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