Another deadly crash involving a pedestrian brings calls for more sidewalks, streetlights


Photo from scene on October 12, 2018

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A Friday morning accident killed another pedestrian, marking the fifth pedestrian fatality in just 10 days in Marion County.

The accident happened just before 5 a.m. on U.S. 40 near the airport. Alcohol is not suspected to be a factor. The driver, who remained on scene, told police the victim was in the middle of the road when he was hit.

This stretch of road has no sidewalks and no streetlights, something drivers in the area say could help prevent accidents just like this.

“You see the headlights, and then you just see them go off,” said Alexander Bolton as he described what he saw Friday morning.

Bolton works during the early morning hours delivering Indy Star newspapers. He was driving on his route when he saw the SUV hit the victim.

“I had to actually swerve to miss him myself,” Bolton said. “Even though I was five feet from him, I couldn’t see him.”

Bolton says it’s common to see pedestrians on this road, but it’s not easy.

“I talked to a couple of our other drivers. It’s common for people to walk right here. There’s gas stations, there’s places that you access by foot right here,” Bolton said. “There’s not a lot of streetlights and there’s normally a lot of people on bicycles, even if they have a little light on the back its still hard to see.”

In the past few weeks the city has begun rolling out phase two of “Operation Night Light.” So far, they’ve converted more than 3,200 streetlights to LED. They will then use the energy savings to install more lights across the city. IPL says the first set of new lights has just arrived; the utility is determining the best locations for them.

“It could have easily been prevented by streetlights,” Bolton said of the accident. “There’s a whole quarter of a mile, mile and half that has no light whatsoever.”

Just last week, the city rolled out a new transportation plan called “Indy Moves,” which among other things, focuses on pedestrian safety. According to the plan, motorists hit an average of one pedestrian a day in Indianapolis. The plan also says that 25 people were hit and killed while walking in 2017.

“People want a big focus on safety,” said Indy Moves Project Director Jennifer Wieland. “Safety was the value that was at the top of the list for people.”

The plan lists more than 450 potential projects, but the estimated cost of putting a sidewalk on every Indianapolis street is $1.6 billion. That means it will be a long time, if ever, that roads like U.S. 40 are addressed.

“Either way, going to work, going home, nobody deserves to die like that,” Bolton said

The Indy Moves plan includes five projects considered high priority, and two of them are in this general vicinity. You can read through the entire plan HERE. The city it still taking public comments on this plan until Oct. 22. You can click HERE to leave a comment.

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