Charleston group mapping ‘close calls’ at intersections to improve safety

VIDEO: Charleston group mapping "close calls" at intersections to improve safety

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston-based nonprofit group is working on a new initiative with the Charleston Police Department to increase pedestrian safety at city intersections.

The group will work to map “close calls” between drivers and people on bikes and on foot at intersections in Charleston.

Charleston Moves will collect data to identify “hot spots,” which will be sent to CPD.

The goal is to identify priority intersections to be flagged for increased enforcement and possibly better infrastructure in the future.

Since the program began last week, Charleston Moves has already had about 60 people submit incidents where they were involved in a “close call” at an intersection, according to Executive Director Katie Zimmerman.

“When you have a several-ton vehicle almost hit you, that’s definitely scary,” Charleston biker Marijana Boone said.

Boone has been riding her bike through downtown Charleston since she moved here six years ago. Her daughter is usually riding on the bike with her, so she has to be extra cautious.

“I’m always looking two, three blocks ahead and behind me, in all directions to make sure that I don’t get in an accident," Boone said.

Boone hasn’t been in an accident before, but she’s had plenty of close calls.

Zimmerman said the project will identify data that police don’t have access to already because police reports aren’t filed for “close calls."

“Most people did not report it to police and most people did not report it to a medical professional,” Zimmerman said.

This initiative comes after officials with the Charleston Police Department said in November that there have been more than 120 traffic deaths since 2008—more than twice the national average.

During that news conference, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said the city has seen an increase in traffic deaths every year since 2012.

Charleston Police also announced the addition of 10 new officers to help with traffic enforcement in November as a response to the high number of traffic deaths.

People can submit “close call” incidents through this link by March 4.

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