Preparing to create roads safer, more pedestrian friendly

By Jillian Marshall

June 26, 2014 Updated Jun 26, 2014 at 7:46 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A regional study is taking steps to make the Southern Tier healthier and safer on the roads.

Children growing up today have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, partially due to road design, according to public health, planning and transportation consultant Mark Fenton.

Fenton spoke in front of the Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study's policy and planning committee Thursday morning.

He linked the lack of crosswalks and bike lanes to the reason why children are more prone to health issues as they grow older.

Fenton travels across the country to help build communities that support a healthier, more active lifestyle.

He has a plan for the layout of Binghamton streets.

"We can actually redesign it so it's safer for cars, but also room for bicycle lanes on each side, and safer for pedestrians to cross because if we put occasional islands in the middle, it not only slows traffic, but those become refuges for pedestrians crossing the street," Fenton said.

BTMS talked about ways to make road construction and changes conducive throughout every city, town and village in the Southern Tier.

It's all part of planning for the 'complete streets' policy.

"If we're going to put in a new crosswalk, everyone would use the same design. They would all put in the ladder crosswalks that are high visibility. They would put the same type of signing," director of BTMS Cyndy Paddick said.

Paddick said a designated group will come up with the policy, which is expected to take six to nine months to complete.

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