RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News is taking action and uncovering dozens of road signs installed around the City of Richmond have been heavily damaged. The signs were put up to get drivers to stop for pedestrians.
But instead, drivers are hitting the signs.
Seventy-four of these ‘stop for pedestrians’ signs were installed in 55 high incident locations around the Richmond area.
Less than a year later, 8News, along with Michael, who has been tracking the destruction on his Twitter account “Doll Baby superfan,” found almost all of the signs have been completely destroyed, ripped up or badly damaged.
Jason Roberts and Nada Benkirane, who both frequently take their kids for a stroll in Richmond, said it’s scary.
“Before you reach, they like speed through it,” Benkirane said. “They just run it.”
Benkirane said some drivers will look right at you and race through the crosswalk.
“I usually don’t even attempt it because I not sure if anyone is going to stop or not,” Roberts said.
Richmond City Councilman Andreas Addison says the damage to signs is proof pedestrians are facing serious challenges on city streets. The councilman is introducing a measure to City Council to look at this issue further. He said the approach has to go beyond traffic signs and traffic calming measures.
“We have a driver behavior problem,” said Addison. “To me, we need to look at holistically how we are structuring our streets.”
But Richmond Director of Public Works Bobby Vincent said with every hit drivers become more aware that they need to stop, and despite all the missing signs he says this campaign is working.
“When they strike one of those signs, it reminds them,” said Vincent. “They are definitely working. We had approximately a 25% reduction in pedestrian related crashes in the city,”
Four pedestrians died last year on Richmond roads according to state crash data.
The signs are $400 a piece but were purchased with federal dollars, DPW plans to replace the signs that were destroyed after this winter.