City of Greenville looking for input on pedestrian spaces as new NHTSA data shows high pedestrian death rate in SC

Pedestrian safety is top of mind for everyone from neighbors to Highway Patrol to the City of Greenville, as new data shows it's a larger issue in SC.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 3:36 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina ranks number 8 in the country for pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. That’s according to new data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

The numbers put the state 55% above the national average.

This news comes as the city of Greenville is running a pedestrian safety study, where they’re looking for your input on what roads could be safer with improvements.

“For sure didn’t want the kids walking on Augusta--because of the safety issues,” said Greenville resident Chris Mercurio.

We caught up with him in his neighborhood just off Augusta Road walking his dog.

“Actually had a brother in law pass away in a traffic accident,” Mercurio told FOX Carolina. “So it’s at the top of our minds, and it can happen very suddenly. So you always have to be aware.”

Mercurio tells us he’s lived off Augusta Road for 7 years now. That street has been the subject of many community meetings and changes recently.

Based on his experience, Chris says the new stats on pedestrian deaths in South Carolina aren’t that much of a shock.

“Kinda sad. Not too surprised though, given the traffic situation,” he said.

Corporal Joel Hovis says that with summer on the horizon, Highway Patrol is preparing for many more cars on the road, and people travelling through the state.

“It’s pretty much all hands on deck for the South Carolina Highway Safety Patrol,” Hovis said. “We’ll be looking for those folks who are speeding, driving distracted--whether it may be texting and driving or something else--and people need to wear their seatbelt.”

He also adds: there isn’t one particular reason for increased pedestrian deaths over the last several years, but does say distracted driving plays a role. He says it’s important to avoid distractions, like noise-cancelling headphones, when out walking. He also adds--use common sense.

“Make sure you’re walking as far as you can off the roadway, but also facing traffic,” the SCHP officer said.

Finally, the City of Greenville wants your help.

A public survey is currently open on their website, where they want you to identify areas that aren’t safe to walk. It’s something neighbors like Chris hope helps out.

“I think the improvements that they’ve done have helped,” he said. “It was getting pretty bad.”

You can see the announcement from the city of Greenville about the pedestrian safety study currently being done here:

That page will then lead you to the actual survey, where you can click on a virtual map to pinpoint exact locations where you think walking is unsafe, and where improvements should be made. Check it out here: