Pushing the Safety Agenda Further
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s a theme that came up several times during this week’s Mobility Safety Forum. And runners participating and connecting through this series of safety-centered meet-ups hope that “grease” takes the form of greater interest in the issue, and more action from policymakers and constituents themselves.
Yes, the Mobility Safety Forum is the evolution of the runner safety forum that’s worked to keep this issue front-and-center for nearly two years. The name change acknowledges that runners aren’t the only users concerned with safety on the roads, trails, sidewalks, or greenways. It aligns with the City of Charlotte’s aim to offer everyone, “safe and equitable mobility choices.” Forum organizers say it also speaks to the connections the movement is making beyond the running community.
“Relationships are everything,” said Jesus Delatorre, who has taken a leadership role in the Forum. “It kind of proves out in our relationship with the city, to be able to widen our focus so we can work on our shared goals together.”
Delatorre says he expects the Forum to grow its partnership with other groups like Sustain Charlotte and Vision Zero; which could bring additional resources, expertise, and connections to the effort.
Forum organizers shared details on a pilot project to add solar-powered lights along some sections of greenway, and a meeting with Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem, Danté Anderson. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Ronald Hill reminded the dozen-plus runners in the room about personal safety, situational awareness, and the importance of calling 9-1-1 – even if they’re just suspicious of something or someone along their running route.
“As a female runner, I feel like I’m always running ‘on guard’,” said Christine Turner. “As a coach, I want to be able to share information with my clients, and as a mom who’s raising kids who are getting into running, I want to be able to teach them some best practices, too.”
Up next, Forum leadership will address Charlotte City Council during the public speaking portion of Council’s Monday, February 26 meeting. That meeting is at 630pm at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. (600 E. 4th Street) Charlotte runners and friends are asked to show their support in-person. No registration requirements or speaking; just be present.
“Everyone has a vested interest in mobility safety,” added Lisa Landrum, one of the Forum organizers. “We want to thank them (City Council) for the work they are doing to make it safer for everyone… and it’s pretty powerful when there’s a crowd of people behind those speakers.”
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