R1 Planning Council receives $400k grant for traffic safety

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 6:22 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Rockford, Winnebago and Boone counties can look forward to safer roads and a possible reduction in fatal crashes.

The total allotment is a $400,492 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and supporters say it has the potential to change our lives.

More than 42,000 people died in car crashes in 2021, according to BankRate.com. Our region had it’s share of them, but now the R1 Planning Council could improve traffic safety with a new grant.

“We have seen over the past few years an increase in the number of fatalities and serious injuries caused by crashes on the roadways,” said Sydney Turner, who is the director of regional planning with R1.

She says this traffic safety plan will make it easier to address the causes behind such fatal crashes and come up with a plan to prevent them.

“Is there issues with the geometry of the roadway or is it something that is more of an enforcement or educational component and really trying to determine what type of crash it is,” said Turner.

Turner says the organization will work with police departments and emergency responders on the concerns they face related to traffic incidents. She also says R1 will help Boon County formulate plans to better traffic issues.

“Increasing sidewalks or things of that nature that can maybe help address some of those issues,” she said.

Officials with the Winnebago County Sheriffs Department explain the top four causes of crashes or fatalities.

“Speeding, distracted driving, DUI (alcohol/drugs) and no seatbelt.”

As were all users of the roadways and streets. Safety is something that we should all be aware of and that it’s going to take a large amount of people to really make sure our roads are safe for all,” said Turner.

She says even though they only just received the grant, the organization is already looking at transportation safety solutions. Their hope is to start phase one in the next six-to-eight months and phase two of bringing the ideas to life can begin in two years.