The sun shone brightly over The Plains on Friday, as local officials and campus representatives met to discuss traffic and pedestrian safety in the community.
Travel With Care, a local organization that emphasizes the importance of intersection safety, kicked off their Know When to Go "Intersection Interactions" campaign at one of the most iconic intersections in the state of Alabama — Toomer's Corner.
The Travel With Care program has made itself known in the last few weeks with the appearance of Know When to Go posters and signs at various intersections both on and around campus. The mission of Travel With Care is to urge "awareness and understanding to make intersection interactions safer throughout the City of Auburn and Auburn University campus."
Speakers and guests at Friday's event included Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, City Manager Jim Buston, Auburn University Executive Vice President Don Large, Auburn Police Chief Paul Register, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones and Auburn University Campus Safety Director Chance Corbett.
The mayor praised the initiative for its work in bringing intersection safety awareness to the Auburn community.
"This is not just a campaign of rhetoric, this is about saving lives," Ham said.
Speakers emphasized not only pedestrian safety, but cyclist safety as well.
According to City of Auburn statistics, 66 percent of all reported accidents in 2016 occurred on or near an intersection. Eighty-seven percent of all accidents involved a pedestrian and 57 percent of all accidents involved a cyclist.
This week, Auburn City Council approved a contract with the bike share program to bring more bikes and more locations to the Auburn area. The War Eagle Bike Share program began on campus in fall 2016, and since then, more than 62,000 miles have been logged by 9,000 riders on more than 72,000 rides during the 2016–2017 academic year.
Auburn University was the first university in the state to be recognized as a bicycle friendly campus. It received the Silver Award in 2015 from the League of American Bicyclists.
Jones encouraged community members to pay attention. "Be aware of your surroundings, keep your eyes open, know the rules, and be safe," he said.
This is Travel With Care's 11th year of this campaign, and organizers said that it gets bigger and better every year.
Officials will be present on campus and in the community Sept. 9–15, at multiple Know When to Go events. The full schedule of visitations and events is listed on the Travel With Care website.