Tribune Review: Southwestern Pa. Commission to look for ways to reduce traffic deaths in Allegheny County

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission has received $520,000 in federal funding to develop a plan to make streets safer in Allegheny County, which is coming off its deadliest traffic year in nearly two decades.

Last year, Allegheny County saw 84 traffic fatalities, the most since 2005, according to PennDOT. After a dip in road fatalities in 2020 when the region was in lockdown for months due to the pandemic, traffic fatalities have been increasing.

The funding will allow the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to create a plan for Allegheny County that focuses on infrastructure and policy changes to help reduce traffic fatalities.

U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-Swissvale, said the funding is a good first step in making the region safer for all road users, including motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

“We are taking a huge step towards identifying and rectifying the most hazardous areas in our community,” she said.

Pedestrian safety has become a pressing issue in Pittsburgh. There were 16 pedestrian deaths in Allegheny County in 2022, the highest number since 2017, according to PennDOT.

Along with Lee, U.S. Rep Chris Deluzio, D-Aspinwall, and U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and John Fetterman, D-Braddock, advocated for the road safety funding. Fetterman has also introduced a bill to help expedite funding to municipalities that have already planned out road safety projects.

Allegheny County has consistently led all Pennsylvania counties with traffic crashes. In 2022, the county recorded 11,524 crashes, which amounted to about 10% of all crashes in the state. After a dip in 2020, crashes have been increasing in Allegheny County, but have yet to eclipse pre-pandemic figures.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission covers the entire 10-county Pittsburgh region. Officials said the commission plans to expand road safety planning beyond Allegheny County after completing the county-specific plan first.

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