Raleigh aims to make greenway trails safer with new RPD unit, more lighting, signage

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh greenway will soon see more lighting, signage and other safety upgrades.

This comes after someone murdered a man on a trail last year, along with recent reports of assaults and other incidents.

Raleigh police said in the past six months, the most common crimes on the greenway have been reported as larceny from motor vehicle (theft of valuables from a vehicle), miscellaneous – no offense/talk with Officer (usually to report suspicious activity) and damage to property (vehicle was damaged as a result of an attempted theft).

The city’s down about half their greenway volunteers right now that help direct people and have a presence on the pathways.

Now, RPD’s dedicating six officers and one sergeant to patrol and focus on the greenway, along with other safety measures.

The Jernigans hit the greenway trails almost daily.

“We’re retired and our daily exercise is to walk five miles,” said Phil Jernigan.

Those five miles are filled with more than just exercise.

“The nature, the beauty of the foliage, the birds, the wildlife,” said Rhonda Jernigan.

However, an unsolved murder of a Raleigh biker last year, along with other reports of assaults and crimes, put people on edge.

It led city councilors to look at what safety improvements are needed.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea. I’m ex-Air Force, so I always like to err on the side of safety,” said Maurice Williams, who exercises on the Greenway.

Nine tunnels along the Greenway aren’t lit. The city’s putting lights in them and making them operate 24/7.

They’re looking at what areas need improved sight visibility and more signage.

“I don’t come out here after dinner, after dusk, because it is really dark, a few more lights would be a little more helpful to get around the greenway and see where you are and what’s around you,” said Raleigh resident Krystyna Dixon.

The city said “the Lock, Take and Hide program” is the most successful campaign they’ve had against auto crimes and break-ins.

It’s reduced those reports by 85 percent.

The campaign focused on educating people with signs and other communication methods to lock their cars, take their keys, and hide their stuff.

They’re seeing what else they can implement to improve safety while working with other agencies and departments.

Walkers and runners said the safer, the better — especially as Raleigh keeps growing.

“A lot of people come out to the parks and greenways and bring their children and I think of course safety is a priority,” said Rhonda Jernigan.

They’re also looking at safety improvements when it comes to making trails smoother, and separating bikers and runners where they can.

One councilor also asked if they could look into getting cameras.

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