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Watch for Me NC in Greensboro

  • Watch for Me NC participant since: 2014
  • Population: 280,000
  • Lead agency: Greensboro Transportation Department


Photo: Transit advertisements on Greensboro buses. Credit: Streetlevel Media.

Greensboro is located in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region. The city has demonstrated a continued commitment to improving conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians in recent years. Since 2007, Greensboro has made improvements to bicycle and pedestrian safety through engineering improvements such as installation of bicycle lanes and through programming such as Bicycle Safety Month. The major focus areas for Greensboro’s Watch for Me NC program are downtown, around UNC-Greensboro, and near bus stops as the majority of the city’s pedestrian and bicycle crashes occur in these three areas.

Several organizations within Greensboro are responsible for the success of the city’s Watch for Me NC program. The Greensboro Department of Transportation is the lead agency for the initiative, but other Watch for Me NC partners include:

  • UNC-Greensboro
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Greensboro Police Department
  • Action Greensboro (non-profit organization)
  • Greensboro Parks and Recreation
  • Safe Kids Guilford County
  • Bicycling in Greensboro (local advocacy organization)
  • Greensboro City Council
  • Greensboro Libraries
  • Greensboro Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • HealthyUNCG

Each of these partners has contributed to the success of Watch for Me NC. For example, HealthyUNCG promoted Watch for Me NC on its website and through social media. The organization distributed information about the program to its advisory board and Weight Management Group.

Education and Enforcement Activities
Greensboro has promoted safety for all road users through a range of education and enforcement activities carried out with the help of various Watch for Me NC partners. The universities and schools in the city have proven to be very helpful partners. The City of Greensboro staff worked with Active Routes to School and the local Safe Kids chapter to coordinate Walk to School events. Watch for Me NC arm bands and bike lights were distributed to school children during these events.

In particular, university police departments have been integral to the success of enforcement and education activities in Greensboro. Officers from both UNC-Greensboro and NC A&T presented Watch for Me NC materials in dormitory safety talks and distributed flyers at local student apartment complexes. UNC-Greensboro police have conducted over forty enforcement operations, many of which focused on a particularly problematic intersections near campus. Watch for Me NC pamphlets, arm bands, bike lights, and bumper stickers were distributed during enforcement operations. City staff have also established partnerships with the NC DMV to provide information to participants of driver’s education courses and to students at the DMV’s Safety Fair at UNC-Greensboro.

Like other cities, Greensboro’s Watch for Me NC program has been marketed through outreach at large events such as the National Folk Festival, the outdoor City Market, and the City of Greensboro’s City Expo. Staff have organized family bike rides and presented information at meetings for neighborhood and advocacy groups. Advertising played an important role in giving the campaign a boost in visibility. Watch for Me NC advertisements have been displayed on billboards, busses, and banners around the city.

Watch for Me NC inspired City of Greensboro transportation planners and engineers to collaborate on placement of pavement markings and signage to ensure solutions are contextually appropriate for each location. Other government collaboration includes data collection on bicycle and pedestrian volumes by the Greensboro MPO staff in partnership with NCDOT to improve the crash data used for safety analyses.

Key Outcomes
Overall, people in Greensboro feel positively about the city’s Watch for Me NC program. In terms of policy impacts, information about Greensboro’s Watch for Me NC program have been added to local transportation plans and there is growing support for Complete Streets policies.

Lessons Learned

  • Balance all modes: Identify solutions and activities that benefit all modes. The optimal alternative for one mode may inhibit accessibility for another. Work with partners to identify compromises that improve conditions for all parties: bicycles, pedestrians, and drivers alike.
  • Integrate with existing programs: The Greensboro Department of Transportation found it beneficial to present Watch for Me NC as support for an existing safety campaign. Rather than introducing something new to both staff and residents, Watch for Me NC was considered an extension of ongoing programs.
  • Build a coalition of supporters: The success of the campaign hinges upon coordination and cooperation across multiple government agencies, local institutions, interested organizations, and advocates. The more effective this coordination, the broader the impact on the public.

Thank you to Daniel Amstutz, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator with the Greensboro Department of Transportation for providing leadership, time and expertise that contributed to the Watch for Me NC Campaign in Greensboro and the writing of this profile.