LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) — Jamie Farrar is conquering her biggest fear.
“I can do this” she says, as she prepares to cross the busy street in her motorized scooter. “I've survived it. I can do it.”
For the first time, Farrar is visiting the crosswalk where she was nearly killed more than a year ago.
“Success!” she shouts as she makes her way across Sahara Avenue at Valley View Boulevard. “Wooo hooo! Yay!”
Farrar, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was hit by a tractor-trailer truck at this intersection, leaving her paralyzed.
Her journey to this victory of crossing the street again began Jan. 3, 2013.
“I realized the truck wasn't going to stop and probably didn't see me,” Farrar recalls. “And I was screaming, knowing, praying. I'm going to die. I don't want to die. Please don't let me die.”
Farrar is certain she survived for a reason.
“I'm a survivor and I can do anything,” she says. “I did it.”
Farrar is on a new journey; one in which she hopes to make the valley’s crosswalks safer.
“It's not just about you,” she says. “By getting behind that wheel, you're impacting everyone in front of you, everybody around you.”
Farther east on Sahara, UNLV safety advocate and researcher Erin Breen watches the cars speeding by at 15th Street. “We have really selfish drivers in this town and it’s all about them.”
“Are crosswalks safe in our community? What a good question,” Breen says. “They are the safest place for pedestrians to be. But are they truly safe is in the hands of drivers in Las Vegas.”
To date this year, cars have struck 245 pedestrians on streets patrolled by Metro. That averages nine a week. Thirteen have died.
“Things need to change,” Farrar says, explaining that change starts with awareness.
The high-tech crossing controls at Sahara and 15th are an example of the change she supports. The controls give pedestrians more time to cross the street and provide audible directions.
Residents like Michael Jones and his grandkids no longer have to jaywalk.
“It's very nice, though, we needed it,” Jones says.
“In an ideal world, we’d have a lot more of these,” says safety advocate Breen.
But the high-tech crosswalk controls are expensive. The Regional Transportation Commission estimates each can cost about $200,000.
Even with better crosswalk, Breen and Farrar say there is no replacement for educating drivers.