In January 2006, three people -- two pedestrians and a bicyclist -- were struck and killed by motor vehicles on Chapel Hill streets during a three-day span.That spate of fatalities on our thoroughfares was a truly bizarre statistical anomaly; prior to that awful three-day stretch no pedestrian had been killed by a car in Chapel Hill since 2002, and no cyclists had been fatally hit since 1997.But that rash of deaths did open our eyes to the dangers our busy roads pose to pedestrians and cyclists, and the town responded by moving to begin the process of implementing safety features in some of the more treacherous spots.That was two years ago. Town engineer Kumar Neppalli last week updated the Town Council on the progress of plans for the stretch of Fordham Boulevard near the Manning Drive intersection where one of the 2006 accidents occurred. Some of the more easily implemented improvements have already been made; UNC police now monitor traffic there when major events are scheduled at the Smith Center, for example.But most of the proposed measures, including the most significant ones, haven't yet been completed, and some -- those that have to be funneled through the state Department of Transportation -- may never be. New, taller street lights are on the way. Marked crosswalks, pedestrian signals and flashing stop lights are expected to be done this summer. Sidewalks and the dream solution of most pedestrians -- a tunnel or bridge crossing the road -- remain, in all probability, a long way off. The DOT, despite being in the business of transportation, tends to move in the slow, slow lane.No infrastructure solution can provide perfect safety, of course. Human beings are fallible and unpredictable. Systems fail. Nature will occasionally misbehave. To paraphrase a certain bumper sticker philosophy, things happen.But because this is a community that promotes and encourages walking and cycling as desirable alternatives to driving, we have a special responsibility to make it as safe as feasibly possible to do those things. That responsibility only increases as we grow. If you build it, they will come, as the saying goes. Well, we build it -- residential developments, commercial projects and, soon enough, research campuses. And sure enough, they -- cars, mostly -- come. The focus of the measures discussed last week is Fordham Boulevard, where retired UNC professor David Galinsky was killed in 2006. It's the type of multi-lane, heavy traffic thoroughfare that poses special dangers for pedestrians. But perhaps the most perilous major road is on the other side town. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, especially between Estes Drive and Homestead Road, has been a tragedy waiting to happen for a long time. Many people, a lot of them UNC students, live in the apartments and neighborhoods, on the east side of MLK. In order to ride the bus to and from town and campus -- that is, to use one of the alternate transportation means we keep urging people to use -- they have to cross five lanes of heavily traveled road, many without the benefit of any crosswalk at all, to the bus stop. New traffic lights have helped at some points along that stretch. But more safety measures are needed there.It's not at all uncommon to see students stranded in the middle turn lane or stuck on the far side of the road, anxiously watching their bus approach, looking for a brief gap in traffic so they can scurry across. Let's not wait until one of them doesn't make it.