Enhanced crosswalk to help pedestrians

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By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

City officials are working to make downtown Reynoldsburg more pedestrian-friendly.

With the addition of businesses like Prost and Main Street Wellness Studio, and the move of Vick’s to its new dine-in location, more people are parking and walking through downtown Reynoldsburg.

City officials say with the increased presence of people along Main Street, they’re concerned that drivers aren’t yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Councilmember Chris Long is hoping to change that, however.

At the Oct. 23 council meeting, Long introduced legislation to increase the visibility and safety for both pedestrians and motorists by installing a high-visibility, real-time warning sign system at an existing crosswalk.

“Over the past few months with the grand opening of Vick’s Pizza and the incredible success of Prost, and other businesses looking to move into that area, we’ve had a considerable amount of increase in pedestrian traffic, which has created a safety situation to where pedestrians are actually doing the old Frogger trying to get across the street,” Long said.

If approved, the solar-powered pedestrian crosswalk enhancement will include two push-button signs so one can be placed on both sides of the street, said Bill Sampson, director of public service.

“This system is ideal for high-incident areas or where new traffic conditions exist,” he said.

Before crossing Main Street, pedestrians would need to activate the sign, which would then stop traffic. The sign would be installed at the crosswalk east of Lancaster Avenue and Main Street, near Hunter’s Florist and Cotner Funeral Home.

“Pedestrians always have the right of way,” Sampson said. “Unfortunately, vehicles don’t always see the pedestrians crossing the street. This crosswalk will only be activated if a pedestrian pushes the button to cross.”

Councilmember Mel Clemens expressed concern that any stoppage of traffic could back up motorists, especially during rush hour times.

However, Long said the crosswalk is already in place, and motorists are required to stop if a pedestrian begins to cross the street.

“Our issue was that traffic won’t stop for any individual who wants to utilize the crosswalk,” he said. “I don’t believe that we’re adding anything additionally to it because we’re not adding traffic across Main Street. All we’re doing is putting something in place that enables them to cross safely.”

Mayor Brad McCloud said the system would only stop traffic long enough for a pedestrian to cross, with cars on each side of the street allowed to move again once the person passes, he said. Normal traffic flow would occur when not activated.

“This is not going to be creating a red light,” he said. “These are very common in other states. It’s going to flash for as long as it takes someone to cross the street.”

Sampson said even after construction is finished downtown, the speed limit will remain 25 mph from Lancaster Avenue to just west of Waggoner Road.

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