Danville Express

Newsfront - January 19, 2007

Library patrons must beware when crossing Front Street

Attractive brick pathway by library is not a crosswalk

by Jordan M. Doronila

The brick paving that connects the Danville Public Library to the other side of Front Street and the Eugene O'Neill memorial was made for decoration, not for crossing, said town officials.

A resident complained to Danville Mayor Mike Shimansky at his informal coffee gathering at Father Nature's earlier this month that it was dangerous to use the "crosswalk" at the library on Front Street because cars went too fast.

However, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo and Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel said this part of the street was paved with bricks for aesthetic purposes and it is not intended for pedestrians.

"It is not a crosswalk," Calabrigo said. "It is decorative paving. We wouldn't encourage people to walk across the street in that location."

"It was not meant to be a crosswalk ... though people use it," Wenzel said.

Wenzel encouraged pedestrians to cross the street at the traffic signal; the closest one is at the end of Front Street at Hartz Way. If people do decide to walk across the decorative paving, he said, they should exercise caution.

"You have the choice to walk up to the traffic light or walk across the street," said City Engineer Steve Lake.

The decorative bricks were laid during the library's construction in 1996, Lake said.

Calabrigo said one of the functions the paving serves is to connect both sides of Front Street in case the road is closed during special events or festivals. The paving also contains sleeves for pipe bollards, which are cylindrical thick posts used to close off the street.

"The decorative paving ties both sides of the street together," Calabrigo said. "It's quite a wide swathe."

"You have to be very careful," Wenzel said. "It's unfortunate people take shortcuts."

Wenzel said he has not seen an increase of accidents caused by pedestrians using the paving. If the location does become hazardous, he said he would take action.

"If it became a problem, we would address it," he said.

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com.

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