Danville Express

Newsfront - July 20, 2007

Perception is everything

Danville looks to turn decorative street into legal crosswalk

by Jordan M. Doronila

The Danville Town Council has directed staff to install a crosswalk in front of the library since people are insisting the decorative bricks now in place are a crosswalk anyway.

Many pedestrians already believe the wide red and gray brick pavement that connects the library to the Eugene O'Neill Commemorative and Front Street Park is a crosswalk. Town staff said that pavement was made for aesthetic purposes, and it is not intended for pedestrians.

"I thought it was a crosswalk made to the library," said Megan Steven of Danville earlier this week at the location. "I don't think it looks that way to cars."

"I assumed it was a crosswalk," said Beverly Guevara, another Danville resident.

There have been complaints that cars drive too fast on Front Street and officials agree. But they did not place a crosswalk at this location because it does not have good visibility. Nonetheless, the Town Council asked staff a month ago to look into installing a crosswalk because people are crossing there anyway.

"We agreed that it is a dangerous area," said Councilwoman Candace Andersen. "The brick inlay in the road gives the appearance of a crosswalk. We asked them (staff members) to look at this."

"We have received many queries of many concerned citizens," she added.

Staff said the town would conduct a study of a possible crosswalk toward the end of the summer. The town is currently devoting much of its resources to other projects, such as the Sycamore Valley Park lot, the Oak Hill Park Community Building, and improvements on Sycamore Valley Road, both east and west of I-680.

Cost effectiveness and location are two important factors that staff will use in making its recommendation to the council, said Town Transportation Services Director Tai Williams. Crosswalks ideally need to have good visibility and not be located at the end of a curve. Also, they should be placed between spots where people would logically go, and they should not eliminate parking, staff said.

When the town comes up with its recommendation, the council will decide whether the library crosswalk is feasible.

The decorative bricks were laid during the library's construction in 1996 with the idea that the paving could connect both sides of Front Street in case it is closed for special events. The paving contains sleeves for pipe bollards that could be used to close off the street.

Police have 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, they should exercise caution, police said.

"Technically, there was never a crosswalk there," said Police Chief Chris Wenzel. "They designed it to be aesthetically pleasing. It became this perception that it was a crosswalk."

A crosswalk adds to the community's well-being, Andersen said.

"I am always thrilled to enhance our traffic safety in our community," she said.


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