Users of the Iron Horse trail may seen some work going on over the next few weeks as plans are under way to provide upgrades to two locations where the trail crosses town streets.
Danville Transportation Services Director Tai Williams said they will be doing the work where the trail crosses Greenbrook Drive and El Capitan Drive. Both roads have high daily vehicle occupancy so having the flashing crosswalks will be a help to maintaining safety at those crossings.
"Greenbrook carries about 7,000 cars per day," Williams said, "El Capitan carries around 4,500. Plus the Iron Horse Trail is something we call a 'kiddie commuter corridor', because a large number of kids use the trail to get to school each day. In light of these two factors, proximity to schools and sheer number of vehicles, we felt it was important to upgrade these two systems."
Currently there are warning signs at those crossings with solar powered flashing lights that go off when someone on the trail nears the crossing. But Williams said those systems are among the first that were put into Danville and have outlived their service life.
"They're not programmable and they've gotten to a point in their useful life where we are having to spend a lot of money on maintenance," she explained.
Instead of the flashing sign, lights will be embedded in the road surface along the crosswalk which would flash when someone on the trail would trip the sensor. There will also be a button near the crossing which a person on the sidewalk going onto the trail will be able to push in order to activate the lights.
The system will be programmed to activate when a person is about 30-50 feet from the intersection so that the lights will be flashing for a few seconds before the trail user reaches the intersection.
The work is expected to cost nearly $80,000 and Williams said they are hopeful that it will be completed by mid-August. "Our goal is to do it before in the next month. Our Public Works folks are trying to get everything done before school starts."
One word of warning for trail users: the flashing lights do not constitute a stop sign on the busy street. "The purpose of the lighted crosswalks is strictly advisory," Williams stated, " It's there because there isn't a stop sign at that crossing."
Stop signs, however, are posted on the trail at most intersections, and users are expected to stop and check for traffic before heading across the street.
Danville police reported an accident June 23 where a cyclist using the trail was injured at the Greenbrook Drive crossing after colliding with a vehicle.