Glenwood officials are hopeful some minor changes in the timing of the traffic lights at the intersection of Sharp and Locust streets will create safer conditions for children and other pedestrians crossing the street.
Glenwood Public Works Director Perry Cook told city council members last week the timing of the lights in both directions will be altered slightly at the recommendation of engineering consultants who performed a traffic study at the intersection last month.
“They’re currently recommending some time changes on the lights for both pedestrians and north and southbound (traffic),” Cook said. “North and southbound will be held up about four seconds longer and pedestrians will get an extra four seconds to cross.”
Cook said the engineers don’t believe the installation of pedestrian “push buttons” at the intersection would improve safety conditions, but there is a possibility of the city getting updated signals which would include a countdown time to warn both pedestrians and motorists of a pending light change.
The intersection of Glenwood’s two major east-west (Sharp) and north-south (Locust) thoroughfares became the focus of a traffic study after citizen concerns were expressed about the safety of children crossing the street before and after classes at West Elementary School.
Insurance agent Aaron Aistrope, who operates his business in view of the intersection, voiced concerns about the intersection in a letter to the editor after seeing his children nearly struck while crossing Locust Street in January. He said the most obvious danger comes from westbound motorists turning south after the green turning arrow shuts off and the “walk” light goes on for pedestrians.
“From my office, I have seen my children and many others almost get hit after school when they try to cross the street,” Aistrope said.
Aistrope said he appreciates the city taking the initiative to make the intersection safer, but the responsibility falls on drivers to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street.
“I think that’s about all the city can do,” Aistrope said. “I think it just goes back to drivers paying attention.”
In addition to adjusting timing of the traffic signals, the city has installed “All Traffic Must Yield To Pedestrians” sign.