We reported in February that the county was studying the pedestrian crossing on 54th Avenue N at 79th and 81st streets in response to requests from residents. A pedestrian fatality in January and more appeals by residents brought the outdated crosswalk to the attention of the County Commission and state Rep. Larry Ahern, whose inquiries prompted an investigation. Construction to improve the crosswalks began at the end of March.
Here's what's planned: The crosswalk at 81st Street will be moved west to make it a midblock crosswalk. New medians and pavement markings will provide a larger refuge for pedestrians and people in wheelchairs or scooters. Flashing beacons will be installed soon, two each for westbound traffic and eastbound traffic at curbside and in the median. Advanced warning signs are already in place. County engineering supervisor Debra Jaramillo says that once the project is complete, the Sheriff's Office will be asked to assist with public education and enforcement. Let's hope this makes for safer passage for pedestrians.
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Many readers have asked why the traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. 19 at Enterprise Road was removed. Here's what's happening: a concrete barrier will be built in the median of U.S. 19, which means that left turns from Enterprise Road onto U.S. 19 will no longer be permitted, nor will traffic be permitted to cross 19 at Enterprise. Westbound motorists on Enterprise who want to head south on 19 will have to first turn right onto U.S. 19, head north to Countryside Boulevard, where they will make a U-turn under U.S. 19 to merge into southbound traffic. The current work is set to be wrapped up sometime in the summer of 2015.
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