Drivers on North Street will soon have to stop at a newly installed traffic light at the Scull Creek Trail crossing. But not before the walkers, joggers and bicyclists first stop and activate a push-button signal.
Beginning Monday, June 11, the traffic light controls at the intersection will be set to flash mode in order to introduce drivers and trail users to the new setup. Two days later, on Wednesday, June 13, the signal will be fully operational.
Currently, the four-lane crossing utilizes a motion-activated radar unit which triggers flashing yellow lights for drivers and flashing red lights for trail users.
Numerous complaints from both drivers and trail users, followed by a non-fatal accident in which a bicyclist was hit by a vehicle, prompted a Street Committee safety review of the crossing earlier this year.
“If you talk to anybody who uses that intersection very often, it’s pretty clear that nobody – whether in a car or a cyclist – really knows how to act at the intersection,” said Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty who also serves on the committee. “That makes it really unsafe.”
After a review of several options presented by city staff, the committee voted for a push-button activated signal which would stop vehicular traffic when prompted by a trail user.
“The push-button is a great idea,” said Petty. “That way, all the drivers know it’s a protected crossing and all the trail users know it’s a protected crossing.”
City staff said costs to install the signal were pretty minimal (about $2,500) since crews were able to use poles and other equipment the city already had in inventory.