As Halloween approaches and pedestrian safety is top of mind, we’d like to share the following form the RNA board. RNA has had a number of questions and comments about traffic on Cherry Street in recent weeks. Some of you may have even participated in the fun awareness event held last month.
The questions are about traffic of all kinds: pedestrian, vehicle, and bicycle along Cherry St. between National and Glenstone. Most of the questions pretty specific to Cherry Street around the intersections of Fremont, Pickwick, & Weller. Residents want to know: what’s the plan to help reduce travel speeds of vehicles? Will be a cross walk or speed bumps? Will there be a bicycle lane or roundabout?
Here’s what Eric Claussen and Derrick Estell, engineers with the City’s Public Works Department, told us:
“There is a proposed concept for traffic calming on Cherry in the area, and it is similar to what was implemented as a part of the American Planning Association “pop-up” traffic calming event last summer – this includes bumping out the curbs to narrow the width of the roadway. This project is limited to mainly just the intersection of Cherry and Pickwick to address the immediate traffic calming concerns and to enhance the pedestrian crossing features. Because we are designing this project in-house and combining it with another to make the best use of our limited funding, we have to weigh the timing of the project vs other competing needs in the community. City Council will have the opportunity to review and approve this project.
“As for timing, in the best case scenario, this project will be designed at the end of 2018/early 2019 and will be constructed end of 2019/early 2020. These dates are not set in stone, and are subject to change (depending on needs elsewhere in the city). However, these timeframes are solid assumptions. We are more than happy to share our proposed design with the neighborhood, when we are ready to proceed.”
RNA also asked specifically about simply painting a crosswalk sooner since the more significant changes are more than a year away. Eric gave us the following answer:
“Simply placing the markings on the street without some application of traffic calming often causes pedestrians to have a false sense of security, thinking that drivers will slow down or be more respectful of the crosswalk lines, and in many occasions, that is just simply not the case. I agree that we need to address speeding with engineering calming procedures, but I just do not believe that it is in the best interest of safety to place the markings and have pedestrians cross without a sense of caution.”
We appreciate the City’s continued attention to this area. The RNA board members are hoping there might be some way to speed up the timeline here, however. We’re continuing to work with the City to find out what we can do to that end.
In the meantime, here’s what we can do right night now to combat the issue:
- If you see a speeder, call the City at 864-1010 to report it. Our neighborhood police officer has been regularly setting up on Cherry and Grand before and after school to catch speeders at our request, and the continued reporting shows an ongoing need.
- Drive the speed limit yourself, and don’t give into people tailgating you. Our neighborhood, our speed, our safety.
- Be aware and cautious if you’re crossing the streets around Cherry and Pickwick.