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Mon, June 17

Gurley/Summit crosswalk fix gets positive review

PRESCOTT - A $5,000 safety proposal appears to satisfy all sides in the search for a solution to the problem crosswalk at Gurley and Summit streets.

At their Tuesday study session, members of the Prescott City Council heard a report from Traffic Engineer Ian Mattingly on the city's proposal for increasing safety at the busy crosswalk.

While council members had several questions and suggestions, they appeared supportive of the plan, which involves moving the crosswalk from one side of the street to the other, adding more striping, and installing a large overhead pedestrian warning sign on mast arms.

Mattingly explained that the review of the crosswalk began several months ago, after more than 500 residents signed a petition that asked for a traffic signal at the corner.

The petition organizers maintained that the fast-moving traffic on Gurley Street, along with the wide expanse of street that pedestrians must deal with, made the crosswalk especially dangerous.

City officials responded at the time that the intersection did not meet the statistical requirements to call for a traffic signal. Even so, the petition led to a review of the situation to determine if other options would be feasible.

Among the goals, Mattingly said, was to make the crosswalk more visible to drivers, which he said the additional painted stripes and overhead signs would help to achieve.

Because the city would use mostly surplus materials, and city workers do the labor, officials said the cost of the fix would be fairly minimal - at about $5,000.

"I really think it's a win-win for the city," Mattingly concluded.

Council members appeared to agree.

"As long as the residents are happy, I think it's a very good application," Councilman Robert Luzius told Mattingly. "I commend you for your ingenuity."

Councilman Jim Lamerson voiced similar comments. "It looks like you got out of the box a little bit," he said, adding that the solution appears to go beyond "textbook" measures.

The council members' approval mirrored that of both the city's Transportation Coordinating Committee, and one of the residents who helped with the citizens' petition.

Al Williams of the Transportation Coordinating Committee, which reviews a variety of traffic-related issues, told the council that while the plan "may not be the final answer, it will substantially improve the perception and the movements."

Margaret Mendoza, who was involved with the petition drive, said she and others in the area also were satisfied with the plan.

"We really, really felt good after we left that last meeting," Mendoza said of the discussions with the Transportation Coordinating Committee.

Even though most of the comments were positive, the council did hear a concern from Sue Knaup of the Prescott Alternative Transportation organization.

While Knaup said she supported most of the components of the plan, she cautioned the city against the recommended step to install a railing that would keep pedestrians from crossing the street at the crosswalk's existing location on the west of Gurley Street.

Maintaining that the move would set a "bad, anti-pedestrian" example, Knaup said the railing could be dangerous for pedestrians who might get trapped in the street by the barricade.

Because only four of the seven council members were present at this week's meeting, they agreed to fully discuss all of the items, including the crosswalk proposal, again at the July 22 voting session.

Contact the reporter at cbarks@prescottaz.com

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