Push the button... and keep looking both ways
New pedestrian light at 24th and Colorado
Pedestrians and motorists were getting accustomed this week to a new kind of stoplight in Old Colorado City.
Called a "pedestrian-activated flashing LED sign," the city's new crossing on Colorado Avenue at 24th Street is also the first of its kind in the city.
It includes signage, a crosswalk on the west side of the intersection and walk buttons on either side of Colorado.
The difference from typical walk buttons is that these take effect instantly, turning on the flashing LED sign on either side of the street for about 30 seconds.
As described in a city press release, "The flashing yellow lights advise drivers that a pedestrian is present and they should slow down and prepare to stop for crosswalk users. The flashing signs provide a warning to drivers even if they can't see ahead of the cars in the neighboring lane."
City Traffic Engineering installed the system in response to repeated requests from Old Colorado City leaders over the years to improve the safety at 24th and Colorado. Previous requests for a true stoplight or even just a crosswalk had been rejected.
"I'm excited," said Judy Kasten, chair of the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District Advisory Committee. However, half-joking that an employee in her accounting business "almost got killed" when she tried using the LED crossing, Kasten offered the opinion this week that "it's going to take a while before people notice it's there."
John Georgeson, CEO of Pikes Peak National Bank, located at 24th and Colorado, said he has heard "mixed reviews" about how it's working out. "Drivers don't always stop."
This impression was supported when two of his employees tested the LED crossing for the Westside Pioneer. Even the motorists that did put on the brakes seemed unaware of the stopping line now painted in the avenue (and marked by a sign) about 30 feet in front of the crossing itself.
Rob Helt, the city's principal traffic engineer, said he has heard "no feedback" yet from the public. "If it were unaccepted, we would get a lot of calls," he reasoned. "So this means it's been generally accepted."
He added that one of the crossing-related signs - the one in the middle of the street indicating that it's a state law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks - is just temporary. It's already been hit once by a car and would probably be a hazard for snowplows, he pointed out.
Later this year, pedestrian-activated LED crossings are planned at four locations along Cascade Avenue by Colorado College, the city release states. Similar signs have previously been used in such Colorado communities as Estes Park, Boulder, Lafayette, Broomfield and Louisville.
Westside Pioneer article