City monitoring new 24th & Colorado pedestrian crossing for ‘unsafe trends’
Colorado Springs Traffic Engineering is monitoring the new pedestrian-activated light at 24th Street and Colorado Avenue for “unsafe trends.”
Visiting the site for a media event recently, Traffic Engineer Dave Krauth said there is “a concern that people push the button and assume cars will stop… We're kind of testing things here to see how well it will work at this intersection.”
If the department eventually decides that the light is hindering rather than helping safety for people crossing the avenue at 24th, it could get removed or replaced with another kind of pedestrian light, he said.
One of the reasons for skepticism is that normally such lights are installed in the middle of blocks, where there are fewer distractions than at street corners, Krauth explained. He added that he had not been involved in the planning for the light, which was decided upon last summer before he became the head of Traffic Engineering.
The light instantly activates LEDs in crossing signs facing both ways for about 45 seconds. The first of its kind in Colorado Springs, it was installed in response to several years of pleas from Old Colorado City business leaders about the hazards of crossing the avenue at 24th Street.
“I'm glad it's here, especially in the winter months, when it's dark early,” commented Judy Kasten, chair of the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District Advisory Committee (which had advocated for city action).
Accompanying the lights are a new crosswalk on the west side of the intersection, related signage and “shark's teeth” painted in the avenue pavement about 50 feet away to help motorists know where to stop.
Other such light systems are planned at four locations (all mid-block) along Cascade Avenue by Colorado College.
The monitoring at 24th and Colorado will consist of “periodic watching” by City Traffic staff and by analyzing any accidents that occur at the intersection, Krauth said.
He recommended that pedestrians wait until it's clear, but if they must cross when traffic is coming, they should wait after pushing the button to be sure vehicles have seen them and plan to stop.
Westside Pioneer article