Tri States Public Radio Staff
Tue May 29, 2012
Pedestrian Crossing Signs for Busy Macomb Intersection
Macomb aldermen have been asked for several years to take action to improve the safety of the Grant Street and Maple Avenue intersection. They now appear ready to do so.
They will decide at their June 4, 2012 meeting whether the city should buy solar powered pedestrian crossing lights for that intersection and for West Adams Street, just east of Wigwam Hollow Road.
“The LED lighted sign is similar to the signage in front of Brophy Hall on University Drive and the signage on Murray Street in front of the (WIU) union. Although those are stop signs, that's the kind of illumination that comes with that,” said Mayor Mike Inman.
Fourth Ward Alderman Thomas Koch was not sold on the idea.
“We have signs that are very visible now and people don't stop. So I don't think that they're going to necessarily stop for an amber light,” said Koch.
The signs from a company called TAPCO will cost $13,880. The city received a lower bid of $12,080 from Brown Traffic Control but the city council's Public Safety Committee is recommending the TAPCO bid because its signs are lit, whereas the Brown bid was for a flashing light.
“I think it's tough to put a dollar value on one of our youngsters,” said Third Ward Alderman Lou Gilbert. “All it has to do is save one life.”
“I meant to get 'It Was For the Children' out of my system before somebody else got there,” responded Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett..
“I fear that it might not be enough for the children. I believe this will possibly give you an artificial sense of security when what you're doing is coming up with something that will sit there and eventually become a part of the landscape like every other sign.”
Dorsett also said there have been no reports of accidents involving pedestrians at the intersection.
But Second Ward Alderwoman Kay Hill said the city should not wait until something happens to take action.
“I do think these flashing LED lights, that are activated, I think they're going to be much more attention getting than just a painted crosswalk,” said Hill.
Seventh Ward Alderman Clay Hinderliter chimed in, “Absence of incident reports are not an indication of the safety of an intersection. Near misses are generally not reported or recorded.”
“More of the same is not a solution,” he added.
Aldermen voted six-to-three to put the item on the agenda for their first meeting in June. Dorsett, Koch, and Alderman At Large Don Wynn were opposed.