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Aug. 31 2011 02:29 PM

‘Pedestrian enhancements’ will hopefully make stretch of University Avenue safer

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Two girls cross mid-block on University Avenue between Winona Avenue and 50th Street before Friday prayers, one of the busiest times of the week for pedestrians.
Photo by David Rolland
As we reported last August, a stretch of University Avenue between Winona Avenue and 52nd Street in City Heights is plagued by car accidents and pedestrian injuries. With many shops and two mosques catering to the Somali community nearby, pedestrians often cross the street where there’s no streetlight or crosswalk, braving the onslaught of fast-moving cars.

But, recently, the city approved work orders for measures to enhance pedestrian safety. Gary Pence, a senior traffic engineer, says the city will install a high-visibility pedestrian crosswalk at 50th Street and University, likely within the next 30 days. The city will also close the eastbound left-tupocket, remove parking on the south side of the street and install warning signs and “PED XING” pavement markings.

“Basically, it’s a bunch of pedestrian enhancements,” he says. “I think it’s a great project. I look forward to making it safer out there for pedestrians.”

Traffic engineers spent the past year meeting with business owners, community groups and staffers of City Councilmember Marti Emerald to come up with a plan. They hope to also build curb improvements like “pop outs” -- bulging sections of sidewalk that cut crossing time -- but those cost more and the city needs funding for it, Pence says.

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