OSWEGO, NY – Diana Graser, regional traffic engineer, and Scott Bates, of the New York State Department of Transportation, joined representatives of the city of Oswego, the Oswego Network of Entrepreneurs, ARISE, the National Federation of the Blind and the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce today (July 18) to follow up on a survey of pedestrian cross walks on Bridge Street –Route 104 presented to the NYSDOT in May.
Bates and Graser first presented the variety of traffic safety improvements that have been implemented in Oswego including longer crossing times for pedestrians and new improved signs with raised markings on arrows above crosswalk buttons that trigger pedestrian crossing signals.
Sabine Ingerson, director of ARISE, and Marie Kouthoofd, National Federation of the Blind and NYSDOT met in July to evaluate a variety of pedestrian safety concerns.
NYSDOT has re-evaluated some intersections and determined that “Right on Red” is dangerous to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Oswego drivers should be aware that some intersections will no longer allow “Right on Red,” particularly at West First Street and East Second Street.
This change is necessary to make the crosswalks safer for pedestrians.
The NYSDOT representatives accompanied Mayor Tom Gillen and representatives of the various organizations to tour the major downtown intersections.
Longer crosswalk times made it easier to cross Bridge Street at West First Street, but cars entering the crosswalk during the passage made it clear that public education is still necessary to improve driver and pedestrian understanding of the law.
A vehicle stopped in the middle of the crosswalk while Mayor Gillen and other pedestrians attempted to cross Bridge Street at West First Street.
It was also clear that some pedestrians crossed without waiting for the pedestrian crossing signal to change during a green arrow onto Route 481 at East First Street.
Neglecting to use the crosswalk signal could have caused an accident and had tragic consequences as vehicles were turning with the green arrow onto Route 481 from Route 104.
The NYSDOT has provided great improvements in Oswego’s pedestrian crossings.
Bates told the group that new audible signals will soon be installed at West Seneca and Hillside Avenue, West First Street, and East First Street at Bridge Street before the end of the year.
The entire traffic intersection at East First and Bridge Street will be improved in 2013.
NYSDOT also has plans to install many more ADA compliant intersections throughout the city in 2013.
After the tour, representatives from ARISE, the city, the Oswego Network of Entrepreneurs and Greater Oswego–Fulton Chamber of Commerce pledged to work on a public education campaign to teach people about the importance of using the crosswalk signals correctly and driver education to prevent vehicles from entering the crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing.
The group will work with the Oswego City Police and Traffic Department and the Traffic Safety Council so people will have a safer walking experience in the city of Oswego.
For more information about the Pedestrian Safety campaign, contact Jackie Thorpe at the Greater Oswego- Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 343-7681, Greg Mills at the Oswego Community Development Office at 343-3795, or Ingerson at ARISE at 342-4088.