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Crossing Bridge Street – DOT, City Of Oswego Collaborate On Crosswalk Safety

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.

A car stopped in crosswalk as pedestrian signal show 18 seconds of crossing time for pedestrians still available.  Vehicles driving into the crosswalk when pedestrians are crossing is a ticketable offense acccording to New York State Traffic Safety Regulations.
A car stopped in crosswalk as pedestrian signal show 18 seconds of crossing time for pedestrians still available. Vehicles driving into the crosswalk when pedestrians are crossing is a ticketable offense according to New York State Traffic Safety Regulations.

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.

From left: Mayor Thomas Gillen, Marie Kouther, Jackie Shoulte of Chamber of Commerce; Sabine Ingerson, ARISE; Diana Graser, NYDOT; Donald Cram, Oswego Network Entrepreneurs; Scott Bates, NY DOT; and Bill Symons, Greater Oswego Business Committee.
From left: Mayor Thomas Gillen, Marie Kouthoofd, Jackie Shoulte of Chamber of Commerce; Sabine Ingerson, ARISE; Diana Graser, NYDOT; Donald Cram, Oswego Network Entrepreneurs; Scott Bates, NY DOT; and Bill Symons, Greater Oswego Business Committee.

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.

2 Comments

  1. AWESOME! It’s nice to see the city taking a stand to change things for those of us with disabilities! We have these same problems out here in Phoenix,AZ too! People who stop in the middle of the crosswalks is one of the worst offensives! They have NO clue why it’s dangerous to do! That and it’s become a ME ME ME world all over- people thinking only of themselves and not those who have to use different means of navigating the world. People should be more courteous because you never know- in a split second your life can change and you could join OUR world!

  2. A long time in the making, IF there are improvements in pedestrian rights, it’s about time! I know that many times I tried to cross West First at West Bridge, and I’m a healthy adult who moves along, and I couldn’t make the cross in the time the white figure allowed. HOW can disabled persons make this?

    Further, many people making turns were not waiting, and there was never, it seemed, a cop when you needed one! I don’t think we need to make Oswego a ‘traffic unfriendly’ city, but I think we need to enforce laws. I don’t think it would be out of line to have a series of news stories on this issue, and for those who cannot afford a computer or newspaper (and that appears to be a larger cross-section of our residents in recent years), we need to post a sign to this effect. We can find the funds to plant flowers, hang banners, and put in new decorative lighting, but we can’t seem to find a way to get the message across to drivers that there even ARE pedestrians in the city. Drivers seem to assume that the driver’s license gives them a special consideration in some way.

    I walk my dog and I know I have had to dodge traffic in areas not in the downtown areas, especially. For example, there are several crossings on the east side that are downright dangerous, yet are near amenities such as dairies and grocery stores. The tenth street intersection is particularly dangerous with the yield area near Monroe Muffler. The crosswalks at Oswego Hospital at W. 6th and 7th at Bridge both need addressing as those crossing are often not in the best of health.

    During the school year, we have children going to school, alas, even if they are in high school…and let’s be honest, they aren’t going to go down to Fifth at the light to cross, especially as that particular crossing has always had issues with timing. It is possibly the longest light in Oswego (favoring 104/Bridge, of course), and I’ve seen drivers assume that there is something wrong and crossed against the red on many occasions. I’ve called regarding this issue for ten or more years, with no improvement (btw). Mostly I curse myself for not ‘remembering’ every time I’m in a hurry. And have even done a right on red in the wrong direction from my home, rather than wait. THIS is when the town is dead at night, and not a car in either direction in sight! How about a smart light there???

    I think that this is certainly a first step and I applaud our new mayor and council/committee for addressing these issues. I hope someone reads this. New drivers are more prone to other driving issues (especially, big exclamation point, texting, telephoning, so we need to enforce the laws we already have (and I’ve never read in the paper that anyone has been issued a ticket for it here, but a a few speeding infractions do make it).

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