“All options” for pedestrian safety improvements always on the table, say city leaders, but few meet muster for presentation to Council
By Brandi Makuski
The City of Stevens Point will not be installing lime green paint in its crosswalks.
Scott Schatschneider, public works director for the city, said his office received complaints from several area residents concerned about the idea- an idea which never passed the point of internal discussion. The complaints arrived largely via email, he said, following a recent report from another publication indicating city officials would vote on such a move in June.
Those complaints, he stressed, were based on misconceptions of a very early concept for improving pedestrian safety at the intersection of Franklin and Division streets, and his department will not be bringing the idea before city leaders.
“Until we had some costs together, I was not going to approach the Board of Public Works,” Schatschneider said. “Also, there are state guidelines in terms of colors for crosswalks, and the established color is white.”
Schatschneider said his department is largely governed by state law as well as local ordinance, and while lime green might be an option if framed by the state-mandated white color, the project was cost-prohibitive and too labor intensive.
Mayor Mike Wiza, who initially was optimistic about the lime green color, said the city was “just exploring options”.
“It’s not going to happen- it was $11,000,” Wiza said. “It just wasn’t feasible.”
Wiza said the city will continue to explore options for crosswalk safety “as they come up- we’ll either move them along or leave them by the wayside.”
Schatschneider said the city is constantly looking for “out of the box” ideas to improve safety concerns at the city’s more heavily-used pedestrian intersections, but added his office, like most departments in the city, could not move on any project without first gaining committee-level approval after presenting all the relevant information.
The idea of the using lime green paint, he said, came about while city leaders were considering options for safety at Division and Franklin streets- an intersection which his office considers “the busiest in the city” when UWSP is in session.
Schatschneider said the city will likely install a continental crosswalk at the intersection- and possibly others- to heighten safety awareness before the university begins the fall session.
“Franklin (Street) is the one intersection that gets the most attention, and when we had that pedestrian/vehicle crash, it only raised the awareness of that intersection,” he said, referring to an early evening accident last October which left a pedestrian with non-life-threatening injuries.
In February the city turned off the electronic message board in front of Fire Station #1, which was approved by the City Council as one option to improve safety.
Schatschneider added improvements have been made to the lighting at the intersection, and noted other crossings along the north Bus. 51 corridor- to include Fourth Avenue and Maria Drive- were also being closely watched by the city.
The electronic sign will remain in front of the firehouse until a buyer can be found, he added.