The Eureka Engineering Department is working to make the city safer for pedestrians.
City staff announced Tuesday the department received a $150,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to install countdown pedestrian signals that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act at 25 intersections throughout the city.
”We thought it would be a good safety feature to have,” said Sheila Parrott, the traffic division project manager for the department. “What it does is count down the time, so it gives you a better idea of how much time you have to walk across the street.”
All of the signals also would have a larger opening to make it easier for folks with different abilities to push the walk button.
Council members Mike Newman and Linda Atkins said they are excited.
”I think it will help seniors and especially people with mobility issues,” Atkins said. “I know that when I have to try and figure out if I have to run across the street, it's not a good thing.”
”Anything that can help with pedestrian and traffic is a big plus,” Newman said. “Even though it might not solve the problem entirely, it will work toward the goal of helping to alleviate situations that compromise people.”
Last spring, Buhne neighborhood resident Nina Winogradov was killed while crossing the street. The city has also been rocked by a series of serious car crashes.
Furthermore, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, Eureka was ranked No. 2 out of 93 similarly-sized California cities for total fatal and injury collisions, No. 3 for pedestrian collisions and No. 9 for bicycle collisions in 2010, the most recent data available.
Parrott said she estimates the signals will be installed in the summer of 2015 after the design and environmental work is complete.
A letter will be brought to the Eureka City Council at its Dec. 17 meeting for approval.
Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.