GREENFIELD — Crosswalks at downtown Greenfield’s busiest intersection have become more pedestrian-friendly, now that the interval of the “walk” signal has been lengthened after a local resident voiced a concern about safety.
Greenfield resident Bob Burrows raised red flags two months ago over the brief duration of time the walk signal was on display before the flashing caution warning appears.
Burrows, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a motorized wheelchair, had been concerned for years about the crosswalks at State and Main streets. But during a crowded downtown event in July, Burrows noticed elderly women also having trouble making it across in time. That’s what prompted him to do something about it.
Burrows’ letter to the editor appeared in the Daily Reporter, and a feature story on the issue caused local and state officials to take note.
While crosswalks on state highways are under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Transportation, Mayor Dick Pasco emailed INDOT, asking officials to look into the issue. INDOT sent out an engineer to study the timing of the lights, and the state agency also contacted Burrows to listen to his concerns.
Harry Maginity, INDOT spokesman, said the department was checking the timing of crosswalks throughout the Greenfield district anyway, but Burrows’ concern sped up the process.
“This one would have been checked and found lacking before the end of the year, but they moved it up,” Maginity said.
INDOT changed the “walk” signal, which means pedestrians can start their trek across the street, to seven seconds. The caution signal blinks for an additional 16 seconds, giving pedestrians a total of about 23 seconds to make it across. The “walk” signal depicts a walking figure; the caution signal is a flashing hand.
Maginity couldn’t pinpoint when the change was made; Burrows said he noticed a difference a couple of weeks ago.
“I think that’s great,” Burrows said.
He said the change adds just a few seconds – but very important ones – for the safety of pedestrians like him.
Before, Burrows said the “walk” signal was very brief, only two or three seconds. Maginity said it was more like four.
But add the time on the flashing hand, and pedestrians now have about 23 seconds to make it across the four lanes of traffic. Before, they only had about 15.
Burrows is happy about the change and said now it seems like there’s ample time to make it across before motorists start zooming through the busy intersection.
“It works out very well, now,” Burrows said. “It will help a lot of people that go downtown.”