After one death and two gruesome injuries, the state Department of Transportation has made the decision to install a crosswalk on Washington Street outside of Chadakoin Park.
The effort to install a crosswalk has been ongoing since the death of Terry Harper, who was killed on June 18 while attempting to cross Washington Street. Following the death of Harper, two more residents were seriously injured while attempting to cross the street.
In the time since, Tom McCrady, a concerned resident of Jamestown, has taken to writing several legislators asking them to consider installing a crosswalk, and has also formed a group called "Crosswalks or Crosses" which promoted the installation of a crosswalk through word of mouth. The group had a gathering on Aug. 28, which drew in over 40 residents.
On July 23, a 14-year-old boy was hit by a vehicle near the intersection of Washington and 13th streets. In the foreground a memorial rests for Terry Harper, 43, who was struck and killed by a vehicle a month earlier.
At the gathering on Aug. 28, McCrady asked those in attendance to write a letter to Thomas Messana, regional traffic engineer for region five of the state Department of Transportation, asking that he consider installing a crosswalk.
After interviewing Sheldon Harper, daughter of the late Terry Harper, and meeting a 14-year-old boy who was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross Washington Street, The Post-Journal wrote to Messana seeking an update on the crosswalk.
On Friday, a letter from Messana responding to the inquiry was received. It contained the following text:
As a follow-up to our Sept. 5, 2012 letter, we have completed our traffic engineering investigation related to your Aug. 29, 2012 request f or a review of pedestrian conditions on Route 951C (Washington Street) at 13th Street in the City of Jamestown.
Based on our review, we have determined that we will install a high visibility crosswalk on Washington Street, on the south side of 13th Street. We will also install fluorescent yellow-green pedestrian warning signs both at this crosswalk and in advance of this crosswalk, for both northbound and southbound Washington Street traffic.
Additionally, we will replace the existing Playground signs on Washington Street with new fluorescent yellow-green Playground signs. This work will be completed by our regional maintenance forces at their earliest opportunity as scheduling permits.
Later that day, McCrady called me to inform me he received the same letter.
"I'm appreciative of all the effort everyone has put into this," said McCrady. "Without all the help from everyone, I don't think something would have happened as quickly as it did. I think it's ideal that this crosswalk goes in, because state law requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. I think, for that reason, that this is better than even putting in a light at that location.
"I'm just so grateful for all the hard work everyone has put in," McCrady continued. "Hopefully, going forward, no one else will ever be injured trying to get to Chadakoin Park due to bad planning."
Once the crosswalk is installed on Washington Street, motorists will be required to yield right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk according to state Vehicle and Traffic Law article 27, section 1151, which states:
When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles.
No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.
Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
Though McCrady is pleased that a crosswalk is being installed, he still is trying to encourage legislation which would require crosswalks to be placed adjacent to all public parks throughout the state. Ideally, he would like it to be named the Terry Harper law to honor his passing. Assemblyman Andrew Goodell has stated he would support the passing of such legislation.