After several news stories about dangerous crosswalks
— including our own — it looks as if the city will consider how to make
pedestrians a little safer in Lakewood.
Mayor Michael Summers recently told Lakewood Patch that the administration is looking into its options.
With TV cameras posted around city hall's auditorium for Tuesday’s council meeting, council members discussed some of the proposed changes to the pedestrian crosswalks.
At least a dozen residents turned out for the meeting.
Ward 2 city councilman Tom Bullock proposed placing a high priority on pedestrian safety.
“Lakewood prides itself on being Ohio’s most walkable city, but that is not a status we can take for granted,” he said. “It should be at least as convenient for pedestrians and cyclists to get around Lakewood as for motor vehicles.”
Bullock outlined several ideas including adding new pedestrian crosswalks, enforcement at existing crosswalks, adjusting traffic signal timing and monitoring speed in residential neighborhoods.
“I think this is an important discussion for us to have as a community,” said council president Brian Powers. “The state controls what we can and cannot do on that road... I certainly blame the drivers for the problems at those crosswalks. But it’s also a problem at the state level.”
“We have a complex situation to face here — one that’s not entirely in our control.”
Last year, the city decided to take down the traffic signals when ODOT determined that they were no longer warranted at that intersection and the city would have to pay for them to keep them.
Powers continued by saying he’s “not in favor of crosswalks.”
“I’d rather put in a traffic signal,” he said, adding that state cuts to the local government fund haven’t helped matters. “Crosswalks create a false sense of security (for pedestrians).”
Residents also had their say, including the man who was struck last week as he tried to get across the crosswalk at Manor Park and Detroit avenues.
“Who stands up for the senior citizens?” asked George Stragisher, adding that he is hoping that the insurance for the man who hit him will pay for his medical bills.
That was the first reported collision — between a person and car — at that intersection.
One woman, a resident of Olivewood Avenue, said crosses at Manor Park and Detroit avenues with her children as they walk to Garfield Middle School. She said she fears more collisions.
“It’s very hard for the kids and the elderly,” she said. “I’ve helped so many people get across the street that it’s unbelievable. I didn’t know this was a budget issue. It should be about safety.”
Council expected to discuss the issue further at an upcoming public works committee meeting.