By Jennifer Rogers/News editor
As part of a continuing effort to make the crosswalk on Lancaster Avenue safer, inset lights were installed earlier this week. The lights, part of an LED Visual Warning System, are set into the pavement and will be activated when a pedestrian pushes a button on either side of the street. The lights will flash, day or night, while the pedestrian crosses the street.
Tom Lindquist, director of Eastern’s Division of Public Safety, said that the lights will make the pedestrian more visible to motorists.
“One of the major problems people have at night is visibility,” he said, adding that motorists often cannot see pedestrians dressed in dark-colored clothing.
According to the Kentucky Department of Transportation, motorists should be able to see the lights up to 1,500 feet away from the crosswalk. The lights are less than one inch above the ground.
Pedestrians won’t be able to see the amber lights while they are crossing the street. Buttons to activate the system are on a pole-mounted control box that also features a sign that reads “Cross with Caution.”
Lindquist said construction was slated to be complete yesterday, and that the project hadn’t been held up.
The lights are some of the first in the state. The state highway department is installing the lights.
The university, in conjunction with the State Department of Highways, has made several improvements at the Lancaster Avenue crosswalk since four pedestrians were hit in three separate accidents last fall. The first of those accidents was Nov. 2 and the last was Dec. 11.
The crosswalk was relocated, aligning it with the entrance and exit of the Lancaster Parking Lot, and the southbound lane of Lancaster Avenue was reduced to one lane in order to add a pedestrian refuge. Reducing the lane width banned left turns into University Drive and the parking lot.
Those changes were completed last semester.