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City plans to make Main Street intersections safer

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick managing editor

The City of Madison is in the planning stages of creating safer Main Street intersections through redesigning crosswalks and installing new and up-to-date signage in the area. The primary intersections of focus are the intersection near the ChopHouse Grille of Burnett Street and South Main Street, as well as the Intersection of First Street and West Washington Street. “We feel these intersections could be made safer,” said David Nunn, city manager. “Crossing the road will never be completely safe, but we intend to make it as safe as we possibly can.” The goal to make Main Street intersections safer was inspired by the tragic crosswalk fatality in 2012, when pedestrian Joan Deaver, 76, was struck and killed by a vehicle at the intersection of South Main Street and Burnett Street. “We never want another tragedy like that to happen again on our street,” said Nunn. The city has submitted plans to the Department of Transportation that, if approved, would result in the shortening of the crosswalks at both intersections, up to 10 feet on both sides. “The main goal is to make those crossings shorter for the folks. What that will do is that the sidewalk will then extend to the parking places, so the pedestrian will be a little more protected,” explained Nunn. The city has also put in a request for at least two electronic speed awareness signs for Main Street. The radar signs will be posted beneath speed limit signs, with an electronic screen that detects and displays the speed rate of passing drivers. According to Nunn, the contrast between the legal speed limit and how fast drivers are actually travelling usually compels the driver to slow down. “Studies have shown that these signs really curb people’s speed,” said Nunn. The permits for this project have been applied for through the DOT and are currently under review. “Engineers are either perfecting the plans or have perfected them are resubmitting the plans,” said Nunn. “When the DOT is satisfied, we can move forward with this.” The cost for this project has not yet been determined. The city anticipates that they will foot the bill for the project, but the possibility to apply for safety money grants is open. But according to Nunn, the project will be “more work and fuzz than it will cost much money.” To get the job done, the city will have to take on tree work, curb work, concreting, brick work, and paint jobs. Nunn is eager to implement these safety updates to the risky Main Street Intersections. “The timeline just depends on approval from DOT and what the scope of the cost will be,” said Nunn. “But we are going to do everything we can to get it done quickly after approval. We’ve been kicking this can long enough.”

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