|One Will be Improved |
|The crosswalk on Highland Avenue that serves Moyer Elementary will soon be improved with LED warning signs.|
In February Fort Thomas City Council unanimously approved a plan to improve five crosswalks with Light-Emitting Diode (LED) warning signs. Fort Thomas City Councilman John Muller initiated the idea after talking with concerned neighbors and experiencing safety issues when running school carpool with his own family. Earlier this year the Public Works Committee recommended and Council authorized $20,000 to be appropriated for the devices.
The proposed crosswalks that were to be improved included four on North and South Fort Thomas Avenues, mainly in front of schools and parks, and on Highland Avenue, in front of Moyer.
However, Fort Thomas City Administrative Officer Ron Dill says the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently denied the request for that type of signage at the four crosswalks located on Fort Thomas Avenue, also known as state route 1120.
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That state route designation is an important one, in the eyes of the Transportation Cabinet because that means that they have authority over signage, which is ultimately the reason for the denial of the crosswalks on that road.
Those denied include two crosswalks on North Fort Thomas Avenue in front of Highlands High School and Highlands Middle School, and two crosswalks on South Fort Thomas Avenue in front of St. Thomas School and Tower Park.
The City of Fort Thomas is still moving forward with plans to improve the fifth crosswalk, located on Highland Avenue, as the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet doesn't have jurisdiction over that crosswalk.
"Council approved the placement at the crosswalk on Highland Avenue that serves Moyer Elementary," Dill says. "It appears that purchasing the single device will be about $6,000."
Upon learning about the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's ruling, Muller says he was both disappointed but also quite excited. "What I've learned through work in government relations as well as on Council is things take a few election cycles to get accomplished," Muller says.
"While that is extraordinarily frustrating for us in private sector business it seems to be the price to be paid in making change in public policy."
So why the excitement?
"We will be placing one of these pedestrian, safety-enhanced crosswalks at really the only location we as a City have control over and we'll be installing it there soon," Muller says. "Second, I'm very confident our citizens will find it to be of high value and improve safety. I believe our citizens will have some influence on the policy of [the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet] and they will allow us to place these safety-enhanced crosswalks at key, un-signalized or controlled, locations around town."
The root of pedestrian safety is for motorists to honor pedestrians in the well-marked crosswalks in Fort Thomas and for pedestrians to utilize those crosswalks, Muller says. "No matter what type of devices we will use, it is up to our community to drive safely," he adds.
Muller says the new device at the Moyer crosswalk will consist of the normal crosswalk sign, a solar panel energy pack, a pedestrian call button, and an LED yellow/orange light bar. The light bar engages when activated by pedestrians and time out once the normal time it takes a pedestrian to cross the street passes. The constant flashing lights that overhang the street will be removed, which Muller says many motorists are now immune to in addition to them being outdated and unsightly.
"It is exciting this relatively simple safety move is getting this much notice," Muller says. "What a good sign for Fort Thomas."