Home News Local News Flashing lights will soon make crosswalk safer
Flashing lights will soon make crosswalk safer
COVE — Flashing strobe lights will soon provide some much-needed safety to a dangerous Cove intersection.
Four Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons will be placed in the vicinity of the crosswalk on Highway 237 between Cove Elementary School and Cove High School this fall.
“Our hope is to have them up in October before the snow flies,” said Patty McClure, a member of the Cove School Board and the Region 5 traffic safety coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Cove School District Superintendent Bruce Neil is delighted that the project will soon come to fruition.
“(The crosswalk) will be safer for our kids. We are excited about it,” Neil said.
Two of the beacons will be placed a number of feet apart at the Dollars Market corner, which southwest bound motorists round before reaching the crosswalk.
The beacons will flash when people are crossing the crosswalk, which motorists cannot see until they go around the bend.
“It is a blind corner,” McClure said.
Two beacons will also alert drivers approaching the crosswalk from the east when there is pedestrian traffic.
All four of the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons will flash when anyone pushes a “walk” button at the crosswalk, two of which will be installed as part of the project. The intent of the project is to get drivers to exercise more caution at the crosswalk site when pedestrians are present.
“We want them to slow down,” McClure said.
The total cost of the flashing beacons project will be about $68,500.
The need for the beacons became apparent about two years ago when two children were almost hit by a vehicle while on the crosswalk. The close call occurred when a man parked his pickup in the crosswalk near its south edge and let his children out. The driver of a vehicle then swerved around the parked pickup and almost hit two children in the crosswalk. The driver did not see the children until he was a few feet away.
“It was a near miss,” McClure said.
Representatives from the school district, the city and ODOT met soon after the near tragedy to discuss what could be done to make the crosswalk safer. The representatives agreed that Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons were needed and began working to obtain them.
The beacons will serve a crosswalk that has about 1,000 crossings a day during school days, according to school and ODOT officials.
Students who deserve credit for helping the safety project move forward, McClure said, include Luke Bundren who graduated from Cove High School in May.
Bundren was doing his senior project on safe walking and biking to school. The work he did included going into Cove Elementary School and giving presentations to students about the crosswalk and its dangers.
Hanna Hulse, who will be a junior at Cove High School this fall, will be assisting with the crosswalk light work for her senior project now that Bundren has graduated.