New Crossing Signal In Galena Creates A Safer Path For Pedestrians

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UPDATED: Thursday June 26, 2014 6:34 PM

School is out for the summer, but there's no break for the people who are working to keep kids safe.

On Thursday, a new traffic signal was activated in one school district to begin testing to make sure it’s ready for school this fall.

The signal is call a “High-Intensity Activated crossWalk,” or HAWK, signal.  A HAWK signal allows pedestrians to stop traffic only as needed.

The intersection of Big Walnut Road and Grand Oak Boulevard in Galena sees its share of traffic during the day.

But Jane Murley says its worse when children are going to school and from school.

"Our kids always wanted to ride their bikes to school, or walk, and we wouldn't allow them because they could not get across that street safely,” said Murley.

She says parents in the neighborhood complained for years about the intersection but nothing ever changed.

Now, a recent study has confirmed their fears.

Before applying for federal funds through the "Safe Routes to School Program," the Delaware County Engineer identified issues in the Olentangy Local School district that made walking or biking to school difficult.  It determined some of the funding would go towards installing a HAWK signal, at the intersection.

“It's a good fit because it is a good alternative instead of a traffic signal,” said Delaware County Traffic Engineer Michael Love.  “Less delay for the public, not stopping cars unnecessarily and, it will provide a safe crossing for the kids crossing Big Walnut."

The HAWK signal only lights when activated by a pedestrian who wishes to cross. To activate the signal, a pedestrian pushes a button which will make the traffic signal flash red, then display a steady red. 

Traffic Engineer Michael Love says the signal was turned on Thursday and will be tested over the next couple of weeks.

Murley says a good move for children.  "My kids are grown now and no longer there but I'm happy to see that they finally have some way for the kids to get across the street safely.”

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