By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
BGSU students crossing East Wooster Street will have to worry less about dodging traffic – and motorists will have to be on their toes to not miss the four new crosswalks being added to the street.
Four pedestrian crosswalks are being installed on East Wooster Street – one by the Stroh Center, and three between the traffic lights at Manville and South College avenues.
A pedestrian safety study was conducted in the fall of 2015 around the Bowling Green State University campus, to identify locations that may need marked crosswalks.
“They took all likely crossing points,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said. “Our goal is to ensure everybody can cross the road.”
The four crosswalks, costing a combined total of $489,191, are being paid for entirely by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Though there will be three crosswalks in a very short distance between the existing crosswalks at Manville and South College streets, Fawcett said the study did not foresee any resulting traffic congestion on East Wooster Street.
“They incorporated the traffic counts in their studies,” he said.
The construction going on now on East Wooster is the underground infrastructure needed, plus markings and signage. Plans call for the signals to be installed early next year.
There are two different types of crosswalks being installed. Both types are new to Bowling Green. Two will be more traditional crosswalks with “refuge islands” in the middle of the street. The other two will be pedestrian hybrid beacons.
The two pedestrian islands, which will have 6-inch high curbs, will be located in the middle of East Wooster Street – one near Founders residence hall (just east of Manville Avenue) and the other just west of the Falcon Health Center. They will be installed this year.
The refuge islands in the middle will allow pedestrians to only worry about traffic from one direction at a time.
“The goal for the island is to give a person an opportunity to maximize their safety,” Fawcett said.
The two pedestrian hybrid beacons will be installed at the Stroh Center and across from McFall Center (just east of Troup Street.) The beacons, which remain passive unless a pedestrian wishes to cross, are activated by a push button. Once pushed, the yellow lights start flashing, followed by red lights to stop traffic.
The lights remain red for the amount of time expected for pedestrians to cross the street. Once the lights are no longer red, traffic may resume.
The pedestrian hybrid beacons will be completed in early 2018.
Motorists who drive through the crossings while the red lights are shining can be cited for violating a traffic control device, similar to a stoplight violation.
“It’s a very good example of a collaborative effort between BGSU, the city and ODOT, working on a common goal,” Fawcett said. “We’re pretty fortunate that ODOT is picking up the cost of these.”