Press Button, Look Both Ways

Posted: February 11, 2008

South Hadley leaders joined with representatives from Mount Holyoke College Friday, February 8, to note the progress made on five revamped crosswalks along College Street (Rt. 116) that the College has worked to install to increase pedestrian safety on the busy thoroughfare. The state-of-the-art crosswalks represent a $650,000 investment by the College in the safety of both the local community and its students, faculty, and staff.

While the new crosswalks are about 95 percent complete and in service now, installation of some additional signage and final adjustments are in the works to complete the project.

South Hadley Leaders

(From left to right) Selectboard Chair John Hine, Representative John Scibak, Assistant to the President Jesse Lytle, Town Engineer Yem Lip, College Director of Facilities John Bryant, Interim Town Administrator Barry Del Castilho, Department of Public Works Superintendent James Reidy, and Police Chief David LaBrie inspected one of the new crosswalks Friday.

The new crosswalks feature a number of safety systems including signage and pavement markings, in-pavement warning lights and reflectors, additional street lighting, an audio warning system for the visually impaired, and use of granite and brick materials to signal that motorists are passing though a pedestrian zone.

"The collaboration of town officials and Representative Scibak was key to moving this project forward on the local and state levels," College Director of Facilities John Bryant noted.

In 2002, the College commissioned a traffic and pedestrian study of the affected area by F.A. Hesketh & Associates, which revealed there are 3,900 pedestrian crossings per day when the College is in session, while 800-1,200 vehicles per hour travel the roadway at an average speed of 40 mph.

In addition, of course, to checking traffic in both directions, pedestrians are encouraged to always push the crossing buttons set on ornamental posts at either end of the crosswalks to ensure safety.

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