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Columbus plans to examine the safety of its downtown crosswalks, specifically the “four corners” intersection, which includes James Street and Ludington Street. 

The Committee of the Whole discussed safety measures at its Feb. 5 meeting at city hall.

“A resident came in, voicing her displeasure with the pedestrian safety around the crosswalks in the downtown area,” said Council President Andy Traxler.

City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden worked with City Engineer Jason Lietha and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to see what could be done to improve safety at the intersection. They solution they proposed is to adjust traffic lights so pedestrians have more time to cross the street.

“There are options here for the installation of an LPI, leading pedestrian interval, which basically gives the pedestrian a little more time when the walk light goes on,” Traxler said. “It gives them a few more seconds more of a head-start before the light turns.”

Vander Sanden said adjusting the LPI would give motorists more opportunity to see pedestrians sooner. He said the DOT recommended the adjustment and Lietha said it’s a suitable option before the city looks at signage changes.

Vander Sanden said the city could reprogram the light box to include the change. He said the adjustment would cost less than $500. Vander Sanden said it’s possible the DOT could pay for the adjustments.

“It’s something I’ll look into with them,” he said.

Mayor Mike Thom said it would be wise for the city to fix the problem before an accident occurs. Council Member Trina Reid said another option would be to install a “No right turn on red” sign when pedestrians are present.

The city will move forward on finding a price quote on the LPI adjustments.

The city is also reviewing its parking regulation ordinances with attorney Paul Johnson. Johnson said the changes could allow the police chief to place no parking signs on city streets during special events.

Council members support providing a 24-hour notice for motorists, but the regulations will continue to be discussed at future meetings. In addition, the city continues to review parking regulations signage at the elementary and middle schools. The committee is working to clean up language in the proposals and will review it at the next Committee of the Whole meeting.

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