The Examiner

Pleasantville Taking Steps to Make Village Safer for Pedestrians

We are part of The Trust Project

By Jade Perez

Pleasantville Village Trustee Nicole Asquith holds one of the Pedestrian Safety Committee’s “Slow Down, Look Up” signs to help promote strategies to make the village safe for those who walk.

The Pleasantville Village Board was presented with ideas to improve pedestrian safety last week as a group of residents hope to encourage and promote more walking in the community.

The village’s Pedestrian Safety Committee presented on May 13 the results of a recent an online survey it conducted addressing how residents move around Pleasantville and what areas should be improved.

Responses from 653 people revealed that 44 percent of residents walk three to five times a week. Vehicular speed and traffic are the two major areas of concern for pedestrians.

Three intersections where respondents called for safety improvements are Bedford Road and Marble Avenue, Manville Road near the Saw Mill Parkway and Manville Road and Washington Avenue.

Samantha Hoover, a village resident and committee member, said there were several other concerns among survey respondents.

“Some people are saying that speed limits are not held to, pedestrians walk with no awareness for moving traffic, you can’t let children walk alone, you can’t be seen at night and cars don’t stop at pedestrian crosswalks especially on Bedford and (during) the evening rush hour,” Hoover said.

The committee has already met with Police Chief Erik Grutzner about speed tracking and enforcement, particularly in those key areas. Committee members have also engaged the Department of Public Works (DPW) in hopes of seeing lighting and signage improvement.

With the committee’s “Slow Down, Look Up” campaign, they also hope to raise awareness of the dangers to drivers and pedestrians and work to create a safer environment. The committee has researched what other towns have been doing to promote pedestrian safety and has ideas, including pedestrian flags and high-visibility crosswalks.

According to Hoover, pedestrian flags are effective and relatively easy to install. The walker would pick up a flag from a bucket, cross the street and leave the flag in a bucket on the other side of the crosswalk.

“This just brings attention to the walker and gives them a little more power, especially for kids, but really for anybody,” Hoover said. “So I think that’s something we should consider.”

The practice is used in Bridgeport, Conn., Salt Lake City, Seattle and many other municipalities across the country, she said.

Another strategy to give more attention to the walker are high-visibility crosswalks, which would involve painting it a color that would catch motorists’ attention.

“Right now, coming off the effects of winter, the crosswalks, some of them, are really faded and we sort of ignore them, some more than others,” Hoover said. “But some of them are only half faded and don’t really mark the space that well. So I think it doesn’t necessarily have to be rainbow, but I think if we picked a bold color that could go a long way in empowering the pedestrian.”

While the high-visibility walk was favored by several officials, particularly Trustee Nicole Asquith, DPW Superintendent Jeff Econom said it may be difficult to paint the crosswalks because they have to follow the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Therefore, the village is limited on what materials can be used on the roads, he said.

Econom noted that the county will be working on Bedford Road next year and the DPW has plans to help make pedestrians more noticeable to drivers.

“What we’re doing at the DPW, the center island at the Bedford-Marble (intersection), we put a light on the top of the head button, and the center of the island we’re getting a couple more lights near Tutor Time,” Econom said. “And by Memorial Plaza we’re getting lights on top of those head buttons, which will give more light to pedestrians at that intersection.”

Also, the police department is assigning officers to the three intersections cited by respondents in the survey for one-hour shifts to practice traffic enforcement. The department has established posts at those locations to make the officers more visible in hopes of increasing enforcement and safety.



We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.