City plans to install pedestrian upgrades at accident intersection
May 1, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
The city plans to add a flashing sign to alert motorists to pedestrians at a problematic intersection along Newport Way Northwest.
Police said a hit-and-run motorist struck and killed Troy Scholzen’s dogs, Jake and Yogi, during a morning walk March 12. The motorist struck the dogs in the crosswalk at Newport Way Northwest and Northwest Oakcrest Drive as a nearby pedestrian signal blinked.
Now, city officials plan to add another blinking sign to alert motorists, so drivers using Newport Way Northwest in both directions see the signs. Crews also plan to install reflective markers adjacent to the crosswalk to alert motorists.
Installation is expected to occur before late spring.
Scholzen’s partner, Jon Francis, said a lower speed limit for the road should accompany the additions.
“If they’re going 40, 42, 45, whatever it is, I don’t believe there’s enough time for them to stop, regardless of flashing lights,” Francis said. “If the speed limit is lowered, there’s more ability for a response time, either from the person in the crosswalk or from the driver.”
Mayor Ava Frisinger outlined the changes last month in a letter to Scholzen and Francis.
Traffic engineers conducted a speed study along Newport Way Northwest in the process to set a speed limit for the area. The study determined 85 percent of motorists using the road drove at no more than 43 to 44 mph in the posted 40 mph zone.
Frisinger cited the statistics in the letter to Francis and Scholzen.
“In addition, our professional experience indicates that lowering speeds below the level supported by an engineering study does not reduce the speed at which people drive and actually may increase it,” she continued.
In the days after the accident in the intersection, a memorial sprouted as neighbors dropped off flowers and created signs. Hart Sugarman, a resident along Northwest Oakcrest Drive, called on the city to lower the posted speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph along Newport Way Northwest near the neighborhood.
Francis said the effort to increase pedestrian safety in the neighborhood is ongoing.
“I’m still going to push for a lower speed limit,” he said.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.