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Crosswalk challenges concern City Council

By Meg Dickens

While crosswalks are made to be a safe place for pedestrians to cross the road, it has not been the case recently in Mountain City. Several complaints and known dangers prompted Vice Mayor Bud Crosswhite to bring up the issue during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 4. Now Council members are taking steps to protect the people better.
After a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk near Farmers State Bank a few weeks prior, this issue jumped to the forefront of concerned citizen’s minds. Now City Council members are considering dropping the speed limit to 20 miles per hour near the area starting at Fairground Lane near the high school and middle school and extending to South Church Street.
“I’ve seen it myself; people ignore them,” said Vice Mayor Crosswhite referring to the crosswalk in front of City Hall just seconds away from Mountain City Elementary School. “I believe we need a police presence in the mornings,” “I’ve stood up here at this crosswalk and seen 10 to 15 cars hammer down. They don’t even stop.”
Before dropping the speed limit, the City Council decided to try enforcing crosswalk safety more. The current plan is to place cones during the morning hours and have a police presence to ticket anyone ignoring public safety. Officers have agreed to place the cones around 7 AM and collect them later in the day. Flashing signs may be added. This design is based on Damascus, Virginia’s current system. The council estimates the cones will cost between $300 and $400.
The Mountain City Council plans to discuss this further at the March City Council meeting. The March meeting will be on Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 PM at City Hall. Everyone is welcome. Anyone who would like to address the council can sign up beforehand.