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DOT engineer promotes crosswalk plan

Changes to the crosswalks in Downtown Mocksville should be completed by the end of April.

N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) division maintenance engineer John Rhyne told town board members earlier this month that the plan for crosswalks at Main and Depot streets is the safest option for pedestrians.

The project is expected to cost $76,000, and will include a bumped out curb at the newly created and marked crosswalks, which will be equipped with a button for pedestrians to push to stop traffic.

The current crosswalks on both ends of court square are “non compliant,” Rhyne said. “Hopefully, this will improve the situation. That project has been too long in coming.”

Board member Amy Vaughan-Jones said something needs to be done in the interim. April will be a year since a pedestrian was killed and another seriously injured while crossing Main Street at one of the current crosswalks.

“I am extremely worried,” she said. “This is a troubling thing.” She said people are in a habit of crossing at the wrong places, and the town should do something, such as putting a sign in the middle of the street to slow traffic, as is done on Sunday mornings at churches along Main Street.

Rhyne said the DOT will not put out such signs, especially if at a non-compliant crosswalk. “You’ll get subjective comments about whether they work or not,” he said, adding that the town could be liable if the sign damaged a vehicle.

“I would not want more people to feel comfortable at that crosswalk. Is it a longer walk? Yes. But it will be much more focused and safe. The parking there (at the current crosswalk) makes it more difficult to see.”

Vaughan-Jones disagreed. “A piece of plastic vs. a child? I know where I’m going to stand.”

The board asked Town Manager Matt Settlemyer to work with Rhyne to try to come up with a temporary solution before the new crosswalks are constructed.

Mayor Will Marklin offered some advice. “Always look both ways. Those crosswalks don’t make cars stop.”