A new flashing sign now is visible to drivers traveling up God’s Acre, alerting motorists approaching from both Park Street and the Wayside Cross that a pedestrian has entered the intersection at the crest of the hill.
Installed recently, the “LED pedestrian crossing signs” use wireless, solar-powered push-button technology to trigger a roadside warning for drivers as they approach the difficult, busy crosswalk near St. John’s Place.
“It’s just such a unique area because the hill being as it is, it is truly blind,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said.
The equipment cost about $11,000 and was installed two Thursdays ago by the Department of Public Works, according to Tiger Mann, assistant director of DPW.
“We wanted to get it in before school, because school will begin and then church will be even busier,” Mann said.
Flagged as a hazard two years ago, the challenge of getting pedestrians safely across the intersection of Park Street and St. John’s Place has undergone wide discussion and a series of short-term solutions, officials said.
The original crosswalk there went diagonally from the St. John’s corner near the Congregational Church to the east side of Park Street just up from the parking lot entrance.
Traffic officials did away with that crosswalk and replaced it with two shorter crosswalks at 90-degree angles, adding additional roadside signage and then installing stand-up signs in the middle of the road urging motorists to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Mallozzi and Mann said that the flashing signs are clearly visible to motorists traveling toward God’s Acre and that although the crossing sign is new, drivers are expected to become accustomed over time to looking for them.