Traffic engineering department now designing pedestrian refuge island, flashing beacons for Munroe Street crosswalk

For years students have had to brave the Latham Drive and Munroe Street crosswalk to get to their cars and Loehmann’s Plaza.

But those days of near accidents could be coming to a close.

On Thursday, May 28, the city of Sacramento’s traffic engineering department proposed adding a pedestrian refuge island to the crossing, along with rectangular rapid flashing beacons, according to John Perez, who works in traffic engineering. These lights would be triggered by buttons for pedestrians on either side of the road.

He said they are currently moving into the design phase of the proposed improvements.

Parent Susan Brown, who installed the fluorescent orange crosswalk flags at the crosswalk several weeks ago, likes the idea.

“We’ve got (islands with flashing lights) in our neighborhood, and they are relatively effective,” Brown said.

Another option was a “Hawk.” In that case, a traffic light would have been installed at Munroe Street, and a red light would have been triggered when a pedestrian pushes a button before crossing.

This “more aggressive” option is already in place by the UC Davis Medical Center, Brown said.

Deciding which option is best suited to a crosswalk usually depends on traffic volume, according to Brown. But since the Munroe crosswalk is considered a “direct route to a school,” the decision required more deliberation.

No matter what, Brown said she thinks something needs to be done.

“(That crosswalk) is a dangerous hot spot for students and teachers,” she said. “It is a serious accident waiting to happen.”

Parent Jason Allen, ’95, is also hoping for something to be done at the Munroe crosswalk.

In an email to a supervisor at the traffic engineering department, Allen said he always sees a student either waiting a long time to cross Munroe or crossing when traffic is still moving when he picks up his daughter from school.

And, according to Allen, the danger of crossing at Munroe isn’t a new problem – he remembers it as being a hazard in the ’80s and ’90s, too.

“The only part that has changed is (now there are) more cars traveling faster,” he said.

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