APPLETON - Near misses and one serious injury have the City of Appleton eyeing changes to some of its crosswalks on College Avenue.
Tuesday night, city engineers presented their plans for improving safety at crossings near Lawe and Drew Street by Lawrence University.
Students there say making it across the street can be like running a gauntlet.
"Cars just can't see us and especially if the car in the first lane is stopped, we can't see the second lane to see if they're going to stop for us," Lawrence student Theresa Goh said.
And that's exactly what happened in a video city engineers played to illustrate the need for change.
The clip, taken from a traffic camera in mid January, shows a Lawrence student crossing College.
One vehicle stopped for the 21-year-old, but the other struck him. He was seriously injured and taken to the hospital, prompting city leaders to take a closer look at the two mid-block crossings in the area.
"We're seeing a lot of near misses and unfortunately some pedestrians getting hit out there," engineer Eric Lom explained.
Lom says the crosswalks weren't a major problem before the College Avenue reconstruction and crashes were minimal. However, pedestrians became more aggressive after the project and problems increased.
"Some of them are very careful and some not so careful and some of the same things with the drivers," Lom said.
The redesigned area was completed in fall of 2009, but no longer meets city policy or safety needs, according to Lom.
He showed council members and school leaders a variety of options, at a variety of costs to make the crossing safer.
"We haven't had time to take a look at them and take sort of a position on the particular options but we have certainly volunteered to assist," Mike Lokensgard, an attorney for Lawrence University, said.
Engineers are urging the city to remove the existing crossings, for one centralized path. They're also calling for what's known as a pedestrian hybrid beacon.
"It's really kind of a hybrid between a traffic signal and what you might otherwise see, the yellow flashing beacons at a crosswalk," Lom explained.
All sides agree something must be done, but say progress could take time.
For Goh and other students change can't come soon enough.
"I know a couple people who have been hit by cars," she said.
The engineers recommendations could cost the city $225,000.
The municipal services committee will discuss its options next month.
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