Officials in Lander are considering options for pedestrian safety enhancements at the intersection of Main Street and Baldwin Creek Road after a 9-year-old bicyclist was injured there last month.
Community members “stepped up really quickly” to volunteer as crossing guards at the intersection after the incident took place, Lander Police Department chief Scott Peters told the Lander City Council during a regular meeting this week – but that was only a “short-term fix.”
Now, he said, the local school district has “stepped in” to provide their own crossing guards in the area.
“Hopefully that’s more of a long-term (solution),” Peters said. “It sounds like the school is taking it over now, when it comes to the crossing guard part.”
The city is also working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation on potential signaling changes – at that intersection and elsewhere, public works director Lance Hopkin said.
For example, he said, traffic signals could be set so there are times when all vehicles must stop and only pedestrians may proceed.
“Breaking out those movements in an intersection can happen,” Hopkin said, though he added that the “sacrifice” in that situation would be “slowing down vehicles,” which already get “backed up” on Main Street.
Another idea is to install an audible signal that turns on when pedestrians are in the crosswalk, Councilmember Dan Hahn said.
The “audible crosswalk” concept came up during a Sept. 6 meeting about the Baldwin Creek intersection.
Minutes from the meeting indicate that a “sight-challenged pedestrian” attends Lander Valley High School, so the Baldwin Creek intersection “meets warrants” for an aduible crosswalk.
Other “work items” noted during the Sept. 6 meeting include:
-Lengthening the pedestrian walk time across Main Street
-Evaluating the signals at Ninth Street and Baldwin Creek Road
-Adjusting traffic patterns on Baldwin Creek Road, including adding a dedicated bike lane and removing the four-lane roadway
-Reviewing the permit for the coffee shop in the parking lot near the intersection of Baldwin Creek Road and Main Street
On Tuesday, Councilmember Melinda Cox also asked about extending the curb at the intersection so pedestrians have less highway to cross.
Hopkin said all options would be considered for implementation, along with other community education and traffic enforcement efforts.
“This is giving us a chance to go back and re-evaluate,” he said. “We’re looking not just at this incident but what can be done to make (the city) safer all the way around.”
Safe Streets for All
Assistant mayor RaJean Strube Fossen pointed out that improvements to the Baldwin Creek intersection are included in the list of projects that could be funded through the $3.12 million Safe Streets for All grant Lander is applying for.
The city council unanimously approved a second resolution Tuesday supporting the grant application.
Strube Fossen said this week’s resolution included more “specific language” than the previous document, indicating, for example, that if the grant is approved it will require a $780,000 match from the city over a five-year period.
The matching money would come out of Lander’s 1 percent optional sales tax fund, she said.
“We currently have a healthy account on our 1 percent tax,” Strube Fossen said. “And our annual tax contribution to 1 percent is between $1.1 million and $1.2 million a year. So I don’t see any problem meeting that five-year commitment for $780,000.”
Lander’s 1 percent fund currently contains more than $4 million, Hopkin said.
He noted that the money could be used to “leverage” tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure grants, allowing the city to “get more (work) done.”
“You should feel secure about that and feel good about your planning,” he said.
For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.