Olympia pedestrian’s concerns spark traffic analysis

Staff writerFebruary 6, 2014 

The current crosswalk at Union and Cherry is marked by white lines painted on the road and is flanked by a yellow diamond-shaped sign.

ANDY HOBBS — Staff writer

Wesley Shockey fears for his safety every time he crosses Union Avenue Southeast.

The Olympia resident lives in a nearby apartment on Cherry Street and crosses the busy arterial to reach his bus stop.

“I’ve almost gotten hit,” said Shockey, who is also concerned about other pedestrians at the intersection. “It’s pretty scary.”

Shockey, who has cerebral palsy, relies on public transportation to run errands or attend college classes. He must walk everywhere else. The current crosswalk at Union and Cherry is marked by white lines painted on the road and is flanked by a yellow diamond-shaped sign. There are stoplights and crosswalks a block away in both directions at Jefferson and Plum streets.

Shockey expressed his concern about the crosswalk at a recent Olympia City Council meeting. In response, the city began conducting studies at the site to determine whether additional safety enhancements are needed.

The studies will examine criteria such as traffic count, traffic speeds, collision history, street lighting and pedestrian behavior, said Randy Wesselman, transportation engineer and planning manager for the city. The study is still in the early stages, he said, and a decision on the crosswalk is expected in the next few weeks.

“Pedestrian safety is very important to us,” Wesselman said.

According to the city’s Traffic Count Summary Report from 2000-2011, the stretch of Union Avenue between Jefferson and Plum streets attracts nearly 11,000 vehicles daily. The speed limit is 25 mph.

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Note: The traffic count has since been corrected. Click here for the city's report.

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