Pasquotank and Elizabeth City officials have settled on a crosswalk design for the busy road near the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Senior Center.
After hearing a presentation from city Public Utilities Director Amanda Boone, Pasquotank commissioners Monday signed off on a plan to place a crosswalk at the corner of Church and Water streets.
The crosswalk will feature three enhanced safety features: a six-inch-high island in the middle of Church Street; protective posts; and a pedestrian-activated warning signal that would slow traffic entering Church Street from Water Street.
The island will be six feet wide and stretch 20 feet down Church Street from Water Street, allowing pedestrians to pause while crossing Church Street.
The signal would alert drivers making a right turn off Water Street onto Church Street that a pedestrian is using the crosswalk.
“This will accomplish the goal we all have, and that is to get our seniors safely across the road,” Boone said. “This is a traffic-calming design for Church Street.”
The city first presented to the county a plan to build a raised and lighted mid-block crosswalk on Church Street to allow access to the senior center from the city’s parking lot at the corner of Church and Water streets.
City officials later balked at the idea, however, citing various reasons, including safety concerns and potential drainage and ponding issues at the site.
Boone said she opposed a mid-block crosswalk because of safety concerns. She said the latest proposed crosswalk is the best way to get seniors to the center’s entrance on Water Street. The island, Boone said, will slow traffic entering Church Street.
The vertical posts will be steel or concrete filled and have a reflective sleeve. The marked crosswalk across Church Street will be 10 feet wide.
“Right now, the cars go around the corner at a very quick pace,” Boone said. “You will be slowed down to make that turn. There will be bollards (short vertical posts) there that will protect anyone waiting in the center (on the island), and they will be reflective and highly visible. (Pedestrians) can go halfway across, stop and look both ways, and then go again. We have a pedestrian haven there.”
The plan also adds three parking spaces on Church Street near the Poindexter Street intersection. The spaces not only will increase parking; they’ll also slow the speed of traffic on the street.
The joint city-county Senior Center, located in the former Daily Advance building at the corner of Church and Water streets, opened March 6 but closed a week later because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has not been able to reopen under the state’s current pandemic restrictions. Officials said it will reopen shortly after the state moves to Phase 3 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening plan. That could be as early as the second week of October.