Norton City Manager Fred Ramey said Monday that work will begin in a week on pedestrian crossings along Park Avenue at 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th streets as part of a $328,000 Virginia Department of Transportation Pedestrian Safety Action Plan grant.
Some of the existing crossings at the four intersections do not comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines for disabled access, Ramey said. In all cases, the existing crossing ramps will be rebuilt to ADA standards. In several cases, the ramps also are near above-ground utility features such as light poles and traffic signal junction boxes, he said, and crosswalks affected by those features may be realigned at slight angles across the streets.
“We’ll try to keep them as perpendicular to the streets as we can,” Ramey said.
Since the crosswalk improvements will involve pavement and curb demolition, temporary crosswalks are being marked at mid-block along downtown Park Avenue, Ramey said. Each of the crossings has temporary curb ramps on either end and road warning markings on oncoming traffic lanes. Additional crosswalk warning signs will be posted at each of the temporary crossings.
“The crossings are not for regular use but for pedestrians when demolition blocks the intersection crossings,” Ramey said. “As soon as the project is completed, the temporary crossings will be removed.”
The project is slated for completion by early September.
Ramey said the temporary crossings were also part of a series of VDOT traffic proposals unveiled early this year for possible traffic changes in the downtown area. While city council later asked VDOT to prepare estimates on traffic improvements in other areas of the city, Ramey said the temporary crossings give city officials a chance to see how they would work with existing traffic patterns.
“From a pedestrian standpoint, you should be aware and look both ways before crossing,” Ramey said, “We encourage drivers to be aware, too.”