Safety Committee Continues Talks on Broadway Pedestrian Crossings

The Highway Safety Committee continues to explore options for a tricky crossing from the Santander Bank/McAllister Court area to the other side of East Broadway.

The committee reviewed a letter from State Rep. John O’Connor, R-Derry, in which O’Connor, also vice-chair of the Planning Board, suggested a solar-powered Pedestrian Crosswalk Signal he had seen at a conference. O’Connor said he was impressed with the effectiveness of the LED lights when activated.

O’Connor said the difficulty of pedestrians trying to cross Broadway has been brought up in different forums over the years, and the Downtown Committee has been advised of the difficulty of theater patrons leaving the Opera House and trying to cross Broadway at night.

O’Connor said he has not researched the cost and thinks the Department of Public Works could effect a better “deal” than he could, but added he would get more information from the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.

Superintendent of Operations Alan Cote observed that the device in question is pedestrian-activated. It is not a “walk” signal, he said, but rather a signal to approaching drivers.

Cote suggested the device could be considered in next year’s budget.

The group discussed having a crosswalk sign on the side of the road, but Cote observed that it would not be as effective as the freestanding signs he puts in the middle of the street, such as the one at the Derry Public Library.

“Is there a concern about backed-up traffic?” member Tom Landers asked.

Cote said that wasn’t an issue because this would be a warning light, not a stoplight.

He is reluctant to put a sign on a post downtown, noting that the department took down “hundreds of posts” during its last downtown rehab.

“Maybe we could attach a sign to an existing lamppost,” he said.

Cote admitted he was frustrated with putting up crosswalk signs. “Signs,” he said, “are typically used for something that’s not evident. Crosswalks are their own evidence.”

The issue in Derry, he said, is “a lack of adherence to the law. I’m not sure a sign would be any more effective.”

The committee agreed to table the issue and study it further.