City in talks with DOT about crosswalks
By Michael Prochaska
The City of Madison is waiting on the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to repave a stretch of road in Madison before tackling efforts to enhance crosswalks, said City Manager David Nunn.
The GDOT repaving project will begin at the I-20 bridge and extend through town to the bypass, said GDOT Assistant Area Engineer Robert Moon. The completion date, as projected by Pittman Construction Co., is June 30, he said.
In the meantime, the city has looked into the possibility of installing flashing lights for visibility and safety on crosswalks that are not located at a lighted or controlled intersection, Nunn said. These devices would also require a button to cross.
In Jan. 2009, the GDOT installed new call buttons and pedestrian crosswalk signals in several intersections. The signals gave a countdown that informs pedestrians the exact time they have to cross the street. Not all crosswalks downtown have the countdown, however, and the city is looking into ways to make crosswalks safer, Nunn said.
In late January, two Rutledge residents were struck by a car while in the crosswalk at the intersection of South Main and Burnett streets after leaving the Madison ChopHouse Grille. One victim died after being transported to Athens Regional Hospital, while the other victim sustained serious injuries, according to the Morgan County Citizen.
The actions of the driver, Kah’deem Hashawn Chisolm, 19, Madison, is currently under investigation by the Georgia State Patrol Special Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT). The SCRT took forensic measurements the Monday following the incident to determine speed and other factors leading to the fatal accident. No charges have been filed in the incident. The SCRT could take as much as six months from the date of the accident to come back with a finalized report, Nunn said.
“The fact is, this accident – the death and the injury – is most unfortunate. It was a perfect bad storm,” Nunn said. “We hadn’t had a [serious] accident in the city in quite some time…but one is way too many.”
Since the incident, several members of the public have spoken at city council meetings and expressed concern of the close parking spaces. Nunn said he looked into a requirement that the spaces be no closer than 20 feet from the crosswalk.
“I think it’s pretty close to being compliant,” Nunn said.
Nunn said there is a space on both sides of the road where people sometimes park illegally.
“We may need to step up in enforcement to say, ‘You shouldn’t park here,’” he said.
Printed in the March 15, 2012 edition