After parent outcry, city reopens crosswalk at South Candler and East Davis streets
Parents walking their kids to Winnona Park Elementary received an unpleasant surprise this week.
The city had closed the cross walk at South Candler and East Davis Streets. A police officer turned parents away, saying the crosswalk was unsafe to use.
Earlier this week, the city notified residents that due to construction of a new signal – a High-Intensity Activated crosswalk beacon – there would be construction on sidewalks and parents should use caution. The city did not say the crosswalk would be closed, however.
A Georgia Department of Transportation official apologized to one angry parent in an email that was forwarded to Decaturish.
“I deeply apologize for the inconvenience,” the GDOT official wrote. “Our goal was to open the pedestrian hybrid beacon before the start of school. The dark poles for this historic area took longer to procure than originally anticipated. They are now scheduled to arrive by the end of the month. The contractor is working on five other locations as well, and we have indicated that this one is the highest priority.
“We have been working with the city of Decatur to encourage the community to use the adjacent intersections until the overhead beacons are in place. Frankly, the area will get worse before it gets better. Beginning Monday, the contractor will be excavating large holes for construction of the concrete footings. The footing work is expected to be finished by Aug. 13. Full construction should be complete in very early September. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience this incomplete construction is causing.”
In response to the uproar, the city announced the crosswalk would be staffed with a crossing guard during the morning and afternoon school zone hours.
In an email, City Manager Peggy Merriss said, “Unfortunately, the city was a little too proactive this morning in regards to informing parents and students that the crosswalk was closed.”
She said while the crosswalk is an active construction zone, it is still usable.
“We ask that pedestrians and cyclists, both parents and students, proceed with caution when crossing at this location,” Merriss said. “However, from time to time during construction of the HAWK, the crosswalk may be closed without notice, so please make sure you have an alternate route in mind. The city is striving to make the trip to school safe and pleasant. Please bear with us as improvements are made at this intersection.”