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City plants ‘bulb-outs’ on Bay St.

Downtown Port Orchard is getting a bit of a makeover this spring, but it’s all about safety, not looks.

For the past couple of weeks, orange vests and cones have sprouted up on Bay Street as crews have begun to overhaul the Frederick Avenue intersection into a decidedly more pedestrian-friendly crossing.

City engineer Larry Curles said the work — which includes expanding the sidewalks and turning the crosswalk into a lighted pathway — is “pretty much on schedule and there have been no major surprises.”

The project should be completed by the middle of next month, Curles said, and until then motorists should expect to encounter flaggers and slight delays.

“It’s just one of those inconveniences we have to deal with,” he said.

Funded in large part by a $162,000 Federal grant, the improvements are designed to make crossing Bay Street at Frederick Avenue much safer for those on foot.

The sidewalks will extend more than eight feet into the intersection via a series of “bulb-outs,” which not only create a “choke-point” that slows down traffic and puts drivers on alert, but also make pedestrians easier to spot.

Another addition that will give pedestrians more visibility are flashing lights the crews plan to embed in the crosswalk. Sensitive to movement, the lights will automatically turn on when someone begins to walk across the intersection, and will be bright enough to attract the attention of motorists during the day and at night.

The crosswalk at Bay and Frederick came under city scrutiny after a woman was struck by a car there in 1999.

According to old police records, the woman was not badly injured, but the city was worried — crosswalks are supposed to be safe places to cross the street.

City officials concluded visibility was a major factor in the collision and began planning ways to make crossing pedestrians more obvious to passing cars.

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