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City aims to increase pedestrian visibility

No longer will pedestrians looking to cross Bay Street have to dart across during the infrequent intervals of slow traffic.

A new pilot project commissioned by the City of Port Orchard provides those waiting to cross Bay Street at the crosswalk across from City Hall a prop — a bright orange flag similar to those used by elementary-school crossing guards the world over.

According to Public Works Director Maher Abed, his staff borrowed the idea from the cities of Kirkland and Richland after receiving instructions from the Port Orchard City Council and Mayor Kim Abel to look at ways to enhance safety at mid-block crosswalks in the downtown area.

Two posts — one on each side of the walk — that hold the flags were installed on Wednesday. Pedestrians can use the flags to maintain visibility while crossing the street, depositing the flag at the corresponding receptacle on the other end of the walk once they have successfully crossed.

The pilot program is slated to last two weeks before the city makes a decision whether or not to implement it citywide, concentrating on the crosswalks on Bay street in the downtown corridor.

“We’re trying to get the word out,” Abed said. “Hopefully people will get a chance to use the flags and give feedback so we can assess whether the project would be a success throughout the city.”

Abed encourages those who have used the new flags to write to him regarding their observations and opinions at 216 Prospect Street, Port Orchard, WA 98366 or e-mail him at mabed@ci.port-orchard.wa.us.

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Community Events, April 2014

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