City plans pedestrian safety improvements to Duvall Avenue near where teen was injured

Plans are under way to improve road quality and pedestrian safety on Duvall Avenue, south of Sunset Avenue, near where 17-year-old Mariah Boehm was injured in a car vs. pedestrian accident May 29.

Public Works Administrator Gregg Zimmerman on Monday gave a special report to the City Council highlighting some of the plans for that roadway.

Of primary concern to pedestrians is the planned installation of a “HAWK” signal at the crosswalk at Northeast 12th Street.

Boehm was injured in the 800 block of Duvall Street.

The HAWK light, an acronym for “High-intensity Activated crossWalK,” features a pair of red lights that can be triggered to red to warn drivers of a pedestrian.

Zimmerman said that area has had several accidents and near-misses in recent years and is heavily trafficked by students walking to and from Hazen High School. Because of that, it has been targeted for the new signal.

“We think that crossing needs a higher level of safety because of its history,” he said.

The new signal will be paid for as part of a $240,000 state safety grant. Along with the HAWK signal, the city plans to use the money to install pedestrian countdown signals at 20 intersections throughout the city.

Zimmerman said the project design is nearly completed and the city plans to send it to bid in July with installation expected by December.

Zimmerman said the hope is that the red lights on the signal will get drivers’ attention better than flashing yellow lights.

“When they see the red, which the HAWK Signals have, there’s a lower likelihood they’ll drive right through it,” Zimmerman said of drivers.

Zimmerman said the city also hopes to replace the pavement on Duvall Avenue between Northeast Fourth and Northeast 12th, but the project did not rank highly in the most recent round of grant applications and may have to wait.

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