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Roanoke requests funding to make Williamson Road safer for pedestrians

City leaders apply for state funding to improve three intersections

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke city leaders are trying to make roads safer for pedestrians, especially one that VDOT considers a hot spot for pedestrian safety issues: Williamson Road.

"They’ll be running across the streets in traffic," said Joe Ann Hodnett, who lives in Roanoke.

The areas of most concern along Williamson Road are intersections with Compton Avenue, Truman Avenue/Broad Street and Preston Avenue/Epperly Avenue.

"Pedestrians crossing Williamson Road is hectic at best. It would be a fabulous thing if we didn't have people that had to dodge cars," executive director for the Williamson Road Area Business Association Wendy Jones said.

Jones said she's always worried about pedestrians, especially near schools.

"You’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head, almost, to make sure you're getting across, and if anybody is crossing at those intersections down there, which is highly possible with younger children or older people, that's quite something to think about. You've got to pause for that one," Jones said.

That's why Roanoke city leaders are trying to fix the problem, applying this week for state funding to improve those three intersections.

"We don't want any pedestrians to get hit. We want motorists to have expectations that pedestrians will cross at intersections. We want pedestrians to understand their responsibilities to actually cross where they're supposed to," Roanoke transportation division manager Mark Jamison said.

City leaders want to install pedestrian signals, push buttons and crosswalks to keep everyone safe.

"We want it to be pedestrian-friendly. So we just now need to give them the tools to be able to get across the street,” Jones said.

The city is also requesting funding to add more countdown signals at crosswalks downtown. City leaders should find out whether they receive the funding in the spring.


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