Some crosswalks will likely go away

Mid-block crosswalks may become a thing of the past in the City of Warren.

“This is an issue that has been ongoing since I began,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said to council at Monday night’s meeting. “The crosswalks on Third (Avenue) and Hickory (Street) from Blair coming across are not legal crosswalks.”

Freenock explained that the crosswalks were not repainted this year while Police Chief Raymond Zydonik informed council that there is a meeting slated for next week between the city and Blair “to discuss the future of those crosswalks.”

“Depending on how things shake out,” Zydonik said, “we may not keep them. There is a lot of work to be done to make them reasonably compliant.”

Why are they illegal?

Zydonik cited sight distance for oncoming traffic, distance from the adjacent crosswalk, curb cuts, signage and pedestrian and vehicular traffic volume as issues that make those crosswalks illegal. “Neither of these are particularly accessible” from a handicap perspective, he added.

He explained that, when the street is next up for paving, an additional mid-block crosswalk, on Pennsylvania Avenue east of the Northwest Savings Bank construction, “will disappear because it is simply not needed. (We) would have to restrict three to four parking spaces.” He said there is not enough pedestrian traffic at that crosswalk to warrant the cost of bringing it into compliance.

Zydonik noted that similar action was taken on the mid-block crosswalk on Liberty Street when it was repaved last year.

Councilman Joe Sprentz asked if the crosswalk across Pennsylvania Avenue and Second Avenue by the fountain is in compliance. Zydonik said, because of the “bumpouts” for parking, the crosswalk is in compliance. However, he explained that those bumpouts create a problem for the Department of Public Works in regards to snow removal. “That one was put in by PennDOT,” he added.