Council: Hickory x-walk will go

The mid-block crosswalk on Hickory St. between Pennsylvania Ave. and Third Ave. is going away.

Council elected to remove the crosswalk, but keep two other mid-block crosswalks, during its Monday night meeting.

Police Chief Raymond Zydonik said that there are three mid-block crosswalks in the city that are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

The three are on Hickory between Penn. Ave. and Third Ave., Third Ave. between Liberty and Hickory and Penn. Ave. W. between Liberty St. and Market St.

Council discussed the merits of each before making a determination.

Zydonik said that the Third Ave. crosswalk is “predominantly” utilized by Blair employees who park across the street. He said that it is the “opinion of the police department that employees will continue to cross there which creates” a safety risk if removed.

A similar argument was made for the mid-block crosswalk on Pa. Ave. W., but not on Hickory St.

Zydonik explained that PennDOT guidelines suggest 300 feet from the crosswalk to either intersection in order to justify the crosswalk.

“This is not a PennDOT road,” Freenock noted. “PennDOT warrants don’t apply unless council wants to make them apply.” She said the PennDOT guideline could be perceived as a best practice.

Councilman Gregory Fraser said he agreed with the police regarding the Third Ave. crosswalk. “There is that huge attraction on the other side… the parking lot where many Blair employees park. I don’t think they will stop crossing there.” Of the other two crosswalks, Fraser said “I don’t think there’s that type of intense attraction.”

In defense of the mid-block crosswalk on Penn. Ave. W., Zydonik said that, should the city pursue a kiosk program for parking, it “may be beneficial to leave that crosswalk because it (the block) is such a long span.”

“I don’t see that type of traffic at Pensylvania Avenue West,” said Fraser.

“It is used, not as much,” Zydonik said.

Councilman John Lewis then made a motion to retain the crosswalks on Pa. Ave. and Third Ave. and eliminate the one on Hickory St.

“If you force people down to the corner of Market and Pennsylvania, that is a very difficult standpoint,” said Mayor Maurice Cashman.

Lewis’ motion passed in a 6-1 decision with Fraser voting no.

When will the ones that were kept be brought into ADA compliance?

Zydonik said on Tuesday that “it is my understanding that they will be completed this year.” He said that could include new curb ramps, painting of lines, signage and ensuring “sufficient sight distance based upon parking in the area.”