Traffic safety features added to intersection near new downtown YMCA

Traffic safety features added to intersection near new downtown YMCA

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Concerns are causing changes to be made to a downtown Evansville intersection.

Since the new downtown Ascension St. Vincent YMCA opened last Thursday, many members have to cross Court Street in addition to NW 6th Street from the designated parking lot.

There is currently no traffic signal at the intersection and we’re learning there may never be, but that doesn’t mean other changes can’t be made.

A week after it’s opening, members are adjusting to the new fitness building along with the path it takes for most to get there.

"One distracted driver and, you know, they come right through and not pay attention, most people that come during lunch are on their lunch break, so they’re in a hurry anyway. Maybe we’re not paying as much attention either,” YMCA member Kristina Kuebler explained.

The designated parking lot remains the same, but now, instead of simply walking across NW 6th Street to get to the building, visitors who park there also have to cross Court Street.

These changes are causing some concern.

"We want to make sure that we’re ensuring the safety of all of our members and community participants coming into our building now,” Lisa Verkamp with the YMCA said.

City Engineer Brent Schmitt says a traffic study will be conducted to see if a signal is necessary, but based on his experience doesn’t believe it’s likely. Instead, new pavement striping has been added and additional signage is coming too, which was approved Wednesday in the Board of Public Safety meeting.

“It’ll help bring awareness and as you mentioned, it’s been open a week, a totally new traffic pattern to everyone that typically travels through the area so as they start to see these additional improvements being made, it’s going to draw their attention,” Schmitt told 14 News. “It’s going to remind them they need to slow and be cognizant that there’s going to be a lot of pedestrians crossing this intersection.”

Schmitt hopes these changes will help ease some concern of those needing to walk across, but also alert drivers adjusting to the additional foot traffic.

"If there’s something flashing to get people’s attention, maybe at all four corners, I think that would be helpful,” Kuebler added.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration describes how dangerous distracted driving is. In 2017, more than 3,100 people were killed because of distracted driving with texting being the most alarming distraction.

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