“Less of a ‘Frogger’ kind of scenario for folks trying to cross:” Officials warn drivers to slow down at reopened Evansville intersection

Drivers beware: New speed table in place near Vann and Walnut
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 11:05 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - After a month of work, Vann Avenue between the Lloyd Expressway and Lincoln Avenue is back open, at least partially, with a few new changes. Notably, a new bump in the road.

“We’re trying to create a safe space for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross Vann Avenue,” says Evansville City engineer, Michael Labitzke.

Their solution is a brand new “speed table” now resides at the intersection of Vann and Walnut. Think of an extended speed bump that’s flat in the middle, and you’ve got the idea.

Labitzke says it’s part of the East end of the Walnut Street Improvement Project and they put it there for good reason.

Drivers we’ve spoken with say they don’t notice the good reason the speed bump has been put there for and are hitting it too hard unfortunately.

“It’s a reduced design speed right here at the intersection of 20 miles per hour,” explains Labitzke, “the regular street speed is 30, so just to slow down to 20 miles per hour so it’s just a safe place for everybody to move.”

Along with the table, they installed pedestrian switches with a warning light that can be activated when people want to cross Vann. The table is just an extra safety measure according to Labitzke.

“Just makes it less of a ‘Frogger’ kind of scenario for folks trying to cross,” says Labitzke, “it’ll slow traffic down permanently, so that pedestrians and bicyclists can make a safe decision.”

Of course, Labitzke knows this is a unique concept, especially for this specific area. He hopes in time though, that drivers will get used to it and says he believes it’ll prove its usefulness.

“This component of the project is a first for Evansville, a speed table at a non-stop-controlled area,” says Labitzke, “it’s a little bit of a culture shift, culture change that’s happening with this project. So just slow down, pay attention to the stripping, pay attention to the signing, and just go 20 miles per hour here. It’ll be great for everybody.”

Labitzke says they’ve elected to keep the outside lanes closed for the time being to keep an eye on how the speed table works and to make sure it’s safe for everybody.

All day, 14 News watched as people approached the bump at above the listed 20 miles-per-hour speed limit, bottoming out and scraping their cars.

As for the Walnut Street Project itself, which this particular intersection is a part of, he says they’re looking to have the entire project wrapped up by the end of the year.