At the intersection of West Pioneer and Seventh Ave S.W., there has been a recent addition of flashing beacons on the pre-existing crosswalk signs.
The Facilities Planning Director of the Puyallup School District, Brian Devereux, explains that the new addition is part of a project to improve the safety of Puyallup pedestrians.
“The pedestrian-activated, rapid flashing beacons installed at the existing crosswalk at West Pioneer and Seventh Ave SW were installed as part of a citywide safety improvement project by [the] City of Puyallup,” Devereux said.
Principal Eric Fredericks additionally comments on what he believes motivated the new signs.
“Sadly, in the two-and-a-half years [that] I have been here, there have been students along various parts of Pioneer that have been hit by cars or car accidents that have occurred. Pedestrians have the right of way [but] not all motorists see it that way,” Fredericks said. “I think the beauty of these crosswalks is that they [emphasize] to drivers the importance of slowing down or stopping so that pedestrians can safely cross. My hope is that [the new signs] eliminate anybody from [being] hit by an automobile [in the future].”
According to Devereux, the new manually-activated flashing beacons were prompted by their frequent use by students and community members alike.
“There was not an event that prompted the improvement that I am aware of. Rather, I believe it was a collective awareness of the frequent use of this crosswalk by students and the general community,” Devereux said.
From a student’s point of view, junior Nate Langvad claims he has not noticed a difference following the installation of the flashing beacons.
“I use the crosswalk every day [and] the lights were put up a couple of weeks ago. [But], cars seem to stop the same amount and I do not feel any safer [with the new lights],” Langvad said.
Nevertheless, Fredericks stresses the importance of the City of Puyallup’s plan on improving pedestrian and student safety.
“I have noticed, here in Puyallup in particular that motorists are not very aware of crosswalks. I appreciate the fact that the city has taken a stance on [this unawareness] by making crosswalks or crossing areas more safe. I appreciate the fact that they are making the street around our school safer for students and the community to cross [the street],” Fredericks said.
While there is no plan for additional crosswalk improvements, Devereux said there will be three more sets of beacons installed at intersections around Aylen Junior High, Meeker Elementary and Stewart Elementary.
“I am not aware of other crosswalk improvements adjacent to Puyallup High School at this time, however, the city and school district partnered for a Safe Routes to Schools grant from [the] Washington State Department of Transportation to install three other sets of flashing beacons in the vicinity of Aylen Junior High, Meeker Elementary and Stewart Elementary. I anticipate that all three will be installed and operational before summer break,” Devereux said.