Middle Schooler Suggests Church Street Crosswalk To Pierre Public Safety Committee

(KCCR) — A sixth grader at Georgia Morse Middle School in Pierre is trying to drive a change to a city street to keep her friends and others who walk to the Rawlins Library safer. Public Safety Commissioner Jim Mehlhaff asked if Charlotte “Charley” Hull could talk about the letter she sent to Mayor Steve Harding requesting the city do something to make crossing Church Street safer…

“I felt the need for this crosswalk because in the summer and even in the winter there’s lots of kids that go to the Y and library and use that as a resource and cars can go very, very fast on Church Street and many times I’ve felt unsafe crossing that road. So I wrote to the Mayor a couple years ago and asked him if it would be appropriate to have a crosswalk there.”
Mehlhaff says the Public Safety Committee heard Hull’s idea and adds Church Street is uncontrolled for its entire length from Harrison to Highland Avenue. A number of ideas have been proposed including a four way stop at Jefferson with a crosswalk or an all-way stop at the library entrance. Mehlhaff says the Committee chose an option similar to what is installed on 4th Street and Abbey Road with a solar powered push-button flashing light. Commissioner Jamie Huizenga says just a crosswalk may give kids a false sense of security…

“Just putting some paint across the street can be somewhat; it can almost be a false sense of security for kids. That’s a concern I have. Are we gonna get rid of some parking spots there? Are there gonna be bump-outs; I mean, this is; I don’t want to just run a strip of paint across there and have some little kid have the false sense of security; ‘Hey I’m in a crosswalk, I’m good to go.”
Mehlhaff says the idea has been thought-out with input from multiple sides….

“A lot of DOT personnel, as well as city staff, law enforcement all participates in the Safety Committee, so yes, we’ve…I think we’ve vetted it quite well. And it’s not a case of just slapping some paint on the ground, it will be lit, so when somebody’s going to cross, they’ll press the button and then the lights will flash, on either side, but I think most people have good situational awareness as they’re going so across the street, so I don’t think we would necessarily be leading people in the Lion’s den by putting this there.”
Formal action on the Church Street library crossing will be taken up a future Pierre City Commission meeting.