Cary, state to install light at intersection

Staff WriterJuly 9, 2009 

CARY - Two weeks after the death of a 16-year-old girl at an intersection near Cary Park, town officials and the state Department of Transportation have agreed on plans to try to make the crossing safer for pedestrians and drivers alike.

A traffic signal and pedestrian features, including crossing lights with countdown timers, will be installed at the intersection at Green Level to Durham Road and Cary Glen Boulevard within 60 days, the town announced today. Such a project usually takes up to six months, but city and state officials said they hope to expedite the process.

In addition, Cary officials will conduct a long-term study of traffic in the corridor on Green Level to Durham Road between Morrisville Parkway and McCrimmon Parkway in hopes of relieving other driver and pedestrian concerns, said Director of Engineering Tim Bailey.

“We did receive a lot of feedback from citizens in the area about travel patterns along that corridor, complaints about things like people speeding or pedestrian travel paths, that aren't completely addressed with the installation of a traffic signal,” Bailey said. “We want to help deal more broadly with the citizen concerns that we saw and create a better opportunity for more citizen feedback.”

The push for a traffic signal from Cary Park residents came in response to the death of Kailee Nicole Birdsong on June 22. Birdsong, 16, was killed after the car she was riding in swerved to avoid another vehicle and she was thrown. In the week following her death, Cary Park residents organized a protest march, which they called Light for Life, and were active at town meetings.

Town officials gathered traffic counts over the Fourth of July holiday and sent those reports to DOT, which deemed them high enough to merit a traffic signal at the intersection. Bailey said the counts were higher, but not significantly higher, than earlier data used to determine that a light was unnecessary.

Green Level to Durham Road and the Cary Glen intersection are owned and maintained by the state, and DOT will install the traffic signal poles. The signalization will cost Cary $60,000, while the corridor study will cost an additional $50,000.

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