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‘No more fatalities.’ City of Raleigh to finish crosswalk DOT left undone.

The pedestrian crossing signs are covered up at the intersection of South Saunders Street and Carolina Pines Avenue on Feb. 7, 2019. Carolina Pines turns into Pecan Street across Saunders.
The pedestrian crossing signs are covered up at the intersection of South Saunders Street and Carolina Pines Avenue on Feb. 7, 2019. Carolina Pines turns into Pecan Street across Saunders. ajohnson@newsobserver.com

Crosswalks approved by the state three years ago are being installed by the city this week where a pedestrian was killed last Friday.

City Council member Kay Crowder, who represents the area where the man was fatally struck, said the city couldn’t wait any longer.

“We should have no more fatalities at an intersection like this when it has been requested on numerous times to be fixed,” she said during a Tuesday council meeting. “I don’t want this to go another month not being fixed.”

A city contractor will close the intersection around 7 p.m. Thursday and work through the night to install crosswalk striping at the intersection of South Saunders and Pecan streets, said Michael Moore, Raleigh’s transportation director. The goal is to have the crosswalk functional by the morning.

Jose Amador Hernandez was hit by a vehicle while trying to cross the street around 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1. He was taken to WakeMed Hospital, but did not survive his injuries.

No charges against the driver were filed, The News & Observer previously reported.

Black plastic bags

Pedestrian signals and lights were installed at the intersection this past summer, but black plastic bags have covered the signals ever since.

The signals could not be turned on because the striping wasn’t complete, said Sean Williams, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation. The agency approved work on the intersection, which is located a few miles outside of downtown Raleigh, in 2016.

“It’s a highly used area,” Williams said. “All the safety measures have to be in place before it can open for use. We are not going to open up something that is not fully complete and safe for people to cross.”

The state has been unable to finish the crosswalks since the summer because it takes time to find a contractor, create a traffic-management plan and the weather has to cooperate to put the striping down, Williams said. The traffic management plan is used to close the street safely during the construction process.

On Monday Williams said the NCDOT would try to finish the crosswalk this week because of the warmer weather, not because someone had died.

However, at Crowder’s urging, the city of Raleigh was able to use one of its “on-call” contractors to complete the work Thursday. The city will be reimbursed by NCDOT, Moore said.

The NCDOT has been “dragging their feet” and the community has been asking for months why this intersection is not complete, said Crowder, adding there has been plenty of good weather since last summer to get the project done.

“We really are bailing out NCDOT because this is their job, and the reason we are doing it is it feels like the right thing to do to make sure our city’s citizens are safe,” she said.

Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has covered city government, crime and business for North Carolina newspapers since 2012. Reach her at 919-829-4807 or ajohnson@newsobserver.com.


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