Traffic engineers get creative to protect pedestrians near ballfields


by David Ham, 13News

Posted on September 13, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 13 at 6:41 PM

CHESAPEAKE--Traffic engineers are getting creative to keep kids safe near new ballfields that will open next Spring.

Along with a crosswalk, a crossing arm is being installed on Bainbridge Boulevard near Barnes Road in South Norfolk.
"We have come up with what is known as a hawk signal. Basically that is a pedestrian signal when activated will stop traffic on Bainbridge Boulevard and will allow pedestrians to cross," said Earl Sorey, acting director of Chesapeake Public Works.
Rosie Decker lives across the street from the planned ballfields.
"I want to make sure as a mom that they're being taken care of, that they're not gonna get hit by somebody flying through here because not everybody obeys the speed limit," said Decker.
Kevin Amick of the South Norfolk Civic League says residents worked with the city to make the crossing safer.
Sorey says the approximately $80,000 crossing system is the first of its kind in Chesapeake and its a lot of money.  A traffic signal would have cost about $250,000.
It was a solution engineers came up with specifically for this location.
"We didn't want to install a signal and hope that kids would actually walk down another block or two and push the button and cross the street.  It's going to be opposite the main entrance to the park. That's where they're going to cross. They're much more likely to stop and push the button," said Sorey.
The crosswalk is expected to be fully functional by this fall.