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Drivers on U.S. 522 reminded to stay alert for pedestrians

July 07, 2007|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Drivers traveling on U.S. 522 in the Town of Bath are being reminded to stay alert and watch for people at crosswalks who want to get across the highway.

They also are being asked to be aware of jaywalkers.

"Drivers need to be extremely cautious while driving through town," Bath Police Chief James Minton said Thursday.

Vehicle traffic on U.S. 522, the main thoroughfare through the Town of Bath, increases in the summer months with more people walking around town.

Those circumstances could lead to an accident, and the issue was discussed at Monday's Bath Town Council meeting.

The solution might be to place small crosswalk signs in the middle of the highway, Mayor Susan Webster said.

"Crosswalks need to be manned for a sting, and I'm willing to participate," Councilman David Crosby said in the meeting. Cars are not stopping and people could be struck, he said.

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"People are jaywalking all the time," Crosby said.

In addition to three stoplights, the town has six crosswalks available to allow people to get across U.S. 522 without having to walk to a light.

Minton said John Coleman, Morgan County superintendent of the West Virginia Department of Highways (DOH), was contacted for permission since the signs cannot be placed unless they are approved by the DOH.

"The town has a large amount of traffic on (U.S.) 522," Minton said. "This is a problem, and it is a very dangerous situation because all we have now are painted crosswalks, and we need to better alert drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks."

"I have received numerous complaints from citizens, and council members have also complained," he said.

Minton said jaywalking has increased, and people are "darting from between parked cars, which is extremely dangerous."

"Pedestrians need to be aware they must use the crosswalks or cross at the lights," Minton said.

Beginning this month, Minton said, "We will be strictly enforcing these issues, and people will be cited for these violations."

Coleman said he is checking with the traffic engineering technician at DOH district headquarters in Burlington, W.Va., regarding placement of crosswalk signs.

The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.

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