Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor

East Avenue road construction has included the addition of a new traffic control system, bus shelter upgrades, crosswalk improvements and installation of additional safety features.

August 22, 2018

East Avenue Construction to Improve Pedestrian Safety Nears Completion

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The last of the construction on East Avenue between Tower Road and Campus Road that began on April 2 is scheduled to be completed on Monday.

The final touches include installing road pavement, placing raised road crosswalks, applying road striping, adding two bus shelters and “landscaping touch up as needed,” said Alex Chevallard, the project manager overseeing the rehabilitation.

Chevallard told The Sun the project was undertaken to “improve safety, visibility and accessibility for pedestrians.” Aside from addressing safety concerns, the project also sought to address utilities that “required immediate replacement or modification.”

There have been incidents in the past of pedestrians being struck by vehicles on East Avenue.

Most recently, The Sun previously reported that a college-aged woman was struck on the crosswalk in front of the Statler Hotel by a white Honda CR-V last August. She was taken to Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania, for treatment.

Other pedestrian accidents occurred in 2011 and 2009 in incidents related to alleged failure of drivers to yield the right of way.

Chevallard detailed many of the changes made to East Avenue over the summer. At the intersection of Campus Road and East Avenue, an “improved” turning radius for ease of turning and new traffic signals have been installed. The right-hand turn lane was removed to allow for a bus pull-off.

A new traffic control system has been added which “will be monitored and adjusted to provide for safe and efficient movement of people and vehicles,” the website of the University’s Special Conditions Information said.

Among the new installments is a new bus pull-off across Statler Hall, which includes a bus shelter with new lighting and “NextBus technology” — which displays continuously-updated arrival information on a monitor — and ramps that adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The crosswalks have been raised in two locations to aid drivers in pedestrian visibility and increase accessibility. The raised crosswalks also help lower driver speeds to decrease the risk of collisions.

Work was also undertaken to improve areas surrounding the roadway itself. Sidewalks were widened on both sides of the streets from six feet to eight feet to help the flow of pedestrians, and trees were replaced with “improved soils for tree growth.”

Other changes include better lighting for pedestrians on both sides of the street that match other gothic lighting fixtures on campus and other infrastructure improvements.

East Avenue and crosswalks from Tower Road to Campus Road were opened partially from Aug. 17-19 to facilitate the flow of traffic during fall opening.

According to the website of Cornell University’s Special Conditions Information, “the roadway, crosswalks, bus pull offs, and bus shelters will re-open on Monday, August 27.”

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit buses whose original routes include East Avenue will still use the detours for routes through August, according to the TCAT website.