Crosswalk safety is topic of Brewster council, WSDOT discussion

Driver feedback signs suggested

BREWSTER – Drivers who use State Route 97 through Brewster have probably encountered regular use of the two principal pedestrian crossing areas near Seventh Street N. and Triangle Exxon. Employees and others make frequent use of these crossings to go back and forth from the fruit processing facilities and business district.
Crosswalk safety was one of the topics of discussion at the latest Brewster city council meeting, when Director of Public Works, Lee Webster discussed lighting and other traffic issues at the crossings.
Webster said he was contacted by a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) engineer requested comments and ideas from city officials concerning what WSDOT can do to make the crossing safer.
Council members were unanimous that driver speed feedback signs that show drivers their driving speed through restricted speed zones, would be a welcome addition.
Accordingly, council endorsed the driver feedback signs and maintenance of the existing lights at the crosswalk near the Exxon station.
“Those lights aren’t shining very well,” said Webster and attributed the problem to the need to replace the solar batteries at that location.
“Solar works great when you first start out,” said Webster but added that over time the lights can decrease in effectiveness.
WSDOT added that State Patrol sources also advised them that “the milepost 260.03 pedestrian crossing lights were not functional.”
In follow up correspondence with the WSDOT representative, Webster passed on three council recommendations:
• Placement of driver feedback signs.
• Maintain lights and batteries at crosswalks on State Route 97
• Updated lighting, batteries and controls on signs within school zones.
The age difference between the two crosswalks on SR 97 account for part of the safety issue, Webster said. The Exxon crosswalk “has been there a while,” Webster said.
The crosswalk west of Seventh Street “is brand new,” said Webster. “It works exceptionally well if people push the (crossing) button.”
Webster cited the crossing at Ferry and Bridge streets as a good example of a “great light that you can see” from many vantage points.
“But people must push the button when they want to cross,” reminded Webster. “Drivers fly up and down Bridge Street.”

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