Mike McKibbin

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July 11, 2012
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New pedestrian island crossing working well

It's not the latest reality TV show, but it might be the title of one: Pedestrian Island.

Rifle residents and motorists on Railroad Avenue have recently seen the addition of a new pedestrian crossing method that doesn't use signals or signs.

A pedestrian island - also known as a refuge island or a pedestrian refuge - was built on Railroad, at the city civic center and underground parking garage structure. It allows pedestrians to safely cross the city's main street, which is also a state highway, without walking to a stop light, said Assistant City Manager Matt Sturgeon.

The funds for the project came through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs' Sustainable Main Street program the city participated in over the last year, Sturgeon said.

"They said they had some extra dollars they needed to spend before the end of the fiscal year and asked if we had anything we could accomplish for $8,000," he added.

The same contractor that worked on the safety improvement project on Colorado Highway 13 as it enters the city limits earlier this year did the work, Sturgeon added.

The island includes plants that need little water, Sturgeon said, to match the landscaping in the civic center.

Sturgeon said the island has worked "better than the crossing light we have at 4th and Railroad." That crosswalk is immediately pedestrian activated, with flashing lights in the pavement and on street poles on each corner.

"[The pedestrian island] constricts the lanes of traffic, so motorists have to slow down," Sturgeon added.

Under state law, motorists are required to stop once a pedestrian steps off a curb at a designated crossing.

The refuge on the island allows pedestrians to pause and check traffic coming from one direction, once they reach it, Sturgeon said.

"So far, it's been working real well," he added.

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 11, 2012 04:55PM Published Jul 11, 2012 04:51PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.