GENEVA – A young mother of two small children asked the City Council on Monday for help in improving pedestrian safety on Third Street.
“I’ve had many conversations with my aldermen, the police department and Mayor [Kevin] Burns,” Brannon Anderson said. “I know you’ve all done a lot of work in this area … but I believe we can do just a bit better our community.”
Anderson said the only safe place to cross is at Routes 31 and 38 where the traffic lights are. She suggested a four-way stop sign at Third and Franklin streets or a pedestrian controlled traffic light.
Anderson said the temporary signs warning motorists to stop for pedestrians are not enough.
Anderson described a situation a few weeks ago in which she was walking with a 2-year-old and 5-year-old where she had to step out into the crosswalk to see if it was safe to go. When she did, her 2-year-old ran into the crosswalk.
“Cars skidded, and people screamed and he was so close to being hit,” Anderson said. “I needed to come here tonight and see if there was anything we could do ... [to] find a way to make one safe place for crossing.”
City Administrator Mary McKittrick said city officials look at Third Street traffic and pedestrian safety issues regularly in partnership with the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.
“We want to invite guests to come into the city to shop, so it’s a delicate balance in trying to accommodate the traffic, pedestrians, vehicles and be aware of safety at same time,” McKittrick said.
In order to put up stop signs, McKittrick said, the city needs criteria to justify them.
“The reason we haven’t put the stop signs there is because we can’t justify doing it legally,” McKittrick said. “There has to be a legal basis for us to enforce a law.”
“You have four-way stops with no traffic,” Anderson countered. “It feels like you’re saying, ‘Well, until somebody gets hit, we are not going to do anything about it.’ ”
McKittrick invited Anderson to meet with officials and consider some ideas.
“What data could I bring to the meeting to show there is a need for improved safety there? Is it signatures?” Anderson said. “I’m willing to do the work to show you there is citizen support for this idea.”