At Monday evening's City Council meeting, council members voted to approve a low-bid to build a new crosswalk in downtown. It will go on Crogan Street near the free parking garage and the Visitors’ Center.
Business owners and shoppers alike are thrilled by the news.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen! This is wonderful!” said Lynn Hinds enthusiastically.
Hinds is the owner of Magnolia’s on the Square.
“I’ve had so many customers going ‘why do they not put a crosswalk from the garage?’ So this is going to be great news for my customers!”
Hinds said several customers had complained about the dangers of trying to cross Crogan Street.
For now, downtown shoppers who park in the free downtown garage and want to go to the shops directly across the street have limited options. Either walk a block in either direction and cross at Clayton or Chestnut Streets and then double back, or play a game of human Frogger—Hurrying across the street in the middle of the road, praying an oncoming vehicle doesn’t hit them.
“Although the speed limit’s 25, they do 35 and 40,” said David Thomason, Hinds’ business associate. “They come off that red light down there [at the intersection of Crogan and Clayton] like it’s a drag strip and go as fast as they can.”
“It will help customers get across the street safely,” said Leslie Maske, owner of Niko’s Wine Corner. The wine and beer shop is directly in front of where the proposed crosswalk would go.
Keri Frega of Lawrenceville came to the square to buy some items at Sparkle! Frega is glad a crosswalk is coming close to the area of this store. “It will get more people downtown,” said Frega. “We’ve been talking about how dangerous it can be when the cars fly through here, so maybe it will make people more aware.”
On this shopping trip, Frega was fortunate to find a free parking spot on the same side of the road as the shops. However, she has parked in the garage many times and has had to dodge traffic to get to some of her favorite stores. “It’s dangerous getting across the street sometimes,” said Frega.
The winning bidder was Republic Intelligent Transportation with a bid of $63,215. Plans are for it to be paid through either the General Fund or SPLOST Funds.
During the City Council meeting Monday, City Engineer Paul Austin described what the new crossing would look like and how it would work. There would be a button pedestrians could press when they were ready to cross. The traffic light at the crossing would turn red, stopping oncoming vehicles and allowing people to safely cross Crogan Street. If there is no one at the crosswalk, the light will stay green and traffic will flow normally.
The City of Lawrenceville has not yet set a date for when this project will begin.
Do you think the new crosswalk will help draw more customers to Downtown businesses or is it a waste of government money? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.