Tacoma community meeting addresses illegal croswalks

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 11 at 6:16 AM

The issue of illegal rogue crosswalks in Tacoma has reached a boiling point between citizens and the city, prompting a neighborhood group to play peacemaker.

The New Tacoma Neighborhood Community Council organized a meeting Wednesday night to bring citizens worried about their safety and city officials worried about street vandalism together for a solution.

“Our group was distressed about the city going after folks and arresting them,” said councilmember Elizabeth Burris.

After six hand-painted crosswalks popped up, Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax threatened prosecution for anyone caught making one. Although vandals may have good intentions, city officials say the crosswalks can’t be allowed for liability and public safety reasons.

The city spent about $1,000 to get rid of each of them.

“I sense a lot of frustration. I think a lot of the actions that have been undertaken by some residents in the community were based on that,” said Broadnax.

Despite dealing with less staff and about $500,000 less in funding, the city announced plans to upgrade 5 intersections. After evaluation by the city, they are:

  • South 4th and Broadway Avenue: Converted into a 4-way stop.
  • South 4th and Stadium Way: A new traffic signal installed.
  • Yakima and Division Avenue: Pedestrian and bicycle improvements, including new striping and signals.
  • South 6th Street and G Street: Pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
  • South 6th Avenue and Division Avenue: New Bulbouts and pedestrian beacons to be installed.

Other intersection upgrades continue to be researched.

“We’re looking at adding stop bars in some places if allowable to clearly identify where cars should be stopping,” said Broadnax.

Although the intentions by citizens behind the rogue crosswalks may be good, city officials say they are still breaking the law.  Although no arrests have been made yet, Broadnax reaffirms that anyone caught painting one will be prosecuted.

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