HELENA, Ala. (WIAT) — Pedestrian safety in Helena is about to be as simple as pushing a button.
This week, Helena City Council approved funding for crosswalk improvements at four locations. Three are in the old downtown area, the fourth is at the roundabout in front of Helena High School.
New signs will be installed and solar-powered LED lights will flash at the push of a button, alerting drivers of pedestrians.
Downtown business owners have seen close calls at the crosswalks.
“I’ve actually had to dive into the pavement a couple of times to miss cars, literally dive. I’ve walked across the street, been halfway across the street and seen cars swerve into the other lane to avoid me,” said David Schlueter, owner of Buck Creek Stained Glass.
The project costs just over $20,000 and is funded by the general and the 1 cent education fund.
“There will be rectangular rapid flashing beacon LED lights on each of the signs. The pedestrian will go up and push the button and that’s going to activate the flashing lights on both sides of the road to be able to notify the motorists that there is somebody there ready to cross the road,” said Helena Councilman Brian Puckett.
Each unit is solar-powered, requiring little maintenance. Materials for the project will arrive in the next 6 weeks, with installations taking place shortly thereafter.