New crosswalk systems coming to Helena to improve pedestrian safety

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – Pedestrians who use the major crosswalks in the areas of Old Town Helena and on Hillsboro Parkway at the roundabout will see some major upgrades pertaining to safety, as the Helena City Council approved a budget amendment for a Pedestrian Safety Proposal that will include new push button crosswalk signs, improved striping and overall improved visibility at these locations.

Pictured is an example of what one of the new crosswalk systems will look like once installed in Helena. Contributed

The proposal was approved at the Monday, Oct. 28, Council Meeting and spearheaded by Helena City Councilman Brian Puckett.

“We’re looking to beef up pedestrian safety around the town,” Puckett said at the meeting. “Helena has four major crosswalks throughout town and with low visibility as people walk through the intersections or the crosswalks. The other thing is vehicles just don’t stop for them because they can’t see the pedestrians, so we want to do everything we can to increase awareness at those crosswalks.”

The total cost for the improvements will be $20,033 and will be funded through the general fund budget and the 1-cent education fund.

The four major crosswalks that will be improved are located on Alabama 261 at the Helena Amphitheater, Old Town Helena closest to the railroad tracks, the Helena Museum and at the roundabout on Hillsboro Parkway in front of Helena High School.

The improvements will include the installation of eight total Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon Safety System units from K & K Systems, Inc. that will include LED flashing lights to warn drivers, push button activated crosswalks and some radar activated crosswalks.

Six of the RRFB units will be push button units, while the other two will be RRFB radar units. Another safety measure from the proposal will include the installation of eight new florescent yellow-green pedestrian signs to replace the current white crosswalk signs in Old Town. The old white crosswalk signs will be installed near Helena Elementary School.

“Brian has done a great job and got with the city engineer and got all the hard work done for us,” Helena Mayor Mark Hall said. “He’s done a tremendous job for us and I’m heavily in favor of this. We’ll continue to work with ALDOT to get the striping redone there as well.”