FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On Tuesday, WANE 15 reported on continued confusion and concern at a trail crossing on Carroll Road in Allen County.
The crossing became a topic of discussion last September when a woman was hit and killed while crossing the road.
At that time, County Commissioner Nelson Peters told WANE 15 that the commissioners review every fatality that happens on county roads, and this case would be no different.
Eight months later, WANE 15 checked in with Peters to see what they found in this instance.
“We’ve looked at that crosswalk, and we’ve looked at a number of other crosswalks throughout Allen County,” Peters said. “One of the things that we’ve found is that current design is the design that’s recommended by the Indiana Department of Transportation as, really, the gold standard of crosswalks on trail systems.”
Peters went on to say that there are some other crossings around the county that could be transformed to look like the Pufferbelly Trail crossing on Carroll Road.
One constant complaint from trail users WANE 15 talked to was that people still don’t know who has the right of way. That’s possibly a result of there being so many different types of crossings around the county, according to trail user Gina Gray.
“I feel like, for the most part, there’s no consistency. Everywhere we go, there’s different crossings and [people think] ‘we have the right of way here,’ or ‘the cars do,’ and if you don’t know it makes it really scary,” Gray said.
WANE 15 learned that, aside from education about the trails, consistency is the main goal.
“The more consistency there is, the more easier it is for pedestrians, the safer it is for pedestrians and car drivers,” Megan McClellan, Executive Director of Fort Wayne Trails Inc., said.
McClellan and Peters both told WANE 15 that various city and county agencies will be conducting a study in the month of May to monitor the different types of mid-block crossings in Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas
The goal is to monitor how drivers and pedestrians handle each crossing. After the study is done by the end of the summer, changes could be on the way to create more crossings that look and work the same way.
“I think the more consistency, the more continuity there is in approach, the more certainty there is in what drivers and pedestrians can come to expect,” Peters said.
John Perlich, a spokesman for Mayor Tom Henry’s administration, told WANE 15 that they’ll start looking at five different crossings within city limits this week and will continue to watch those interactions for a total of three weeks before looking at the data.
McClellan said that Fort Wayne Trails Inc. will take part in analyzing the data with the city and county operatives and will be able to offer recommendations.
She believes the work being done could benefit other counties once it’s completed, which would only add to that consistency for drivers and pedestrians alike if more and more crossings start to transform to one type of style.
“This is really exciting because it’s not just important for Fort Wayne and Allen County, although that’s where all this is taking place, but if we have done the work properly, then we can use that information to inform other counties,” McClellan said.
The Allen County Highway Department was asked for a comment on this story. Director Bill Hartman told WANE 15 “Highway has no further comment,” via text message.
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