Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The intersection at Norge Elementary School just got safer

Norge Elementary School has a new crosswalk to promote safety in a heavily trafficked area. (WYDaily/Alexa Doiron)
Norge Elementary School has a new crosswalk. (WYDaily/Alexa Doiron)

Students at Norge Elementary School will find themselves a little safer with the installation of a new crosswalk.

Last fall, the Williamsburg-James City County School Division submitted a request to VDOT for a crosswalk outside of the school’s entrance, which crosses with Richmond Road, said Eileen Cox, spokeswoman for WJCC.

According to VDOT’s Traffic Engineering Division, pedestrians account for 10 to 15 percent of highway deaths each year. A study done between 2012 and 2014 showed 86 percent of pedestrian deaths happened at locations that did not have marked crosswalks.

However, VDOT’s crash map did not show any traffic incidents involving a pedestrian near Norge Elementary School, which serves 650 students, in the past four years.

During a traffic study at the location, VDOT compiled data to see if a crosswalk would be necessary. It considered traffic volume, number of pedestrians crossing at the entrance, and whether the entrance was wide enough to accommodate the crosswalk. After gathering the data, VDOT concluded it fit the requirements for a crosswalk.

Brittany McBride Nichols, a VDOT spokeswoman, said once VDOT receives a request for a crosswalk, it’s reviewed along with the county’s administration to decide which of three types of crosswalks to install.

The first is a crosswalk at a traffic signal. Second, there is a crosswalk at mid-block locations, which takes into account variables, like traffic speed and volume, to determine what level of protection is needed. This type of crosswalk also defines a minimum number of pedestrian crossings that require a marked crosswalk.

Norge Elementary School received the third type of crosswalk, a cross walk across an entrance. McBride Nichols said this is the most uncommon type of crosswalk installed and usually requires no more than pavement markings. In this case, an additional sign was installed to direct right turning traffic to yield to pedestrians. Additionally, the sign brings drivers to the attention of pedestrians along the crosswalk.

“With safety as our top priority during this review,” McBride Nichols said. “VDOT’s findings recommended a crosswalk be installed for the well-being and increased protection of school children, caretakers and other pedestrian passersby along Route 60.”

Once a crosswalk has been recommended, VDOT will assist the county in funding. The crosswalk at Norge Elementary School cost $2,190.01, McBride Nichols said. According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center the average cost for a high visibility crosswalk is $2,540.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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