LEWISTON — A study of pedestrian crossings at five of the city’s busiest corridors suggests a series of upgrades, the most substantial coming at two Main Street intersections. 

The city recently hired engineering firm HNTB to evaluate crossings and identify potential locations for new ones.

The recommendations presented to the City Council on Tuesday say intersections at Main and Lincoln streets and Main and Middle streets should get the most extensive and costly upgrades, by adding a two-stage crossing with LED lights. 

The upgrades would cost about $110,000 at each intersection. 

In all, the study suggests dozens of improvements at intersections along Main, Sabattus, Russell, Lisbon and Canal streets that could be phased in over years.

At a majority of the crossings, a minimum of improved pedestrian signs and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements are recommended. 

The upgrades were placed in a tiered system to prioritize crossings with higher usage or heightened safety concerns, which also places the Main Street crossings higher on the list. 

In looking at city crossings, the consultants also prioritized intersections closer to public parking, pedestrian facilities, schools and public transit routes.

Public Works Director Dave Jones said funding for the crossing work has already been placed in the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Program. This includes $350,000 for sidewalks and $200,000 for crossings.

In recent years the city has put more emphasis on pedestrian safety projects, including recent upgrades at Main and Frye streets, where a 13-year-old student was struck and killed in 2016. 

The city has recently held two public meetings as part of a statewide “Heads Up!” program by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and a Maine Department of Transportation task force — the most recent in November of this year.

“At these meetings, users identified intersections of concern, many of which have since been improved, including a substantial amount that were re-striped with high visibility markings,” the crossing report states. 

Other substantial fixes were recommended at Main and Canal streets, where the consultant said there have been crashes involving bicycles and pedestrians. Due to where cars stop, visibility is difficult when turning onto the road from a longer distance. 

The consultant recommended accessible pedestrian signal push buttons, a reduction of turn radii and a flashing beacon, for about $70,000. 

Another larger project could come at Sabattus, Oak and Bartlett streets, a complicated intersection that has been a high-crash location due to visibility. Upgrades there could also reach $70,000. 

For each traffic corridor, the study also lays out potential new crossings, but doesn’t list any as a high priority. The new crossings are suggested at Main and Mountain streets, Main and Montello streets, Sabattus Street and Fairlawn Avenue, Russell and Lafayette streets, Lisbon and Webber streets, Lisbon Street and Jones Avenue, and Canal Street at the parking garage. 

During a workshop discussion Tuesday, Mayor Shane Bouchard said a pedestrian safety campaign is important, especially directed toward educating pedestrians on safely traversing busy intersections. He said it should take a two-pronged approach of discussing distracted driving and pedestrian education. 

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