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Cornelius News

Crosswalks on W. Catawba not coming soon

Memorial at Silver Quay and W. Catawba

Jan. 10. By Dave Vieser. On the morning of Nov. 30, a pedestrian was killed in Cornelius after being struck by an automobile on West Catawba Avenue near the intersection of Westmoreland Lake Drive.

The scene of the accident is about midway between Nantz Road and Westmoreland Road, where no crosswalks exist on West Catawba Avenue.           

‘Based on officers’ initial investigation, the pedestrian, Joan Messier, was not utilizing a crosswalk to cross the road. She entered the travel lane and was struck by a vehicle that had just turned onto West Catawba Avenue, traveling eastbound, from Silver Quay Drive.’

—From a Cornelius Police press release

Cornelius Police identified the victim as Joan Messier (voter registration records show a Joan Messier living on nearby Chandler’s Landing). Police said the incident occurred shortly after 7 am, as an unidentified motorist was entering West Catawba Avenue turning left from Silver Quay Drive. The weather at the time was poor and it was dark.

“The investigation into the crash is closed,” said Cornelius Police Chief David Baucom. “The driver did not violate any laws and will not be charged with any criminal offense.”

Police said Messier was not using a crosswalk to cross West Catawba Avenue.

No crosswalks

There aren’t any crosswalks nearby, or for that matter in this part of West Catawba. The nearest are at Jetton and Westmoreland, and there’s no sidewalk on the Silver Quay/Magnolia Estates side of West Catawba.

Kevin Moore who lives in Edinburgh Square brought his concerns to the Town Board on Dec. 19.

“I moved here a few years ago and have always wondered how to get across Catawba on foot, as there is no traffic signal, sidewalk or pedestrian crossing,” Moore said.           

Town leaders provided no information or suggestions but relief for pedestrians may be coming — whenever West Catawba is widened.

“The DOT is currently proposing three pedestrian crossings as part of the Catawba Avenue widening project,” said spokeswoman Jen Thompson. “The proposed locations are at Dunmore Drive, in front of Robbins Park and at the U-turn bulb north of Westmoreland Road.”

Town Manager Andrew Grant said that pedestrian crossings will be installed in conjunction with the signalized intersections.

Town officials at new Westmoreland crosswalk: ‘A great day for pedestrians throughout Cornelius’

Years out

However, that leaves pedestrians with no safe crosswalks until the project is completed, and that may not be until 2029.

Thompson said possible interim measures were considered. However, 24 hours later she delivered the bad news. “It sounds like there aren’t any crossings currently proposed to be added before the widening project gets under way.”