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Cornelius News

Drivers: Let’s pay closer attention to pedestrians

Nov. 8. By Dave Yochum. With sunset occurring during the evening commute, community leaders in Cornelius are urging drivers to slow down and take extra care on our streets.

“With the sun setting near 5 p.m., it is getting late earlier as more folks are driving home in the dark. And with nightfall comes a greater risk of accidents due to lack of visibility,” said retired TV newsman Paul Cameron, a resident of The Peninsula and a member of the neighborhood homeowners’ association

CAMERON

“Your Peninsula homeowner’s board wants to remind you that when the sun is low in the sky and blinding this time of year, be vigilant of pedestrians, slow down and obey the speed limit on Jetton Road and all side streets,” Cameron said in the neighborhood’s official newsletter.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Miltich said people in a number of Cornelius neighborhoods are complaining about speeding, including residents in Robbins Park, Caldwell Station, Washam-Potts and Old Canal. Naturally, it’s hard to catch speeders in the act and police can’t be everywhere.

Indeed, Miltich said Sheriff Garry McFadden has offered to help with local speed checks. “I think the Chief may have taken him up on that offer at least once,” Miltich said, suggesting that drivers “relax and enjoy their time in our lake community.”

MILTICH

Lower speeds on Jetton have helped with pedestrian safety but the flashing lights remain problematic with some drivers either not stopping because they didn’t see the lights or they were going too fast. Another set go through the pedestrian lights if their lane is clear, even if the pedestrian is still in the roadway.

The onus is still on pedestrians.

Cornelius Police Sgt. Jonathan Sarver said pedestrian crossing signals are not synced with the vehicle traffic signals and will not change unless the pedestrian pushes the button.

Flashing yellow lights at a crosswalk are not a stop signal for vehicles traveling on the road. It is in place to make drivers aware that there is a crosswalk there and someone is trying to cross the street.

“If the pedestrian is on the sidewalk, and not within the crosswalk, a driver is not required to stop at the flashing yellow lights, only YIELD to pedestrians who are within the crosswalk,” Sarver said.

Pedestrians who are crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk still have a responsibility to make sure it is safe to do so and make sure a driver has enough time to stop prior to stepping into the crosswalk, he added.

SGT. SARVER

There is nothing in state law about a pedestrian crossing according to vehicle traffic signal, Sarver said.

If you’re crossing at an intersection that is regulated by a vehicle traffic signal, and a crossing signal is not present, you should use caution and enter the marked or unmarked crosswalk when you are able to safely cross the entire width of the roadway.

Meanwhile, the landscaping on Jetton is beautiful, but it can also hide pedestrians and bikers.

“Please be careful, observe the speed limit and the new flashers! We are still having too many close calls in the crosswalks,” Miltich said.

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