Pedestrian safety improved at temporary library

Traffic on First Street passes the temporary central branch of the Mesa County Public Library District, where the city of Grand Junction Public Works Department has installed a crosswalk with blinkers. When the temporary central library is no longer needed, the crosswalk will disappear, a department spokeswoman said.

Part of the process in temporarily locating the Mesa County Public Library District’s central library along First Street has been a certain level of flexibility, and Grand Junction city traffic engineers recently followed suit by putting up a temporary crosswalk near Gunnison Avenue.

The new flashing lights, pavement striping and additional signage are highly visible immediately outside the new home for the library, now housed in the former Ashley Furniture building at 655 N. First St. It’s a busy route, with lots of vehicle traffic traveling between downtown and north Grand Junction.

“The reason we put it in is because people were having trouble getting across the street there, and city engineers went out and took a look and thought, ‘We can do something on a temporary basis,’ ” said Kristin Winn, spokeswoman for the city’s Public Works and Planning Department.

“When the library moves back to the renovated location, then (the crosswalk) will disappear,” Winn said.

T.A. Dixon works at Mad Margaret’s, just down the street at 807 N. First St. She thinks the crosswalk is a good idea, adding she’s seen a few near-misses on the busy north-south thoroughfare.

She was happy to see it “just for the safety of the public, because they don’t tend to pay attention, and First Street is a busy street.”

Kelley Raymond, an office manager with Quick Temps, 817 N. First St., echoed those sentiments. She says there have been more people “milling around” because of the new library, and she said she remembers driving by and thinking, “This is an accident waiting to happen.”

“I think that it’s great, because this street is notoriously busy. Anything that would help reduce the chance of someone getting hit by a car is welcome,” Raymond said.

Tile Meister is the business in closest proximity to the new library, and owner Cheryl DiDonato said her new neighbors “have been awesome” — but she said she hasn’t seen many people use the crosswalk since it was recently added.

Her issue is with another new addition to the neighborhood. School buses recently began dropping students off at a stop right in front of the store.

“All the parents are blocking the entrances in and out daily here,” DiDonato said. She said her customers have had trouble getting in and out of their parking lot, and her trucks are being inconvenienced as well right around 3 p.m. each day.

The school bus issue aside, the new crosswalk is a responsive action to a temporary problem, it seems.

“We are making do with what we have. It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s something to get people safely across the street while the library is in that temporary spot,” Winn said.


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