Eau Claire staff could consider ways to make Menomonie Street sa - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire staff could consider ways to make Menomonie Street safer

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - One month after an Eau Claire woman is hit and killed crossing Menomonie Street near Carson Park, News 18 looked into the safety of what the city said is one of the highest traveled trails in town.

Last month Samantha Coyle was hit by a vehicle while crossing the street. Coyle died at an Eau Claire hospital several days later. As news 18 reported Wednesday, Donald Bass, Eau Claire, was charged with causing death while driving with a revoked license.

In a study done by Eau Claire city staff in 2014, the crosswalk on Menomonie street near Dairy Queen is used by about 20 travelers every hour.

"This is one of the higher locations where it is crossing and a higher volume roadway, so it's one of the reasons that additional signal equipment was placed in there for pedestrian crossing," said Eau Claire Transportation Engineer Leah Ness

In 2014 the city installed a HAWK signal above the street. Three years and $150,000 later, there is still confusion among walkers and drivers on what to do. 

The city said the lights should be treated similarly to railroad crossings When the light is red, drivers are supposed to stop. Drivers can then proceed with caution as long as the crosswalk is clear.

Eau Claire Police and city staff said the number of traffic accidents at that location is not being tracked, nor how often the signals are used.

Down the street, walls on the Sonnentag Event Center are still going up. Before doors open to the 300,000 square foot complex, the city is studying how that will affect local traffic.

"That will provide us information on how much traffic they're anticipating on generating and the amount of pedestrian traffic versus vehicle traffic in the area, and how we can handle that, and that will give recommendations on how to handle that as well," Ness said.

Until then the city is asking those on wheels and not to take time to use what is there.

"Be aware of your surrounding, know what's going on around you as a motorist and as a pedestrian" Ness said.

City staff said the traffic study should be completed sometime early next year, that is when staff will determine what the best action plan is to keep the crosswalks safe.

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