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Downtown pedestrian petitioners seeking S. Third Street safety measures win over council

NPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley rides in one of the new bike lanes in Copenhagen. The city is building more than two dozen lanes from the suburbs into the city. They cater to cyclists by including such things as rails and footrests at stoplights.
Susan Montoya Bryan
New traffic lights will be built on 3rd street, with the aim of slowing down traffic and protecting pedestrians.

A downtown neighborhood petition for a pedestrian safety project has won the day, with Wilmington City Council voting unanimously to apply for funding.

Three residents along South Third street spoke at City Council’s Tuesday meeting to request funding for two new stoplights for the sake of safety. Teri Everett lives on Third, and said her granddaughter has had a few close calls trying to get to school, including nearly being hit by a car that ran through the pedestrian stoplight on Ann.

“So it's very, very unsafe," Everett said. "She's a pretty courageous little girl, and she got home and she was just, 'I was so afraid, that really hurt me.'”

Another St. Mary’s student ran into similar trouble. Drew Haugan spoke at the council meeting as well, and said he’d been hit by a car while crossing 3rd- and actually cracked the windshield.

“I have a little sister who goes to the same school as me," he said. "And for two more years she will have to walk home from school on, you know, that same little yellow flashing light that did not work for me. And I don't want us to fear that she would also get hit by a car like I did.”

Council unanimously passed the resolution to apply for grant money to cover the project, including a $486,000 local match. That means the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization is authorized to move forward on getting funding for the full project.

Disclosure notice: Teri Everett is a member of WHQR’s Board of Directors, but had no editorial role in this story.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.