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City to ask state for bypass crosswalk
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McMinnville officials will be urging the state to install a lighted crosswalk at the intersection of North Chancery Street and Highway 70 Bypass.
“This year, that intersection is the No. 1 accident location in the county,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “It shifted from Smithville Highway up to that intersection.”
The information was presented during a city Safety Committee meeting held to discuss a crosswalk for the safety of pedestrians attempting to cross the intersection.
“There should be, or at least we think there should be, some protection for folks coming from those apartments,” said Alderman Mike Neal.
Tennessee Department of Transportation, said city administrator Bill Brock, has been notified of the city’s desire for heightened safety measures at the intersection and has agreed to consider installing a lighted crosswalk system that would allow pedestrians to push a button and be given a specific timeframe to cross the street.
“They’re going to see if they can find some funds to install it,” said Brock of the system. “There are funds for safety. They are going to look and see if any are available.”
The city installed a sidewalk on Old Smithville Highway from Bybee Branch Road to the bypass last year for the safety of pedestrians walking from the apartment complexes. A sidewalk was placed beside Walmart this year with the intent of building it all the way down to Village.
“I’ve seen people cross in wheelchairs and pushing baby strollers as they make their way across that intersection,” said Vice Mayor Ben Newman.
City attorney Tim Pirtle suggests the city pass a resolution urging TDOT to study the pedestrian safety issue and take appropriate action.
“It’s their right of way and it’s their liability and responsibility, but we are taking our citizens up to the edge of a cliff and we need to offer whatever support we can to get TDOT to do something,” said Pirtle.
Safety Committee members held off on drafting of a resolution and will wait to see if TDOT places a lighted crosswalk there without urging from the city.