Population growth one reason pushing Kent to redo its crosswalk system

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KENT, Wash. -- The city of Kent is hoping to give its crosswalk system a makeover.

The proposed changes include redoing 47 existing crosswalks and creating 61 new ones.

But some are upset with the idea.

High school student Irvin Quezada uses a crosswalk on W Willis Street twice a day.

“I walk with my sister, I take the bus,” Quezada said.

The city of Kent wants to remove the white markings on Quezada’s crosswalk along with 46 other locations. But even with the white lines gone, they are considered unmarked crosswalks so  pedestrians can legally still cross.

“It’s little longer wait, I want them to wait to safely enter the roadway,” said Lacey Jane Wolfe, with the Kent Public Works Department.

The city says some of the marked crosswalks are no longer safe due to the population growth and wider streets.

“We want to take away any false sense of security that they have with the white markings on the ground,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe says studies show the white markings do not make it safer for pedestrians and drivers on busy streets but Quezada says he would still feel safer with the lines.

“If I was a driver, if they don’t see a line and I see someone crossing, I wouldn’t know if I had to stop,” Quezada said.

There is less of that confusion at Kent Kangley Road, where a new crosswalk with flashing lights got drivers' attention.

“Before I would jaywalk and hopefully not get hit,” Arielle Eggers said.

To prevent jaywalking and create a better system overall, the city wants 61 new crosswalks in the areas that need it the most in the downtown core.

“A lot more apartments bring more people into smaller areas,” Eggers said.

Many are looking forward to the crosswalk but Quezada believes in his case W Willis Street will become more dangerous than it already is.

The city says they plan to hold public hearings before the City Council votes on the proposed changes.

If the 61 new crosswalks are approved, they would not immediately have flashing lights.

The city says they hope to find the money to add flashing lights and other safety measures down the line.






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