A new way to cross the street is coming to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The Mayor's Task Force on Pedestrian Safety met Tuesday and spoke briefly of a new crosswalk idea that could be coming to Columbia. 

The pedestrian scramble happens in three phases. 

First the pedestrians would cross the street at any point, with no cars moving at all. 

Next the north/south traffic would cross and lastly, the east/west traffic would move. 

Richard Stone, an engineering supervisor with public works, said there may be a slight delay when waiting at the light. 

"The pedestrian scramble movements do add delay to both the pedestrian movements and the vehicle movements," Stone said. "But at this particular location it may not be very much." 

Stone said this would be a pilot project to see if people actually use the location and find it beneficial before adding more cross walks like it to the city. 

He said a benefit of the crosswalk would be that it would remove a point where both a pedestrian and a car would be in the same place.

"If everybody does what they are suppose to do, then there shouldn't be a conflict between a pedestrian and a vehicle," Stone said. 

Stone said public works chose the potential location of 9th and Elm St. because there is already a lot of pedestrian traffic in that area. 

He also said the location is already scheduled to undergo a sewer line project that would require total reconstruction of the intersection anyway, making it much cheaper to add this new crosswalk. 

The cost of the project is estimated to be about $75,000 in equipment for the signal instead of the $200,000 that would be the price if the sewer line project wasn't happening. 

There is no specific time line to when the project will be completed yet but city council must vote on the idea before construction for it begins.