Columbia Public Works warns drivers about College Ave. additions

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COLUMBIA - The summer construction on College Avenue is coming to a close, and Columbia Public Works (CPW) says the results will bring a new challenges for drivers.

CPW built two H.A.W.K. pedestrian crossing signals, or high-intensity activated crosswalk, on College Avenue between University Avenue and Stadium Boulevard. 

"We knew something needed to be done on College Avenue in order to keep pedestrians safe," said CPW Public Information Specialist Steven Sapp. "We created a median and two more controlled crossing areas for the public."

However, CPW is concerned about motorists not knowing how the crossing signals work.

"We know it will be a change, especially for motorists, so we are trying to demonstrate how the new signals will work through social media and press releases," Sapp said.

A H.A.W.K. crossing signal contains three lights, one yellow and two red. The yellow light and red light will work like a normal traffic light, yellow signalling to slow down and red signalling drivers to stop.

When the lights are a solid red, it means pedestrians are crossing the street. Once the two red lights begin to flash it means motorists can proceed with caution.

Some students and residents who live in east campus say they are concerned the new signals will cause more problems with traffic.

"I understand what they are trying to do," said MU senior Erin Waterhouse. "I would always watch other people crossing the road come close to being hit, so this could help with pedestrian safety, but I'm worried it will cause more traffic accidents because of all the stops."

Sapp said, once the H.A.W.K. signals are up and running, CPW plans to watch how traffic flows in the area and adjust the timing of traffic lights. 

"Like everything that is new, we understand that it is an adjustment for the community," Sapp said. "It will take some getting used to, but we are more focused on decreasing pedestrian fatalities on that street, and we think these lights will help that."

CPW predicts the construction and traffic signals will be completed by August 21.