High traffic area gets new crosswalks, signals for pedestrians

High traffic area gets new crosswalks, signals for pedestrians

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - If you’ve been to Cooper-Young recently, there’s a new addition that’s hard to miss.

Crosswalks and warning lights have been added to the entertainment district.

Smart Growth America recently ranked Memphis the ninth most dangerous metro area in the country for walking.

Cooper-Young is a highly popular area to get around by foot, by bike, or even scooter.

There’s now a coordinated effort to make it safer to do so.

New crosswalks have popped up along the highly-traveled Cooper Street. There are also large neon signs and something new to get drivers attention.

For example, there’s a new crosswalk at Felix and Cooper where you simply hit the button and wait for the warning light to come on, letting drivers know to stop and let the pedestrian cross.

We watched car after car ignore the flashing lights. It took a couple of tries before someone finally caught on.

“Cars travel really fast, so I think it's going to take people time to get used to the fact, hey you have to stop when people are trying to get across the street,” said pedestrian Sylvia Crum.

Walking in Memphis is dangerous, according to a WMC action News 5 investigation.

In the first eight months of 2018, 319 pedestrians were hurt and 15 were killed.

Members of the city council's public safety and homeland security committee heard a presentation Tuesday on pedestrian safety.

The committee approved funding for pedestrian signals and push buttons at another dangerous intersection at the corner of Central and Cooper, near numerous shops and restaurants.

“That intersection is so dangerous for everyone crossing it,” Crum said. “It's hard to tell when to step out.”

“I think it's going to be really good for people on the Birds because so many people use the Birds and Railgarten is very, very popular,” said pedestrian Randall Witherington.

A city spokesman says construction for the new Central and Cooper traffic lights should begin in December and be completed by some time next summer.

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