Study: Pedestrians need to ‘push the button’

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(ABC 6 News) – “Push the button to alert drivers” – that’s the advice for pedestrians crossing Bridge Avenue at Hawthorne Street, where they can activate a flashing beacon to signal vehicles to stop while they cross.

The Albert Lea Police Department is issuing that advice based on a pedestrian-crossing and vehicle speed study of Bridge Avenue between Hawthorne and Sheridan streets in late 2022.

It comes after the city installed a new rapid-flashing pedestrian cross signal at the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Hawthorne streets.

The “push the button” study compared pedestrian-crossing data at two intersections, one with a flashing signal and one without.

According to the study, roughly 75-percent of vehicles stopped for pedestrians who “pushed the button” – activating the signal.

When the button was not pressed, no vehicles stopped.

Albert Lea’s Public Safety Director says pedestrians crossing the street should still use caution with or without crossing enhancements.

“At any intersection you need to yield to those very heavy vehicles passing by and you should make eye contact with the drivers when you do cross through,” said Public Safety Director J.D. Carlson

The conclusions of the study finding that the crossing enhancements at Hawthorne are working compared to other areas that don’t.