The Astoria Traffic Safety Committee Tuesday night heard a report on the pilot project to improve pedestrian safety by the city engineering department and asked the department to go back to the drawing board over a number of items. In the report it was stated that few people are using the flags that were placed without fanfare at the intersections of Commercial and Marine Drive. The statement was made based on reports from other communties and the committee asked for more Astoria specific information about usage. In public terstimony it was pointed out that the intersections selected for the project are not typically "problem interections" while there are others that have consistent close calls between car and walkers. The engineer explains that the city was using 10th as a "soft openning" to ease the public into the idea of using the flags but public comment indicated that people might feel a little silly using the flags to cross a simple two lane road with high visibilty. It was also pointed out that the bulk of the pedestrian issues happen toward dusk or when its raining and visbility is low while the city purchased flags that are not reflective in any way and have already proven ineffective in other communities. The public also noted that the signage posted with the flags seems unecessarily complex with several drawings and lengthy explainations about how to use the flags. City Manager Paul Benoit told KAST News that perhaps it might make sense to make some adjustments in the program and to explore how the safety flags are used in communties where they do seem to be effective.
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