Syracuse Embarks On Major Effort To Improve Pedestrian Safety At Intersections, Crosswalks

Mar 25, 2021

This crosswalk at E. Fayette and State Streets includes some Complete Streets features, including the prominent grid on the pavement and a countdown timer.  Dozens of other downtown intersections will get similar upgrades.
Credit WAER file photo

Syracuse pedestrians will soon see changes to dozens of intersections and crosswalks in the downtown area. This fall, a total of 140 intersections and crossings will be updated or built as part of the city’s Complete Streets project. The project aims to make streets safer for walkers, bikers, and drivers alike.

City facilities engineer Russell Houck says there will be a variety of upgrades to enhance public safety.

"The technologies we're using are these countdown timers.  A lot of our crosswalks don't have timers; that increases public safety, just having people know how long they have to get across the street. We're going to be using audible pedestrian signals at a number of crosswalks.  At a few locations, we'll add in the rapid, flashing beacons, which is a much stronger signal that people are crossing at that point."

Construction will last two to four months and will focus on 60 signalized crossings downtown. These were prioritized because of the increased pedestrian volume in the area. This is in addition to updating the 80 unmarked crosswalks across the city.  Houck says all of this could do more than just improve public safety.

"This is part of a state directive and city directive where we work on Complete Streets, where we make it attractive and safe to walkers and cyclists.  We hope that generates more social activity and economic activity, as well as mobility for those without vehicles.  Hopefully it gets people to change from vehicles to pedestrian and bike activity."  

More information about how give feedback on the project or add locations for future projects can be found here.  Public comments will be accepted until Friday, April 9th.