Steps taken in Southwest Greensburg to protect visually impaired pedestrians
Visually impaired people crossing busy South Main Street in Southwest Greensburg should be helped by new safety measures taken on the road, according to the Westmoreland Blind Association's president.
A year ago, Larry Helkowski appealed to federal, state and local officials to do something about speeding on the section of Main Street in front of his agency. He called the stretch a dangerous “freeway” that put his clients at risk daily.
Since then, PennDOT has increased the time for clients to walk in the pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Main and Green streets.
Orange signs marking a crossing ahead for visually impaired pedestrians have been installed. And borough police have cracked down on motorists who exceed the 30 mph speed limit as part of an aggressive driving campaign sponsored by federal and state officials.
“The state has been very good about the whole thing,” he added. “They want it to be safe, too. They know it's a dangerous road. And the police department is giving out tickets. They realize it's a problem.”
PennDOT further is reviewing a request from the Blind Association to install flashing lights, said agency spokesman Jay Ofsanik.
The safety measures will help, Ofsanik said, but motorists obeying the rules of the road will help more.
“I think everything you do improves safety, but ultimately, it's still up to motorists to abide by the speed limit. People need to slow down,” Ofsanik said.
Motorists further need to stop trying to beat traffic signals as the lights prepare to turn red at intersections, he said.
“Pedestrians are very, very vulnerable, and drivers need to be aware of that,” Ofsanik said.
The increased traffic enforcement has reminded motorists to slow down, said police Lt. Kris Chappell.
When the crackdown began last month, police cited numerous local drivers. That has changed.
“Usually, it's people from out of town,” Chappell said of motorists who now are stopped and ticketed. Helkowski said he appreciates the efforts.
“Everybody's trying to make this work,” he said. “I can't ask anymore than that.”
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.