Winooski to improve crosswalks near busy traffic circle - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Winooski to improve crosswalks near busy traffic circle

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Winooski's traffic circle led to a development boom in the city's downtown, but with more traffic comes more danger.

A recent near-miss is giving the city a chance to better protect its residents and visitors.

Tens of thousands of cars roll around the traffic circle in downtown Winooski every day. It's a series of intersections the state rates among the most dangerous in Vermont.

In April, the driver of a truck narrowly avoided tragedy when a medical incident sent him careening the wrong way through the circle.

The crosswalk where he struck a traffic light remains closed, as the city green-lights overhauls.

"You see how cars keep going, thank you, and the bus is stopping for us," said Mayor Michael O'Brien, D-Winooski.

Mayor Mike O'Brien says altering the cross-walks will make it safer for foot and vehicle traffic.

He says the plan is to remove the crosswalk that cuts through the middle of the circle and beef up crossings at the top and bottom improving line of sight issues for drivers.

"You get to here, then you walk this way cross from here to the circle," said Mayor O'Brien.

"The main issue really has been people rear-ending other cars because there's a lack of sight distance when you're entering the rotary."

When the city installed the rotary about a decade ago, complaints followed from residents, the Mayor says he still hears those complaints to this day.

"But I would say that 97 to 98 percent of folks think it's working well," said Mayor O'Brien.

Those downtown Thursday say better lines of sight and planned new crossing lights should make it easier for everyone to navigate the intersections.

"Sounds like a good idea, I drive through here more than I walk through here and I'd hate to see somebody get hurt," said Dan Beisiegel, Williston resident.

"I think that the flashing lights are really going to help for traffic to see pedestrians," said Elizabeth Norton, Burlington resident. "Since they put the flashing lights in on Pine Street I can walk across the street much more safely and quickly."

Residents just hope construction efforts don't go around in circles.

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