Pedestrian refuge on Jackson thoughtful, but unnecessary

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Last week the developers of the Jackson Row development did what they were told to do and constructed a pedestrian refuge right smack in the middle of Jackson Avenue.

City officials told the site foreman that the crossing was built incorrectly and they tore it up. Representatives of the developer, CA Ventures said they were working with the city to redesign it.

While well intentioned, the truth of the matter is the refuge isn’t needed, no matter what type of design they come up with.

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The pedestrian refuge was part of a deal made earlier this year with city planners. CA Ventures wanted to close the sidewalk in front of the constriction site on the south side of Jackson Avenue. To help people get from the closed sidewalk across the street, the idea for the refuge was agreed upon.

As narrow as Jackson Avenue is in that location, standing in the middle of the road, even if on a raised area, is just unsafe. Cars driving by could easily hit someone if a person steps just a few inches back.

Any type of refuge in the middle of the road is going to make traffic back up worse and could increase the risk of people getting hurt.

We believe the city should reconsider the refuge and maybe paint some stripes and make a crosswalk and let people cross the road using skills most of us learned by kindergarten — look both ways before crossing.