Sidewalk hazard to remain, according to engineer

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The control device is the shorter gray pole to the right of the crosswalk sign.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The post planted in the middle of one of the busiest sidewalks in the City of Poughkeepsie is permanent, according to the engineer who planned it. Engineer Frank Gates of GPI Engineering drew up the plans to place a potential pedestrian hazard as part of a pedestrian safety plan and said underlying factors resulted in the “less-than-ideal placement of the post.”

The pole in the middle of the sidewalk on Market Street.

The post with a push-button switch that controls flashing lights for the mid-block Market Street crosswalk is situated in the center of the sidewalk on the east side of Market Street.

“A few ideas were discussed to mitigate pedestrians walking into the post, as moving it is not an option,” the engineer said.  “We’re going to add yellow reflectorized tape to the pole to make it more eye-catching in a sea of gray.”

The City of Poughkeepsie is working with State DOT to improve pedestrian safety by redesigning crosswalks with signs equipped with amber “Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons” (RRFB).  The signs are to alert motorists of a pedestrian crossing the street.  There are two new signs with RRFBs on Market Street at the crosswalk in the middle of the block between Cannon and Main Streets.  Both signs are equipped with solar panels.

The flashing sign and push-button control on the west side of Market Street are on the same post.  On the east side, however, the engineer had the contractor place the sign near the crosswalk and place the smaller post with the push-button to activate the lights in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Generally they’re installed like the one on the west side of Market, all on one post.  But with the existing street light pole, and also having curbside parking, we needed the flashing portion to be in a location to be as visible as possible.  This led us to separate the flashing portion from the push button, which needs to be located adjacent to a nearly level, all-weather surface (concrete, asphalt pavement, etc.) to meet ADA requirements,” Gates said. “The extensive buried utilities dictated the location of the push button post.”

The post has caused an impediment for several pedestrians who failed to notice the short gray pole that blends into the gray sidewalk.  Numerous people have been witnessed walking into the post accidentally.  Additionally, there is long-term scaffolding that has been in place for more than a year just north of the post which further reduces the visibility of the post.  The scaffolding has been in place after bricks fell from a building façade.  The loose bricks were removed quite some time ago but the scaffolding remains.