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Pedestrian crossing safety tested

Sean Brown, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation press officer; Dennis Smith, Northampton police officer; Jon Roth, Lehigh Township Police grant coordinator; and Bill McQuilken, Lehigh Valley Hospital trauma prevention coordinator, held a Sept. 6 news conference regarding pedestrian crossing safety in Northampton Borough.

The event had three safety teams take turns walking across the 19th and Main streets intersection to log how many of the cars stopped to allow the team member to cross Main Street.

The 19th and Main streets intersection has a reported history of accidents - and near misses. Because of this history, signage was placed that legally requires motorists to stop if a pedestrian is in the intersection. The pedestrian crossing safety signs, which are either yellow or white with red or black lettering, alert motorists they must yield to pedestrians.

If a motorist does not stop when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk at a legally designated intersection, the motorist can receive a fine of about $125. During the three-hour pedestrian safety event, 92 motorists stopped when one of the team members was crossing Main Street, but 27 did not. Of the 27 who did not stop, 22 were stopped by police and cited for their infraction.

Brown said the objective of this event was to “train motorists to obey the law that governs properly marked crosswalks to promote pedestrian safety.”

“This alerts drivers about kids and people in crosswalks, and there a number of schools in the area,” McQuilken noted.

Northampton Police Chief Bryan Kadingo said there is a “zero-tolerance approach by the Northampton Police Department to motorists who ignore the signage,” thereby violating the law and threatening the safety of pedestrians.

There is another planned pedestrian safety event at the 19th and Main streets intersection in a few months.

PRESS PHOTOS BY BILL LEINER JR. Signage requiring a motorist to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk is present at the intersection of 19th and Main streets, Northampton.
Bill McQuilken, Lehigh Valley Hospital trauma prevention coordinator, crosses the street at the pedestrian safety event Sept. 6.