Another pedestrian hit at Third and Main

Published 6:41 pm Friday, November 8, 2019

State asked to conduct safety review


The intersection of Main and Third streets in Danville was yet again the scene of a pedestrian hit by a motorist turning at the light, this time resulting in only a minor injury. The incident happened Thursday afternoon, during dreary, wet conditions. 

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A woman was hit walking across Main Street, as a car attempted to turn left onto Main from Third Street. She is believed to have been treated on the scene for minor injuries; as of deadline Friday, Danville Police did not have a full report posted on the incident, so details are incomplete. 

Two pedestrians hit on Oct. 25 at the same intersection weren’t so lucky. Police are now calling it a fatality, since Lana Sue Cleveland, 72, died as a result of a severe head injury sustained after she and another woman were hit by an SUV, which was traveling northbound on Third Street and making a left-hand turn onto Main. 

Both incidents happened during periods of low visibility due to rain. 

Many have spoken out that the intersection needs better lighting; and that the Transportation Cabinet needs to do more in order to ensure pedestrians’ safety in the area. 

Danville Police Chief Tony Gray said there’s not a whole lot more the state can do there physically to make the intersection any safer. 

“There’s some things that people have to take responsibility for,” he says. Yes, he says the intersection could possibly have better lighting. 

“But, then again, there’s this thing of everybody’s just got to be more aware. Usually it’s the vehicle traveling north, they’re going to make a left turn onto Main, beside Farmers Bank” — that’s when most of the incidents have happened, he says. 

“There’s a lot of things there and people get their attention pulled. The building on the corner comes right up against the curb and the corner; you’re turning left onto Main, you’ve got traffic in front of you that’s coming onto Third or turning the other way onto Main … People are processing two or three different things at the very same time in front of that intersection.” 

In both cases, the pedestrians were not found to be walking against the light; they had the right-of-way. 

“But we’re just an impatient society, and most of our wrecks on Main Street are due to inattention,” Gray said. He said many will complain that more is enforcement needed, “but you can’t enforce attention. The state engineers cannot engineer attention. They can do things like increase the walk time allowed, and they’ve already made it less lanes, which should be helping.” 

He said he’s talked with District 7 about increasing the walk time again, “and they’ve said they’ll look at that. They’ve already done it once.” 

When it’s dark and rainy, that only contributes to all the other factors, he says. 

“Motorists need to simply slow down, be more patient and realize if it’s people who are elderly, they are slower getting across the road. And you have that opposing traffic coming at you, too. You just need to be alert, aware and attentive.” 

Gray said, “I don’t think people realize how much time the state has spent into looking at that intersection. When they did the new lane configuration, they upgraded the system from Fourth to Second, so that they could come in and do electronic changes on things like walk time more easily.” 

He said some may be confused about the state’s role, “and how they’re saying the (Transportation) Cabinet isn’t doing anything and that they’re not trying to help. That’s not true, they have.” 

After the news spread of the second incident in about six weeks, Rep. Daniel Elliott released a statement asking the Transportation Cabinet to conduct a safety review of the intersection and develop recommendations to improve safety. 

“This tragic loss of life brought to light the urgent need for us to ensure that our streets are safe for both drivers and pedestrians,” Elliott said in the release. “I’m hopeful that the Transportation Cabinet will come back with recommendations for safety improvements, and would like everyone to join me in keeping the family of Lana Cleveland in our thoughts and prayers.”

Elliott said options for safety improvements could include increased signage, visibility, or walk signals, among other potential improvements.

Public Information Officer Natasha Lacy with the DOT said the pedestrian timings for crossing Main and Third are both set at a 7-second walk time (flashing walk signal). The “don’t walk” flashing light runs for 14 seconds on Third, while the one on Main runs for 21 seconds. Both signals give walkers 2 seconds of advance walk time, which flashes before motorists get a green light, giving the pedestrian a few headstart seconds to start into the crosswalk before there is a concurrent signal. 

Also according to Lacy: 

  • The pedestrian walk and clearance intervals are calculated and set from federal guidelines.  
  • A request was made to look into increasing the optional leading pedestrian interval (advance walk time).  
  • The signals along Main Street operate in coordination, and have timing plans which must be reviewed when making any timing adjustments.  
  • The district traffic staff is looking into these plans and the request to increase the leading pedestrian interval time. 
  • Improvements to lighting at this intersection and future bulb outs were also discussed with city officials.