Press release

In Indiana, vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk. However, despite the presence of pedestrians on crosswalks without traffic lights, surveys show more than 90-percent of drivers do not stop.

Second Street in Columbus is one of the busiest streets for vehicular traffic in our community. Since becoming Sheriff, I have witnessed traffic accidents in front of the jail, along with numerous "close calls" as pedestrians attempt to cross the street.

This is an extremely busy crosswalk; used by family and friends who are visiting our residents, by most of our employees, people meeting with deputies regarding cases, counselors, attorneys, those coming for Sheriff Sales, ministers, tours, sales representatives and others.

To date, we have taken every step we know to take in our effort to improve the safety for pedestrians using this crosswalk between the county parking lot and the Jail. The Bartholomew County Commissioners have been instrumental in getting the ramp updated, posting pedestrian crossing signs and striping the roadway. Late last year, they provided funding in excess of $12,000 to improve the crosswalk. Still, motorists are failing to stop.

Supplementing this crosswalk with Flashing Lights would certainly increase safety. It is one of the best and easiest ways to increase walkability without significant infrastructure changes.

My office continues to be in constant contact with the Indiana Department of Transportation requesting flashing warning lights for the crosswalk but INDOT finds that the cost exceeds justification for the warning lights.

As we continue to work to improve the safety for pedestrians using this crosswalk, I ask all motorists to please slow down at this location and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in the crosswalk. Pedestrians, please watch for oncoming traffic before stepping into the crosswalk.

We will certainly continue to monitor this issue.