CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston leaders are taking another look at pedestrian crossings after a person was struck and killed along Greenbrier Street last month.
The city's Strong Neighborhoods Task Force discussed the issue at its monthly meeting Wednesday afternoon.
East End Councilwoman Mary Beth Hoover, a task force member whose ward includes the four-lane section of Greenbrier Street in question, said neighborhood residents have been concerned about the safety of crossing the street for years.
"The neighborhood has come out and said this is unacceptable," Hoover said. "It's a problem."
Between the Interstate 64/77 interchange and Kanawha Boulevard, Greenbrier Street intersects with Washington, Quarrier and Virginia Streets. Standard pedestrian crossings over Greenbrier are only located at the street's intersections with Washington Street and the Boulevard, but not anywhere else.
Throughout the year, and particularly during the state legislative session, pedestrians frequently cross Greenbrier to get back and forth between the East End and the state Capitol. Over the years, several deaths and injuries have occurred.
"They don't realize they're in a neighborhood," Hoover said of drivers on Greenbrier.
An earlier report by the Regional Intergovernmental Council, a regional planning and development organization, identified numerous intersections that could use more visible pedestrian crossings, like the Washington/Greenbrier intersection as well as several on the Boulevard where north/south streets intersect that road.
In addition, the city's Imagine Charleston comprehensive plan makes note of improved crossings and traffic-calming devices in that area, said Lori Brannon, a neighborhood planner with the city's planning department.
"The magnitude of the problem didn't come to light until the most recent tragedy," Brannon said.
For now, the city may look at improving existing crosswalks with more visible markings and adding crosswalks where none exist -- likely the most cost-effective option. While the new crosswalks wouldn't be signaled -- for now -- it would at least call drivers' attention to the presence of pedestrians and provide a formal route for pedestrians to cross.
But painting crosswalks in this case is easier said than done.
In the case of Greenbrier Street, the city can't simply just go ahead and mark the street, because it's a state road -- W.Va. 114.
That means the state has to approve any work that's done, and isn't likely to do so unless another entity pays for the project. Task force members said because of that situation, they would try to find ways for the city to pay for the work.