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City hopes markers slow traffic in downtown Papillion

Posted at 6:23 PM, Dec 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-03 19:23:04-05

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — If you're driving down Washington Street into downtown Papillion, the new signs are hard to miss. Six yellow pedestrian markers are now bolted into the middle of the street, the same area where 10 year old Abby Whitford was killed in August.

"I'd say with that accident, it's certainly increased the urgency,” says city spokesman, Trent Albers.

The reason for the urgency is because it could happen again. Despite blinking crosswalk lights and a visible radar, cars were still humming by.

"We see a lot of cars coming through here that are doing well over the speed limit,” says Albers.

A city committee is now tasked with slowing cars down, the first step is the pedestrian markers that one business says is clearly working already.

"I don't know if they think they're going to hit the signs on the cars or what. But I'm watching the cars and they are slowing down. It's just (snaps), just like that,” says Chris Evenson, owner of Tripointe Coffeehouse.

Now this isn't all the city plans to do to slow down traffic on this street. Another idea they're considering is to condense the lanes, from 12 to 10 feet.

"You do that and it makes traffic a little bit more uncomfortable so they feel like they need to slow down and be cautious,” says Albers.

The city is also looking at making a pedestrian island in the middle of the street.

"You cross half the street for instance and then cross the other two lanes, you wouldn't have to cross the whole street at once,” says Albers.

TriPointe Coffeehouse owner Chris Evenson says speeding cars scares people away from walking downtown, ultimately hurting his business, and he hopes the city does even more to slow everybody down.

"I'm glad they're working on things, I'm glad they're trying to solve it,” says Evenson.

Masey Lawrence, the woman charged with hitting 10-year-old Abby Whitford, pleaded not guilty last week to misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide and is due back in court in January.