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Crosswalk Crackdown

Some people who live in Bloomsburg claim Main Street is a dangerous place because of aggressive drivers and pedestrians who do not pay attention. Police in that college town hope to make the streets safer.

The Bloomsburg Police Department got a $3,000 grant from PennDOT. Police said the grant money will be used to pay for extra patrols around busy intersections along Main Street.

Officers said aggressive drivers and pedestrians who do not follow the rules could face fines.

Samantha Phillips pushed a button to get the walk signal before she crossed Main Street in Bloomsburg. Phillips said she gets nervous before she crosses a street downtown.

“Even though I may get a green light to go, traffic is turning right so we always have to dodge traffic,” Phillips said.

Some people do not push the button and risk getting a fine by crossing the street at the wrong time. In fact, while Newswatch 16 was in town for about a half hour, we counted more than a dozen people not obeying the rules.

Bloomsburg University student Benjamin Rivera believes the problem is worse when college students are in town.

“It’s most dangerous around 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. when kids are going to class. They don’t care about the lights, whether they are red or green,” Rivera said.

Bloomsburg police agree that aggressive drivers and pedestrians who do not pay attention are a problem in town. Recently PennDOT gave the Bloomsburg Police Department a $3,000 grant to beef up patrols along Main Street. Sergeant Roger Van Loan said drivers are especially aggressive in that area and along Lightstreet Road.

“Possibly they’re in too big of a hurry to get from point A to point B and don’t feel like waiting for the pedestrian in the crosswalk,” Sgt. Van Loan said.

Even though there is no on-coming traffic right here and it looks like it would be safe for pedestrians to cross the street, the red hand signal is up, meaning they cannot cross at this time. Sgt. Van Loan says pedestrians must press this button and wait for the signal to turn and then it’s safe to cross the street.

The fine for a pedestrian who does not obey the walk light is $5, but combined with court costs, it can add up to more than $100.

“You’ll see the officer’s presence more and more and you’ll be making contact with officers whether you’re a pedestrian or an operator,” Sgt. Van Loan said.

The Bloomsburg Police Department said it will use the grant money to have more officers enforcing those busy intersections on foot and by vehicle. Officers said there will be more enforcement in the fall when school is in session, and Main Street is the busiest.


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