David Brewer, Dr. Bambi Gaddist, Rob Perry, Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah, Marvin Heller, Mayor Steve Benjamin, Councilman Howard Duvall, Ashley Page, James Brown, and Kevin Gray cut the ribbon to officially open the HAWK (High Intensity Activated Crosswalk) on Millwood Avenue.
City dignitaries, Columbia Police Department officers, and community leaders gathered at the corner of Millwood Avenue and House Street Tuesday, July 9 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the newly installed HAWK (High Intensity Activated Crosswalk) crosswalk.
“Today is an amazing day for this community,” State Representative Seth Rose said. “Obviously, we have a lot of roadways that are areas of need in Columbia. We can scratch this one off the list. This isn’t just a ribbon cutting for a HAWK traffic signal; it is a ribbon cutting of things to come on this stretch of Millwood Avenue, from Gervais Street to Gladden Street. This has proven to be a deadly stretch of road.”
Three pedestrians have died there in four years. Now, a $500k investment will help make it safer. Along with the new traffic signal, that stretch of Millwood Avenue will be resurfaced, along with other improvements, in the spring of 2020.
Among those Rose thanked at Tuesday’s ceremony was the Richland County Transportation Commission. Chairman James Brown said the entire process took two months beginning with the committee looking into the situation while also finding enough funding. Despite limited funds, Brown made it a priority to make the project happen after community outcry.
Rob Perry, director of traffic engineering with the South Carolina Department of Transportation, reviewed how the light works. A blinking yellow light is a warning to motorists that pedestrians are about to enter the roadway. A solid yellow light tells motorists to prepare to stop, and red means pedestrians are entering the crosswalk.
Perry said an average of 21,000 vehicles travel down the section of Millwood Avenue per day.
After the ribbon cutting was complete, all the officials went for a ceremonial walk across Millwood Avenue using the traffic signal.
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