Posted Online: Oct. 02, 2012, 3:28 pm

High-Tech Crosswalk sounds off on safety

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Press release submitted by Mark McLaughlin

High-Tech Crosswalk sounds off on safety

IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – Pedestrians approaching the intersection of 34th Street and River Drive, adjacent to the new Western Illinois University Campus on the Moline, Ill., riverfront, immediately notice that the new crosswalk is unlike any other in the Quad-Cities. The design includes many innovative safety features, including the use of sound to alert sight-impaired individuals.

"The City of Moline needed to install traffic signals at that intersection," said Jason McKenzie, Municipal Services Manager at Missman, Inc., which provides civil and structural engineering, surveying, and environmental consulting services. "The increased traffic and number of pedestrians in that area justified the installation of signals, but new government guidelines made the project more complex than usual."

According to McKenzie, the City of Moline needed to make sure they followed the new Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG), which were implemented in April 2011. To organize the compliance process, they relied on the expertise of the Missman team.

Challenges to Accessibility

Sidewalks, street crossings, and other components of public rights-of-way can present challenges to accessibility for many community members, including individuals who are sight-impaired or who use wheelchairs. PROWAG covers pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including pedestrian signals, crosswalks, curb ramps, parking, and other aspects of public rights-of-way.

"PROWAG protects pedestrian movement," McKenzie said. "For example, the guidelines stipulate that there must be a pedestrian push-button in every direction. Plus, the push-button needs to be placed within 1-1/2 feet of the pedestrian curb ramp. All of that is just a part of the new PROWAG we are required to follow."

According to McKenzie, sound and tactile features were incorporated into the design work for the benefit of visually challenged individuals. "With every accessible pedestrian signal, there is a tactile sign-plate," he said. "Plus, the push-button vibrates, and emits a chirping noise to aid in locating it. It also features an audible cue to indicate when it is time to walk. PROWAG requires that all new traffic signals must include this technology."

For the City of Moline, all of the PROWAG were new developments, so the professionals at Missman served as a guiding presence. "Government regulations can be lengthy and complex," McKenzie said, "so we must stay on the cutting-edge of that vital information. We want to make sure each project is in compliance, since these regulations were put into effect to protect people."

Missman, Inc., serves clients in the commercial, institutional, government, municipal water/wastewater, and transportation markets throughout the Midwest. The company employs approximately 70 people and has corporate headquarters in Rock Island, Illinois, and regional offices in Bettendorf, Iowa; Rockford, Illinois; and Sycamore, Illinois. For more information, call 309-788-7644 or visit